Rosemary Verey: The Life and Lessons of a Legendary Gardener

Barbara Paul Robinson, Author
Barbara Paul Robinson. David R. Godine, $30 (288p) ISBN 978-1-56792-450-3
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Decades before Martha Stewart, Verey was a fiercely determined, supremely talented, and ambitious gardening superstar modestly camouflaged in sensible shoes and pearls. Her laburnum walk at her home at Barnsley House is one of the most famous garden images in the world. Her roster of clients included Prince Charles and Elton John. Her books were the definitive references for aspiring Anglophile American gardeners. In this well-crafted, very personal biography, one of her apprentices, attorney and gardener Robinson, paints a loving but clear-eyed portrait of this great designer. Those who only know this doyenne of British gardening through the genteel, authoritative voice of her books will meet a more complicated character in these pages. Beneath her calm upper-class exterior was a very ambitious woman, motivated by financial pressures, troubled by family relationships, and pinched by vanity. In this intensively researched and absorbing tribute, Robinson has revealed her friend and mentor's struggles as well as celebrating her talents, grit, and graciousness. 39 color and black-and-white photographs. (Oct.)
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