Emma Tennant

Keeping it green and pleasant

John Watkins is Head of English Heritage’s Gardens and Landscape Team. Tom Wright was for 25 years Senior Lecturer in Landscape Management at Wye College. They are two professionals who have made an immense contribution to gardening in this country and abroad. This book makes available their combined lifetimes’ knowledge and experience. The authors begin

Songs of prayer and praise

The Church of Scotland has recently published a new edition of its hymnary, the first for 30 years. A committee of ministers had the difficult task of deciding which of the old hymns to reject in order to make room for the new songs — many of them from Africa and South America — which

Heroes who looked, saw and thought

I imagine that most people, if asked who was responsible for the familiar method of classifying plants and animals into families, genera and species, would name the 18th-century Swedish naturalist Linnaeus. It is true that he named more species than anyone else, but in this magisterial book his work is seen as little more than

Oh, to be in England …

… now that April’s there The annual miracle of spring is thrilling everywhere. It is especially beautiful in the Chilterns, where the Prime Minister has a country house courtesy of you and me, the taxpayers. Our leader, however, scorns the beechwoods, the bluebells, the song of the blackbird and the call of the cuckoo. The

Friends in high places

David Lang first heard about the Himalayas when he was a little boy. As his father read aloud from the works of the great botanical explorers — Reginald Farrer, Frank Kingdon-Ward, and ‘Chinese’ Wilson — he imagined the high mountains and the flower-filled valleys. Above all, he longed to see the yaks: ‘there was something

Why is a birch-tree like a melon?

This is the time of year for armchair gardening. The cold, dark days give one the chance to ignore the muddy plot outside and to sit by the fire with a heap of catalogues. As one reads the thrilling descriptions, next summer’s garden comes to life in the mind’s eye. There are no rabbits, mice,

People + places = life

You may never have heard of David Gentleman, because, unlike so many of the over-publicised charlatans who call themselves artists nowadays, he does not believe in personality cults. He is as modest as he is talented, which is saying something. But, even if you do not know his name, you will almost certainly have licked