The book takes the reader on a journey through time, from 1988 when the author arrived to make a new garden of her own, back to the forces which shaped the garden, linking the stories of those who lived in the same Shropshire house and tended the same red Shropshire soil with the stories of those who live and work there today.
The Morville Hours The book takes the reader on a journey through time from when the author arrived to make a new garden of her own back to the forces which shaped the garden linking the stories of those who liv
A beautiful, beautiful book. The prose reads like poetry, and I read phrases over and over, willing the book not to end. Full of fascinating information about gardens and church history, geology and the natural world, all told in a lovely rambling way. I shall definitely be looking out the sequels.
I'm always envious of multi talented people. I'd settle for just the one! Katherine Swift is a gifted garden designer and gardener, plus she writes like a dream. I liked the mixture of personal memoir mixed with a journey through the Book of Hours, a nod to the Monastic history of the house. The book is structured as it works through the Monastic day and the gardening year, and yet has an unstructured feel - one minute we are wandering through the garden, then we might be exploring the history o [...]
Um livro muito interessante, autobiográfico, sobre a mudança da autora, uma bibliotecária especialista em livros raros em Oxford e Dublin, para uma bonita casa na Inglaterra rural, no condado de Shrospshire, junto a uma mansão histórica. Com essa mudança, a autora torna-se jardineira a tempo inteiro e cria um jardim elaborado a condizer com a propriedade cujos registos históricos remontam a quase mil anos atrás. A primeira construção na propriedade foi um mosteiro habitado por religios [...]
Beautiful concept, insightful writing about gardening as the world goes through its seasonal rotation like a Medieval book of hours. Gardening enthusiasts will rejoice. However, by the last third of the book, the botanical details began to weigh on me, and I faced finishing this book with the same grit and determination, sans pleasure, as a homework assignment.
A book written about a garden didn't seem like a special read but what a delight it is - It has soul! A Brief History of Time, full of human interest.Katherine Swift is able to draw on so many different sources - local history and characters, the lives of the common people and monastic life; the changes brought about by religious turmoil, war, new ideas, the enclosures etc and of course the development of the earth itself to make the growing medium and the plants she puts into her garden.This bo [...]
The book's structure of twelve chapters linked to the months of the year and Medieval Books of Hours worked very well. I loved following Katherine Swift's creation of her garden with its different rooms and how she placed this in the context of the history of this part of Shropshire and her own family. Knowing the area from my childhood this chance to revisit was a delight. The formal structure of her book reflects the formality of her garden style, which is not my own. But I could easily identi [...]
I am listening to this on my kindle while traveling and I am fascinated with it. It is very different from my normal type of reading but I love the sound of the reader's voice and accent as she pronounces the many botanical names of flowers both old and new. this is more a botany or gardening lesson and I actually ordered a hard copy of the book for future reference. It is soothing and evocative of another time - follows the style of a "book of hours". Quite compelling for me and perhaps very bo [...]
Oh, how I loved this book! Using the structure of a monastic book of hours to reflect Morville's heritage, Katherine Swift blends gardening, history, and memoir, with some of the best nature writing I've ever read; I occasionally even quoted Swift in writing to friends, particularly with respect to her appreciation of winter—not something you encounter too often in gardening books! The Morville Hours was perfect bedside reading for the past year; I started it in January and retreated into its [...]
A fascinating look into the history of gardens, Morville & Bridgnorth, and British Christianity. Full of interesting information presented well. I look forward to May Day when I will be visiting the garden in question!
The magic of books: this one turned an avowed anti-gardener into someone who was riveted by a garden. A book to be savored.
This is a jewel of a book, so much enjoyed reading it. Katherine Swift gave such a deep insight into the history of the garden at Morville House in Shropshire, you really feel part of the whole project. The book is full of interesting information and thought. I liked where she drew a parallel between the enclosed Medieval gardens of the past, being a shelter for humans from wild animals, boars and bears and wolves, and a place where people could feel safe from the world around them, or a monasti [...]
While The Morville Hours tells the story of the creation of a garden at the Morville estate in Shropshire, England, it is much more than a gardening book. Katherine Swift had worked as a rare book librarian before she took on the garden, and her love of research and hunting out original sources comes well to the fore here. She delves into all sorts of history, geology, archaeology, and the humanities - the soil deposits made by glaciers, the different inhabitants of the area through the ages, th [...]
