The garden at the Laskett in Herefordshire is always described as the largest formal garden laid out in Britain since the war and one of most important and most interesting gardens of the second half of the twentieth century.
Roy Strong and his wife, Julia Trevelyan Oman – two pivotal figures in the arts during the last century – created this uniquely autobiographical and historical garden over thirty years of their marriage. However, by the time Julia died in 2003, the garden at The Laskett had become overgrown and closed in on itself. And so started ‘the great cull’. The Laskett garden is still ‘peopled with the ghosts of nearly everyone we have loved, both living and dead’, but trees and hedges have been chopped down, paths widened, vistas opened up. Light has been let in.
This book is a record of the remaking of The Laskett garden, traced in Roy Strong’s words and photographer Clive Boursnell’s before-and-after pictures and action shots. It is an inspiration, for ‘its message is one for all garden-makers. Do not be afraid to change your garden – indeed to be quite brutal to it – in order to give it new energy and excitement.
‘As a piece of theatre there are few modern gardens to touch it. Stephen Lacey, Daily Telegraph
SIR ROY STRONG is a well-known historian and garden writer, lecturer, critic and columnist and a regular contributor to television and radio programmes. He was Director of the National Portrait Gallery from 1967 to 1973 and of the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1974 to 1987. In 1980 he was awarded the prestigious Shakespeare Prize by the FVS Foundation of Hamburg in recognition of his contribution to the arts in the UK. He has published a number of highly acclaimed books. Sir Roy lives in Hereford, where, with his late wife, Julia Trevelyan Oman, who died in 2003, he designed one of England's largest post-war formal gardens. He now works full-time as a writer and broadcaster.
"ebullience, spiky wit, optimism and creativity ... all shine through in his text."
"the photographs, refreshingly for a garden book, show as much energetic destruction as patient construction."
'an inspiration and delight'
'this refreshing book challenges preconceptions about illustrated garden books ... were you to accept the invigorating challenge to edit your own plot, you'd take courage from this minutely detailed record of the transition from tranquility to raw chaos and back again."
"a fine record of the transformations wrought by love and labour, and a reminder that change, courage and clarity are essential, in gardens as in life."
"beautifully produced ... thought-provoking."