OK. No names – right? Because the garden world is not robust enough for people to express their opinions openly and I don’t want to upset people more than I already have.
But this was illuminating to me and so it may be to you. I was at a social event with garden professionals and I overheard a very eminent garden professional say what a dreadful disappointment Highgrove’s garden is. I thought I’d check out with the person they said this to whether I had overheard correctly – and she not only confirmed that I had but then continued to give an eloquent and heartfelt analysis about just why Highgrove is so awful.
I had just received a review copy of ‘The New English Garden’ – and there, in the twenty odd gardens that have been chosen to feature (This is not sour grapes, all you Christopher Bradley-Hole discounters – Veddw is in Wales) was – Highgrove. (and The Laskett….)
The garden world is full of dirty secrets like this. We all know this that or the other garden is awful – but…. no-one is going into print to say so.
And – why? Why are Highgrove (and the Laskett) in the book, did everyone think? My naivety was once again shown up – the consensus is: to sell books. Especially in America.
One of my companions was told by an American tour guide that if she’s organising a tour in the UK she just needs to include Highgrove and she’ll fill the tour. Then she can take the tour to the good places after they’ve done the duty visit to Highgrove. ‘They won’t like it, but they’ll have been’.
Well, I’m a bit less stupid than I was when I got up this morning…
Later addition Or maybe not. Tim tells me he had no commercial motivation in including these gardens. If I understand him – and I may well not – more that it gave him an opportunity to say what he thinks of them. Fair enough, and my apologies to Tim.
I fear the general status and exposure (and inclusion in garden tours) of these gardens may still have something to do with this analysis.
(and here are James Alexander-Sinclair’s online thoughts about Highgrove )
Latest post on thinkingardens – Go it alone? by Rory Stuart – how do you like your garden tours?