The Bad Tempered Gardener

The Bad Tempered Gardener by Anne Wareham

Facebook BTG ButtonBuy The Bad Tempered Gardener

Published by Frances Lincoln, May 2011. ISBN: 9780711231504


“At once entertaining, opinionated and deliciously annoying.”  James Alexander-Sinclair

“Challenging rather than bad-tempered, The Bad Tempered Gardener is certainly strongly voiced, argumentative and full of a sharp edged wisdom that those of us who want to make better, more beautiful gardens need to be attending to.” Sara Maitland

“When, at Veddw in Monmouthshire, Wareham replants the lines of vanished hedgerows with box and fills the enclosed spaces with grasses and hardy perennials, she is linking the land-use of the past with the aesthetic of the lordly parterre. By giving expression to contemporary sensibility about conservation, she invites intellectual engagement.” Germaine Greer


Daily Express  

“The Bad Tempered Gardener is one of those books you can enjoy as if it were a novel yet still learn something about gardening, which is either very clever of her or just fortuitous.” read here

Evening Standard

“….interspersing these tirades are little commendations of her favourite plants – alchemilla mollis, erigeron karvinskianus “Profusion”, persicaria campanulata – all the more convincing for being in such a scoffing context.” read here

The Daily Mail

“…In the flesh, Anne is not at all bad tempered; she’s a little shy, in fact, with a nice line in bone-dry humour, grounded in sharp intelligence…” read here

Daily Mail Christmas Gardening books 

“Then again, you may be fed up with the whole business of getting cold and muddy, breaking your back and your nails and waging a constant pointless war against ravenous pests. In which case, you could try Wareham’s idiosyncratic book which describes the making of her two-acre garden in Monmouthshire, and contains, among other eccentricities, a television in the midst of a wood….” read more

The Scotsman

“Although the book has lots of laugh-out-loud moments and Wareham’s dry sense of humour is ever-present, she does make it clear that she thinks gardeners should be raising the bar, challenging themselves and being more open to new ideas.”

The Garden Design Journal – Darryl Moore

“Recalling Margery Fish’s classic ‘We Made a Garden’ from 1956, it provides fascinating insights into the dynamics of domestic partnerships within the garden. But also it importantly investigates the role gardens play in the larger landscape. Language, communities, history and geography are discussed in a manner which transcends the usual quasi-mystical invocations of ‘a sense of place’…. read here

“…..What is interesting about Anne Wareham’s work is that this is contemporary thinking about gardening from a hands-on perspective……”

The Bad Tempered Gardener: she’s not really – Susan Cohan

“The title is a funny play on another of my favorite garden books–the late Christopher Lloyd’s The Well-Tempered Garden.  The two are fundamentally alike–essays written by extremely talented and opinionated garden makers….If you want a good read that will make you think about what makes a garden great from a gardener who has made one, read this book.” …read more

Slow Life – Jonathan Denby’s blog

“I think I’m in love with Anne Wareham. It’s true that I’ve never met her and the one photo I’ve seen of her has her wearing goggles and driving a tractor. She also appears to be spoken for, as she’s dedicated her book to “Charles with love. Without you, nothing” and writes about making love to him by their “reflecting pool”. So it looks as though my love will be unrequited, but love it is, nevertheless…. read more

BBC Garden Blog

“…Nigel Colburn passionately defended his love of plants, Jane Perrone called it ‘infuriating’ while Victoria Summerley praised Anne’s searing honesty. The gardening world hasn’t got this hot under the collar since Percy Thrower was sacked….” read here

Guardian Garden Blog

“…the voice of this bad tempered gardener is one the needs to be heard in the often too complacent world of gardening.” read here

Victoria Summerley of  The Independent

…She is the human equivalent of the sort of strong cocktail – a White Lady, perhaps – that makes you gasp in shock, but feel invigorated afterwards…” read here

Nigel Colburn

“…The Bad Tempered Gardener gave me a series of sharp jolts.  I felt like a small boy caught doing something he shouldn’t and receiving a stern reprimand..” read here

Amy Stewart of Garden Rant

“Yes, she’s British, but she is one of us. She is opinionated, ill-tempered, witty and slightly crazy. Read this piece, which appears in the book and also ran in the Telegraph, called “I hate gardening” if you don’t believe me….” read here

A Growing Obsession, Denise Ginger’s Blog

“…Is Ms. Wareham railing against a moribund state of gardening in Britain? Is the weight of that long tradition now throttling creativity and stifling criticism? Is Britain just one big outdoor garden museum?” here

Graham Rice

“….It doesn’t matter whether you agree or not, like the best garden writing it makes you think.

In particular, she quite rightly complains that all commentary on gardens is positive, sometimes exuberantly and untruthfully so. She’s right, and this is pretty much unique to gardens…”  read here

James Golden, View from Federal Twist Blogspot

..”We need more books full of words about gardens. This one is funny, annoying, stimulating, and immensely sad. Please read it with an open mind and see if you don’t find much to think on.” read here

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen

“..Anne’s book was a great read, it is the kind of garden book I most like to read. It’s engaging, down to earth, opinionated in spades, food for thought, highly personal and, for lack of a better word, mature. No talking down to the reader, free of often well meant but highly annoying how to’s, and no green lies.” read here

Alison Levey

“…When I read the book what delighted me was that the oft mentioned contentious opinions do not overwhelm the book.  I thought the book well structured.  Others have said it dots around a bit, I actually found this a useful mechanism.  There are the chapters on the garden, various plants and the things Anne wants to share her opinions on…” read here

Nick Leech in The National

“…Wareham’s pronouncements may well land like a horticultural hand grenade.” read here

Buy The Bad Tempered Gardener


Gardening is talked-up housework that you have to do outside. It has everything in common with housework, even some of the tools. I have a vacuum cleaner that I use indoors and out since it sucks up wet as happily as dry. Gardening has a great deal of the same objective as housework and is mostly depressingly judged on the same criteria – is it neatandtidy and is it weed-free, alongside is it neatandtidy and is it dust-free?

Gardening is boring. It is repetitious, repetitive and mind-blowing 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. If there are enjoyable jobs they’re mostly enjoyable for the result not the process.

There is no actual intellectual content to the task itself, even if there may be in the planning and designing. So, if there is something wrong in my world, if an editor has snubbed me or a call centre driven me round the bend, I find myself obsessing. I think we are supposed to be delighting in being out in the open air, communing with nature, but me, I’ll be obsessing, writing rude letters in my head. Wishing I was sitting comfortably indoors writing rude letters.

Buy The Bad Tempered Gardeneron Amazon.

Translate »