Gardens Illustrated picks out garden furniture, tools and lifestyle items that we think are the best and most exciting, based on independent research and careful consideration. On some occasions we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products. But this doesn’t affect what we choose to highlight and we will never let it bias our coverage.

The Naturally Beautiful Garden by Kathryn Bradley-Hole – Book Review

A beautifully curated tasting menu of exquisitely different gardens that share a common ethos: to create a more beautiful world in sync with nature. Reviewer Marian Boswall is a landscape architect.

by Kathryn Bradley-Hole
Rizzoli International Publications, £45
ISBN 978-0847870097

Kathryn Bradley-Hole has broken the mould with this beautiful book that is neither coffee table compendium nor garden design manual, but shares the best elements of both. Smaller than her previous collections, it fits perfectly on a bedside table alongside poetry or cookery books for late-night inspiration. And like the best cookbooks, this is a tasting menu of recipes to create a healthier world, here of vibrant spaces with a common aim: to garden within rather than against nature.

Chapters follow the themes of the natural environment – Among the Trees, By the Seashore, In the Heat and Drought – or the curated worlds of City Sanctuaries, Country Retreats and Rolling Landscapes for Public Pleasure. The variety and originality of the gardens chosen from locations including California, Denmark, New Zealand and Texas, as well as those closer to home, create a lively freshness to each beautifully designed

spread, with stunning images from photographers at the top of their game. Each unique garden has been developed with the environment in mind, with a beauty that goes deeper than clever layout, successional planting or visual impact. The designers have put the natural world to the forefront of their thinking, and generously s hare their insights, from Sarah Murch on creating a swimming pond at Ellicar and Christopher Bradley-Hole on his Chiltern landscape in miniature at Fayland House, to Karen Roos using owls to control rodents at The Newt in Somerset and James Basson discussing loosening control in order to gain interest.

Between garden descriptions, the author’s thoughtful essays give readers useful ideas, bolstered by a further reading section for those smitten and curious to deepen their knowledge. At once a stunning and timely book, it is the view of ourselves as an intrinsic part of the natural world that is changing the way we garden.