Book Review: The Gardens of Arne Maynard by Rosie Atkins and Arne Maynard

A few years ago I was went on a course run by Arne Maynard at Allt y bela, his home close to the Welsh Border.  Arne talked us through his design principles and philosophy and it was a fascinating couple of days.  When I saw that this book was going to be published I knew I wanted to review this book.
It is a beautiful book, written in a very personal style.  It is very definitely the clear voice of Arne speaking to you from its pages.  The photography by William Collinson works perfectly with the text.
Arne takes us through gardens he has designed and also the essential design features.  We look at Allt y bela and then move on to Haddon Hall, East Hampton and La Frateria amongst others.  There are all quite different gardens for different clients yet there is that something that links them, which is of course Arne.   We are led through topiary and pleaching and also through the craftsmanship that makes all the difference.  The devil is very definitely in the detail and to make a truly great garden it needs heart, soul and attention to that detail.  The photographs hone in on thyme planted through pebbles, through to gates and door-knockers.  This focussing down rather than just looking at the bigger picture gives a great sense of place and of personalisation that is important to understanding what is being achieved.

This is a book that will give you inspiration, I cannot see how it will fail to do so.  I think this book also shows us what an important designer Arne Maynard is.  Most of these gardens I will never visit, but the book makes up for this by talking us through them so carefully and with such passion.  This is a book I think I will be returning to again and again.

The book is published by Merrell Publishers on September 10th.