Rosemary Verey was a housewife and gardener who came to prominence late in life after her husband died and left her financially insecure. She was a self-taught garden expert heavily influenced by early English gardens and gardeners. She created traditional gardens such as Herb Gardens, Knot Gardens, Potagers and Parterre Borders. Within these formal structures, she combined “layers” of flowers to create very intense, dynamic garden spaces. Prince Charles and Elton John were clients but her lasting impact was in the United States where she instilled confidence in American gardeners through her books and tours. Garden designs by Rosemary Verey were in great demand.
Garden designs have changed and the very detailed, labour intensive garden has given way to a more relaxed and informal style. However, elements of Rosemary Verey’s design principles still exist. She stressed the beauty of the garden throughout the year including the winter and the inclusion of vegetables into flower beds. Rosemary Verey died at 82 in 2001, working to the end. Her legacy remains in part due to her prolific writing output. In the space of 20 years she wrote 17 books, 3 of her titles can be found in the library (see below).
The author of this book worked in Rosemary’s garden and became a personal friend. Her fondness for the gardener is evident although she is also objective about Rosemary’s failings and troubled personal relationship. It is unfortunate that the author is not more skillful. At times the book is repetitious and the writing style stilted. This book is successful because Rosemary Verey is a fascinating character worth reading about.
Books by Rosemary Verey