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Picture Perfect but Slightly Lost the Plot
on 15 April 2006
I picked this book up as I was attracted to the fantastic pictures of Sarah Raven's enviable garden. These pictures, showing her bountiful harvets and attractively planted crops, certainly encouraged me to develop my own, much more inferior vegetable plot. But for me, it is too much of a glossy lifestyle book than a step by step guide. I got a pretty good idea of life chez Raven, with descriptions of how integral the garden is to family life, accompanied by pictures including their rustic outdoor pizza oven and artistic arrangements of borlotti beans. I found the layout confusing and heavily interspered with such pictures. Maybe that's because I am impatient and I just want to look up how to grow lettuce, with diagrams maybe, and advice on what to do if something goes wrong, which for beginners like me is likely. I'm sure there's lots of good advice in there, if you want to read it like a novel rather than a reference manual that you can dip in and out of. I have found that for growing individual vegetables, following the seed packet instructions is just as good if not better as its instructions are more succinct. This book for me will only really provide guidance on the overall arrangement of a vegetable garden when I get to the stage where I want it to look pretty and I have the time to sit down and read the text without being distracted by the pictures.