From a Victorian Garden: Creating the Romance of a Bygone Age Right in Your Own Backyard

Michael Weishan, Author, Cristina Roig, Author, Susan Seubert, Photographer Studio Books $32.95 (143p) ISBN 978-0-670-89426-0
Weishan and Roig offer an absorbing chronicle of British Columbia's Point Ellice House, a quaint residence owned by one family, the O'Reilly's, for nearly a century. Now a historical landmark and museum, the slow progression of the home's remarkable gardens is traced through a series of vivid color photos by Susan Seubert and the black-and-white engravings original owner Peter O'Reilly used to plan his garden. Strictly adhering to the idea that""Victorian gardens were expected to be productive as well as aesthetically pleasing,"" O'Reilly and his wife, Caroline, laid the foundation of the grounds that exist to this day. Excerpts from family letters included throughout the book provide an intimate look at the love the O'Reilly's lavished on their garden--and each other. The handsome book features the ornate gravel paths, croquet lawns, vegetable and cutting gardens that are all key features of this impressive estate (the average hobbyist should note that the O'Reilly's maintained an extensive staff of laborers to carry out the property's more menial tasks). Detailed listings of the period roses planted at Point Ellice will intrigue even the most knowledgeable rosarians, while advice on""Hosting a Victorian Garden Tea Party"" will have many readers eagerly pulling out their grandmother's china for a late-afternoon fete. The authors also include several of Mrs. O'Reilly's favorite recipes derived from her garden labors, and other sections offer how-to tips on playing croquet, naturalizing bulbs and even espaliering fruit trees, the lost art of training trees to grow flat against walls. This cozy yet practical book is a must for gardeners determined to replicate the charm and merriment of the authentic Victorian garden.
Reviewed on: 05/01/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!