The Telegraph has long enjoyed the closest association with gardeners. Indeed, as the newspaper of choice for the counties and the shires, it revels in the glory and variety of Britain’s horticultural heritage, whether celebrating the most renowned gardens, like Great Dixter, or extolling the tart virtues of rhubarb.
For gardening spans a vast spectrum. Variously hobby, art form, industry and, on occasion, cause of social unrest, it encompasses the annual spectacle of the Chelsea Flower Show, Vita Sackville-West’s legendary White Garden at Sissinghurst, and the pursuit of prize-winning pumpkins. And while the Telegraph’s weekend supplements might publish advice on growing asparagus or figs, the letters pages bristle with feuds and controversies at the RHS.
Whatever form it takes, few things could be more central to the world of the Telegraph reader than the garden. Which is why the paper has always attracted the best writers on the subject: from the experts of today, such as Stephen Lacey, Mary Keen, Sarah Raven and Bunny Guinness, through great sages of yesteryear, like Fred Whitsey, Denis Wood and Rosemary Verey, to the more esoteric musings of Germaine Greer, Roy Strong and W. F. Deedes. All are collected here in this compendious and endlessly fascinating anthology, compiled by eminent green-fingered scribe Tim Richardson.
As varied and colourful as a traditional herbaceous border at the height of summer, Of Rhubarb and Roses is the perfect book for an afternoon’s reading in a deckchair, as the shadows lengthen across that newly mown lawn.