Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Gardener's Christmas gifts...

Some garden reading for the winter months: The Wild Garden by William Robinson, Monet's Passion by Elizabeth Murray, Drought Resistant Planting and Beth Chatto's Damp Garden by Beth Chatto.


It feels silly of me to want to show you all my Christmas gifts, especially now that it is past New Year's Day. But there is something of the child in me that just can't help it. Just yesterday, a friend came over and the first thing my kids wanted to talk about was "Guess what I got for Christmas!" As a parent, I am thrilled to have given them presents that they love and will enjoy all year long. And I smile when they excitedly tell about their presents, perhaps especially because I heard for weeks before Christmas about their excitement in giving gifts to other people.

All that is to say, here is what my very sweet family gifted to me this Christmas! And also photos of a few new ornaments on our tree this year.

My favorite presents are pictured above. Reading about wonderful gardens, and especially learning about them from their creators, is the most motivating thing to me as a gardener and designer.  Winter is the best time to dive into a stack of new garden books. This year my stack includes: The Wild Garden by ye old William Robinson (whose garden at Gravetye Manor is currently being restored), Monet's Passion  by Elizabeth Murray (an American's view of the restoration of Giverny), Drought Resistant Planting and Beth Chatto's Damp Garden by the brilliant Beth Chatto (which should give me a proper wet and dry education in planting). These book titles have been on my list for many moons and I am looking forward to sipping white rose tea and reading away.

Special credit should go to Holley for helping to find the new Monet book through her monthly book reviews and link-up on the 20th of each month. Thanks Holley!

A gardener's winter dream: rose water soaps and lotions made with real roses!  And not just real roses, but particularly David Austin English roses. They even have an Austin rose named Evelyn which is used by the company, Crabtree & Evelyn, who makes these products. Many thanks to my Anna Rose for this gift!
Real lavender lotion, also from C & E. Thanks to little Logan (and his daddy who helped him!)
One tradition we started a few years ago is to buy something from the gift shops at the Botanical gardens we visit during the year to place on our Christmas tree. Last year, we visited Stan Hywet Manor and Gardens and found this ball with bees buzzing.
This year, we visited the Norfolk Botanical Gardens and chose a butterfly.

Hoping you were all blessed with garden-loving gifts as well. What were your favorites this year?

23 comments:

  1. Ha! I think it's fun to share! My favorites were a book called Making the Most of Shade and a scarf. That Monet book looks outstanding! When I was an art teacher we did a whole unit on him and the kids recreated his garden! I will have to check that one out! Happy New Year!

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    1. You might be even more interested in the other Monet book on my book list page then... it is from a painter/colorist perspective and includes some of Monet's paintings along with similar views of his garden. I am looking forward to getting into this new though as well!
      ~Julie

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  2. That's some haul! What a great idea to collect ornaments from various botanical gardens. As far as garden books go, I received The Layered Garden by David Culp. I haven't finsihed reading it but highly recommend it so far.

    My favorite from Crabtree and Evelyn is Gardener's Hand Therapy. It has a fabulous herbal scent-great for bedtime. I'll have to try the lavender.

    Happy New Year!

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    1. It is fun to hear what other gardens are reading this month! Thanks Sue.

      And I have used the GHT from Crabtree & Evelyn as well. It really nice for bedtime after a long day of being in the garden! Happy New Year!
      ~Julie

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  3. Beth Chatto's books have certainly influenced the way I have planted the garden here, the bog garden and the woodland garden. Hers were the first gardening books that I bought and I thought the way she puts plants together is amazing. Her garden in East Amglia is also wonderful, each time we visit we come back with the back of the car full of plants from her nursery!

