A fascinating over-the-fence view of Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s magnificent and enchanting garden in Sussex, England, written by the former gardener and tenant at Monk’s House.
The discussion of the design and growth of the garden is interwoven with tender and intimate stories of the Woolfs as a couple. The book is beautifully illustrated with photographs by Caroline Arber.
“Monk’s House, on the edge of a village in Sussex, became Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s cherished weekend and summer retreat. Both were ecstatic over the garden and the pear and apple orchard. Leonard did the designing and most of the work, becoming, as Virginia wrote, “garden proud,” while she found immense solace and inspiration in their verdant paradise. He planted mammoth arrays of flowers and vegetables and built alluring brick paths, terraces, and borders to create a series of “rooms” that made their garden a labyrinth of hidden sanctuaries. Leonard also indulged his “passion for ponds” and his love of roses and became an avid beekeeper. We learn all this and much more about the Woolfs and their beloved home and garden and their loving marriage in this lavish and thoughtful tour of the property past and present. Striking archival photographs mix well with Caroline Arber’s radiant color shots, and Zoob is the best possible guide, having moved into Monk’s House, which is owned by the National Trust, with her husband in 2000, and tended the garden for more than a decade. Her charming and affecting chronicle grants us a new perspective on this remarkable pair of “fantastically hard-working” and immeasurably influential writers and how profoundly they were nurtured by their gorgeously bountiful garden and refuge.” – Booklist