My Photo

Here you'll find

  • Transatlantic views on garden plants, native plants, invasive plants, books about plants… Plus comment on wildlife, catalog(ue)s, the smartness and the absurdity of plant names, the transatlantic life, fishing, music and more... From Northamptonshire (zone 8) in England and the much icier Pennsylvania (zone 5) in the USA.

Published last year

Bloom-Again Orchids

My American books

Now published

My British books

My hellebore book

  • For all you need to know about hellebores, check out my hellebore book - just click on the jacket

Every blog should have a cat

Some blogs should have two cats

  • Follow me on Twitter for updates on my blogs and more. Click the Twitter logo.

My websites

  • Award-winning Garden and Plant Stock Photography

Colo(u)rful edibles

Also from Graham Rice

« Chinese plants at a “native plant” sale | Main | Top new plants in Britain »

May 11, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


At the risk of sounding exuberantly positive, I'm so glad you enjoyed this book, Graham. I thought it was a great read, for all the reasons you give.

Growin' Granny

“Gardening is boring. It is repetitious, mind-blowingly boring, just like housework. All of it – sowing seeds, mowing, cutting hedges, potting up, propagating is boring, and all of it requires doing over and over again….”

...“they’re mostly enjoyable for the result and not the process.”

For me, no comparison whatsoever to housework. In the garden, I love the process as much as the result and, in fact, don't even pause as much as I ought to in order to admire the result. Those "boring" tasks can often put me in a wonderful zen-like space...


I'll have to check this out. I love books on gardening with strong opinons even if I don't always agree with them. Since I studied horticulture and have seen and worked in so many gardens I've become pretty critical about gardens (though I usually try to at least be polite about if it is a private garden).

I visited my brother when he was living in Japan and he brought me to the Botanical garden in Kyoto and I started pointing out all the design flaws and problems I saw at the garden and he was stunned. "I think it is beautiful." he said. "Can't you just enjoy it?" I guess I don't just simply enjoy gardens any more. I love seeing things that are well done or well cared for but I immediately start looking for flaws and judging gardens and I can usually see right away what they were attempting to do but didn't quite pull off.

A garde lay person like my brother considers this a tragedy. But it is just how I look at gardens now.

Graham Rice

I know what you mean, Growin' Granny, sometimes the chores, weeding in particular, become strangely satisfying and weeding, of course, also ensures that you look closely at every plant and every seedling.

And yes, Kaveh, sometimes you need to step back and let go, absorb something larger than the lines and the placements... though it's not easy.

Nigel Colborn

Being an inordinately slow and easily distracted reader, I haven't finished this book yet. So far, what I've read has made me feel like a child who, doing something he shouldn't, has received a sharp slap.

Any reader who loves gardening – rather than gardens – will be jolted as hard as I was. And in some cases, Anne Wareham is absolutely spot on with her disapproval. But in others, after careful consideration, I profoundly disagree some of her statements.

Inspired to push back, and hard, I'm now redoubling my efforts to swell my plant collection, will take a great deal of extra care with my edge trimming and plan to propagate scads more plants just for the fun of it. Alchemilla mollis is hereby banned from my garden - but I'd absolutely LOVE to accommodate a reflecting pool like the one at the Veddw. But I'd have to dig up my jumble of plants to make room for a pool, though, and that would never do.

James Golden

Thanks for this enjoyable, well balanced review. I should disclose that I know Anne (in a cyber kind of way) and, frankly, I expected a book of vituperative attack. When I got The Bad Tempered Gardener this week and started reading it, I was delighted. It's a really fun read. You don't have to agree with everything in it to appreciate its refreshing approach (I too hate gardening, love my garden, and spend much of my life working in it). Anne ruffles feathers, and many people seem to despise her for that (strange how powerfully some garden people react to her), but she speaks truth (and a few contradictions don't negate that). You capture the spirit of the book and would make me want to read it (if I weren't already).

Graham Rice

I know what you mean, Nigel, and I think her prejudices against plants are a little wide of the mark. But lawn edging? Another ghastly job. You could grow more plants if you dug up the lawn altogether, especially as lawn mowing is second only to the dreaded hedge trimming. The only way I would have a hedge at all is if I won the lottery and could afford a full time hedge cutting person always on stand by.

Graham Rice

You're right, James, I don’t think “Bad Tempered” is quite the phrase… OK, “The Independent And Acerbic But Sometimes Good Humored and Enthusiastic Garden Creator” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. Perhaps The Opinionated Gardener…? But that's been used.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Now published

  • My ebooks for British and American gardeners

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Follow me on Twitter for updates on my blogs and more. Click the Twitter logo.

Search my blog

  • Custom Search

Published last year

Bloom-Again Orchids

  • Award-winning Garden and Plant Stock Photography

  • Award-winning Garden and Plant Stock Photography

Reading my blog

  • Pictures Hover the mouse point over a picture to see the caption, click on a picture to see a much larger version.

    Reading blogs Click here for advice on how to read blogs.

Blog powered by Typepad