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    1. Pauline,
      I am quite jealous of your proximity to Beth Chatto's garden! I hope to be able to visit sometime in the distant future. Her woodland book was also one of the first that I owned, and continues to be an inspiration. She has such a way with describing plants. Here is to many more visits to her nursery!
      ~Julie

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  4. I'm glad you decided to share photos of your gifts! The gardening books look so fun and inspiring. The Rose soap set also looks so nice:)

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  5. I really enjoyed William Robinson's book, it was well written and interesting to see someone challenge the norm back then. Beth Chatto's books are generally very good too. Happy reading and New Year

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    1. Thanks Helen. I love that Robinson was so outspoken about naturalized planting techniques in the time of highly ordered bedding plants.
      ~Julie

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  6. Lovely to get Christmas ornaments from Botanical Gardens, I like them both very much, the bees ball and the butterfly! You also got some lovely gardening books, I got this time "The Gardens of Frank Lloyd Wright, written by Derek Fell. He was not only a great architect but also designed gardens for his houses.
    I saw your list which gardens you still want to visit, so many......you have to come on a long holiday to Europe. Monet's garden is one of my many favourites I was there 3 times in different months. I have another book about his garden: Monet's Passion of Elisabeth Murray. Beth Chattoo's garden is also a beauty, so are her books.
    Wish you a lot of reading pleasure.

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    1. How nice! I did not realize Derek Fell had written a book on Frank Lloyd Wright.... his book on Monet is one of my favorites. Yes, so many gardens that I hope to take a walk through in the future! And mostly in Europe. Frank Lloyd Wright's famous house, Fallingwater is just a few hours from where we live, as well as another of his most famous house designs. Let me know if you are ever in the US to visit!
      ~Julie

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  7. What wonderful gifts! I can't wait to hear how you like your new books! And I'm so glad you found one through the meme. I am so impressed that your rosewater is made from David Austin roses! That just made my wish list! Love the ornaments, too. What a great tradition. I have asked for gardening gifts in the past, but my family rarely gets any for me. They usually get me cooking items! When I asked why - they tell me it's because they're afraid they'll get me the wrong thing for the garden, but they know I'll just use anything when cooking! ha!

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    1. You would love this lotion, Holley! I have found that keeping a wish list on Amazon makes for gardening books makes it easy for my husband to check up on what I am interested in reading. Maybe something you might like to try? It makes it easier for everyone :)
      ~Julie

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  8. I've read the Monet book, I'm sure you will love it!

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  9. Those are wonderful gifts. You can never go wrong with something that smells like roses. All your books look amazing! Visiting Giverny is one of my dreams. Monet called it his greatest master piece.

    I think William Robinson is so funny to read. I am always amazed at how "forward" the writers from the past were.

    I love this quote from his book The English Flower Garden and Home Grounds...."but the ugliness of the garden about the house was assumed to be an essential part of the thing itself, removing that for ever from the sympathies of artistic people." Apparently, William Robinson did not struggle with sharing his opinions...ha ha.

    Have a great weekend and thanks for sharing your Christmas gifts with us.
    Susan

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    1. Ha! He is a truly passionate writer, for sure :)
      ~Julie

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  10. Looks like you have some great new inspiration to read:) how exciting! The books seem great!:) I LOVE the rose soap and lavender lotion also...two of my favorite scents I think!:) Thanks for sharing Julie!:) It is really fun to see what you received this Christmas!:)

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  11. Julie those look like amazing books. I have stacks to read as well...I adore the bee ornament...wishing you a wonderful New Year.

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  12. What a wonderful idea to bring back ornaments from your visits to botanical gardens! I think I might just "borrow" that idea! I received some excellent gifts, but sadly no garden books. I think I need to hint a little harder that that is what I really want all the time! ;-) All the best to you and your family in the months ahead!

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    1. It really is a fun tradition.... we also collect ornaments (or things to make into "ornaments") from other places when we take trips. Thanks, Beth!
      ~Julie

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    2. We've been collecting ornaments from trips we take and places we visit for a long time. I love looking at the tree and having us remember our trips.

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  13. I bought myself the new snowdrop book and was quite pleased. When I read William Robinson, I always realize anew that there really aren't any new gardening techniques just really old good ones that have been lost and rediscovered.

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    1. I would agree, Carolyn. There is nothing new under the sun.... though collecting all of the hardy exotics into our gardens is MUCH easier than it was in Robinson's day. It is so much easier now to create the wild garden he dreamt of than it was; I think he would be quite envious.
      ~Julie

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