by Jackie Bennett and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Photographs by Andrew Lawson
Shakespeare’s Gardens is a highly illustrated, informative book about the gardens that William Shakespeare knew as a boy and tended as a man, published to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in April 2016. This anniversary will be the focus of literary celebration of the man’s life and work throughout the English speaking world and beyond. The book will focus on the gardens that Shakespeare knew, including the five gardens in Stratford upon Avon in which he gardened and explored. From his birthplace in Henley Street, to his childhood playground at Mary Arden’s Farm, to his courting days at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and his final home at New Place – where he created a garden to reflect his fame and wealth. Cared for by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, these gardens are continually evolving to reflect our ongoing knowledge of his life. The book will also explore the plants that Shakespeare knew and wrote about in 17th century England: their use in his work and the meanings that his audiences would have picked up on – including mulberries, roses, daffodils, pansies, herbs and a host of other flowers. More than four centuries after the playwright lived, whenever we think of thyme, violets or roses, we more often than not still remember a quote from the 39 plays and 154 sonnets written by him.
My thoughts: Originally published March 3, 2016, this book is a biography using gardens that Shakespeare was very familiar with at different times in his life. It’s just bursting with beautifully done photos and information on the bard and many of the flowers and plants that he often worked into his writings. It’s a great look at the various types of gardens that were around in Shakespeare’s time, and how they’ve evolved. This is put together for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death for those that are interested in him and gardening. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Jackie Bennett, and the publisher.
Publisher: Frances Lincoln – 192 pages
Publication: May 11th, 2021
My rating: 4/5 STARS
About the author– Jackie Bennett is a former editor of The Garden Design Journal, the English Garden Magazine and Gardening with the National Trust. She began her career in television, producing gardening and natural history programmes before become a full time writer. In 1990, she won an award for nature writing in the BBC Wildlife Magazine Awards and her books include The Wildlife Garden Month by Month (David & Charles 1990 — reissued in 2011), The Cottage Garden and Wild About the Garden (1997 a Channel 4 tie-in book for the TV series presented by Carol Klein). She won the Garden Writer’s Guild Gardening Column of the Year 2009 for a series about her own Norfolk garden. Jackie has studied garden design and landscape history. She runs writing workshops for the Society of Garden Designers and for the Cambridge and Oxford Botanic Gardens.
Andrew Lawson is widely regarded as England’s leading garden photographer. He has provided the photographs for many books, including Good Planting by Rosemary Verey, Penelope Hobhouse on Gardening, Designing Gardens by Arabella Lennox Boyd, Little Sparta (9780711220850) by Jessie Sheeler, The Garden at Highgrove by HRH Prince of Wales, and The English Garden by Ursula Buchan and The New English Garden also by Tim Richardson. He holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s Gold Medal for Photography and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Garden Writer’s Guild. His garden in Oxfordshire is open under the National Gardens Scheme.