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Salon Talk: The Englishwoman’s Garden

Mary Keen, Tania Compton and Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall in conversation with Tim Richardson.

First published in 1980, The Englishwoman’s Garden was the defining glossy gardening book of a generation. Edited by Rosemary Verey and Alvilde Lees-Milne, the book was a journey through 36 private manor gardens with female owners, described by The Telegraph as “ideal for leafing through in your armchair while winter rain rattled the windows.”

The Englishwoman’s Garden spawned decades of spin-offs and imitators, igniting the garden photo book industry, and celebrating the importance and influence of female gardeners.

Now, nearly 40 years later, Tim Richardson gathers three Englishwomen gardeners – Mary Keen, Tania Compton and Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall – to reflect on the book’s impact on the gardening world, and consider what The Englishwoman’s Garden means today.

Speaker bios

  • Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall

    Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall

    Since studying Landscape Architecture as a mature student, Jane has designed gardens in Britain and abroad. She has two Chelsea Flower Show gold medals, and her books include Gardening Made Easy, Peonies - the Imperial Flower and The Garden, an English Love Affair. In her early career, Rosemary Verey (editor of The Englishwoman's Garden) was very helpful in providing guidance and opportunities.

  • Mary Keen

    Mary Keen

    Mary Keen has made large gardens for many people and written about everything to do with gardens and gardening for years, in 6 books and countless articles. She still prefers hands on growing, now in a smaller garden and three allotments, to watching others work .

  • Tania Compton

    Tania Compton

    Tania Compton is a garden designer and writer.

  • Tim Richardson

    Tim Richardson

    Tim Richardson, garden historian and landscape critic, is an irreverent commentator on all matters pertaining to gardens. He was gardens editor at Country Life, at *Wallpaper magazine and edited New Eden, the contemporary gardens magazine. He is now a regular columnist in the gardening pages of the Daily Telegraph.