Further Thoughts About the New Rosemary Verey Biography


 “Simon Verity’s statues, plinth, and fountain add important dimensions to the developing gardens at Barnsley”-Barbara Paul Robinson

I can’t imagine what turn my life might have taken if I, like Barbara Paul Robinson, had worked at Barnsley House under the tutelage of Rosemary Verey. How privileged Mrs. Robinson must have felt; taking a sabbatical from her law firm and actually doing what some of us have dreamed about. I doubt she knew that one day she would write a book about this famous English gardener. As a writer, I am in awe of her accomplishment;  envious of her personal relationship with Rosemary Verey that must have been fascinating. Still, I can only hope that this new biography will be someone else’s bibliography because it shouldn’t be the final telling of the story.

The length of the books tells us it wasn’t meant to be the definitive book on the subject. As I mentioned in the last post, what seems strange to me about the authors approach is the repeated giving and taking away. If she talks about Rosemary’s energy and enjoyment of people she adds, that she liked being the center of attention. The fact that Americans were enthralled with Verey somehow becomes a negative because she gloried in her success in America. I am disappointed that the photographs in the book were nothing new. Mrs. Robinson lists two pages of people she interviewed. How did she filter the contents of those interviews?

I wrote an earlier post about the book, The View from Great Dixter – Christopher Lloyd’s Garden Legacy. A man who didn’t suffer fools when it came to his garden visitors. He could be gruff and yet, the book is filled with loving, endearing, fascinating stories one after another. I don’t know when I have enjoyed reading anything as much. It was a book worthy of this famous gardener. I hope you will read this Rosemary Verey book and decide for yourself. Let me know what you think.

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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