Ostensibly "the story of a garden," this book is so much more. On the surface, Swift and her husband bought a Shropshire house with a garden and I picked up the book expecting to read about how they worked in the garden and made something new of it. In the end, the book turned out to be an exploration of the entire history of a garden from prehistoric geology to today. Further, the book was set up like a "book of hours," traditionally a medieval illuminated manuscript, which contains illuminated [...]
I'm a sucker for gardening books that have a diagram of the garden in question. Even though the garden in question usually takes a STAFF to establish and maintain. The garden at Morville is one of those, but that doesn't take anything away from this excellent book.Yes, you will be delighted that there are lists of roses, pears, apples and the like. But there's also discussion of the geology of Morville, an house in Shropshire. You'll learn about soil composition, as well as planting times. Swift [...]
A beautifully written book about the creation of a garden in Morville, Shropshire, but so much more than that! Written in the style of a Book of Hours and divided into chapters entitled Matins, Terce, None, etc it touches on what is happening in the garden and surrounding countryside during each season of the year, compares and contrasts it with Medieval times and also includes autobiographical content. The prose is as lush as her abundant garden and is full of spiritual inspiration without bein [...]
This was a beautiful book full of musings of a woman who loves the old world and its values. She constantly moves between the modern times and past to weave a story around a garden she is making. The book reminds me of an old 'keepsake' blanket that women would quilt together - patching together odd bits to make a beautiful design. She does exactly that in a book. She takes odd bits of information from literature, poetry, geology, astronomy, personal narrative, etc. and patches them in thought p [...]
This is a slow read, with lots of meandering with interesting diversions, so I didn't finish in time for the book group meeting. Very interesting if you like gardening and history,and I would like to finish it sometime. Only as long as I find out how one gets to be in charge of a National Trust garden. It hasn't been explained in the early chapters that I read (did they buy the garden? did they apply for a job? how??)
Good for a leisurely read, The Morville Hours is the story of the making of a formal, English garden. Swift has structured the book around the old Christian books of hours, referring to various liturgical events as she describes what is happening in her gardens. There are wonderful historical tidbits laced throughout her telling, and that, and her passion for her project, are what make the book such a pleasure. Suzy S.
Probably my favourite of all non-fiction books published in recent years. It's neither a gardening book, history, nor personal memoir, but all of these. The various strands of genre harmonise to form a new way of writing about place. The prose is bejewelled, as lyrical as it is knowledgeable.In a publishing culture that rewards productivity, it's worth noting that it took the author some fourteen years to write.
I really enjoyed this book. When I was first recommended to read it I was not so keen. Although I like gardens it sounded quite dull. But Swift managed to encapsulate so much information not just about the garden she created, but also the historical background, local surroundings, local history and the history of gardening.
I actually gave up on this book - the writing, as so many people have said, is beautiful, but I already knew about Books of Hours and the Benedictine offices, and even though the book is set in an area I'm familiar with, I couldn't find anything to stop me skipping paragraphs. Nothing wrong with the book - I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to take it in.
Exquisite.on many levels, like The Elegance of the Hedgehog.full of life lesson, learning to accept the passage of time and how to live in the present with nature. It is amuse read for the gardener, the Medievalist and the historian.
Great armchair book for gardeners. I spent some of my childhood living close to Morville and enjoyed revisiting places, plus learning more about the history of the area. Telling the gardens' story using the Book of Hours adds a rich depth of understanding and paces the year beautifully.
This is an absolutely beautiful book, about a garden, yes, but even more about the history of the area, and an autobiography of the gardener. It's as beautiful as an illustrated Book of Hours, which provides its structure.
This is the combined story of a remake of a garden, the people who lived there before and the story of the gardener's life. Somehow it all works and explains how we are not alone in our environments.
Not the type of book I usually read, but I am so glad I did. A fascinating wander through time, history, families, plants, wildlife, weather, traditions, religion. All held together by a perceptive and poetic style. Really lovely.
This is the second time I have read this book and it still held so much delight. It's far more than a gardening book or even a history book, the combination that Swift weaves together meanders the reader through time and understandings.
What a gem of a book!If you are a gardner, you like art, latin, flowers, quotes, history This is the book for you!Well writen, well researched and easy to read. A book that you will want to refer to again.
Swift's capacious curiosity makes this a compelling read. The story ripples out from her personal experience to the histories of the prior owners, to geological and cosmic time.
So far, I am loving this book; it is extremely well written and it combines spirituality with history and gardening. Can't get much better than that!