English gardens have long held my fascination and admiration. From the quant cottage gardens in small villages, to the grander gardens that employ a bevy of gardeners, I’m a fan! So, imagine my delight when Quarto Group asked if I’d like to review, not one but two new books about famous English Gardens. Be still my heart! Read on to explore Sissinghurst: The Dream Garden and Somerset: The private tour.

Explore famous English Gardens: Sissinghurst and Somerset Book Reviews

My Thanks to Quarto Group for the complimentary books showcased in today's post. No other compensation given. All opinions and love of English Gardens and books are my own. 

Let me start by saying up front, I have no clear favorite book. Both are glorious in fascinatingly different ways. I’ve delighted in flipping through both books devouring the photos within and gleaning nuggets of knowledge along the way. 

About Sissinghurst: The Dream Garden by Tim Richardson: Photography by Jason Ingram/Published 9/20, 224 pages:

Sissinghurst The Dream Garden Book

Tim Richardson revels the magic and mystery of Sissinghurst by inviting us to step inside the world’s most famous garden. Mr. Richardson helps us understand the strength of its attraction since it was bought and transformed by writer Vita Sackville West and diplomat Harold Nicholson in the 1930’s.This unforgettable garden of rooms is influential today for its design, it’s exuberant planting, and its effect on visitors.


Within the garden and famous areas such as the White Garden, the Rose Garden, and the Cottage Garden.

Gardens in Sissinghurst

My Thoughts:

This book brought the Sissinghurst garden to life for me and I’ve loved each and every area, planting, and statue. I’m especially drawn to the Yew garden shown above. It has the perfect lush, fully grown out cottage look I adore, which feels attainable to me, even with garden workers.

Statue in tree grove of Sissinghurst

With all the vibrant colors and sunny spots, this book takes on a spring, or early summer look in my opinion. This lovely book does capture why Sissinghurst is called the dream garden. It is a magical place, where fairies just might be lurking around the corner.  I’d love to visit in person one day. 

About the Secret Gardens of Somerset- A private Tour by Abigail Willis: Photography by Clive Boursnell/Published 9/20, 144 pages

Secret Gardens of Somerset Book

Abigail Willis and Clive Bournsnell give us privileged access to 20 gardens in the Secret Gardens of Somerset. This book offers a personal tour of 20 of the United Kingdom’s most beguiling gardens in the much-loved area of southern England. This area is defined by its distinctive horticulture, rolling hills, picturesque villages, and the traditional English landscape. You’ll also see firsthand Abigail and Clive’s highly productive working flower farm, personal, private retreats and more. In this book they reveal their history, design, and plant collections in the company of their devoted owners and head gardeners. 

Garden Tours Included:

Midney Gardens Somerset

The American Museum and Gardens, Midney Gardens (in above photo),  Barley Wood Walled Garden, Batcombe House, The Bishops Palace, Common Farm, Cothay Manor, East Lambrook Manor, Elworthy Cottage, Forest Lodge, Greencombe Gardens, Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Hestercombe, Iford Manor, Kilver Court, Milton Lodge gardens, (photo below), the Newt in Somerset, Stoberry House, Westbrook House, and Yeo Valley Organic Garden. Most of the gardens included in Secret Gardens of Somerset are privately owned and not usually open to the public. 

Milton Lodge gardens Somerset

My Thoughts:

I’m still marveling at the talented gardeners in this book. There are a few spaces and garden rooms I feel I could replicate, but for the most part this book fills me with awe. Where Sissinghurst had me itching to revamp my gardens and add more flower beds and garden rooms to our land, Somerset left me feeling that before I do anything, I must absorb what these master gardeners have shared in these pages first. It is a lovely book, chockfull of delightfully perfect landscapes and gardens that may not ever be attainable for me, a whimsical, cottage style gardener. If I had to declare this book a season, I would say it starts out in late spring, but is a decidedly late summer, early fall book. Some of it’s pages are brooding as you might expect from the English countryside. I found it all very fascinating.

 The Takeaway: Both books are perfect for Gifting!

Sissinghurst and Somerset Garden Books

These books would make perfect gifts for book lovers, flower lovers, garden lovers, even history lovers will find value amongst the pages of Sissinghurst and Somerset. I will revisit these books often, especially on dreary winter days when it’s too cold to be in my own garden.  I invite you to learn more about each book including how to purchase them at The Quarto Group

Please share in comments: Which book would you select for yourself?


SHARE 0 comments

Add your comment