Regular readers may recall that back in November 2019 I reviewed Jack Wallington's book 'Wild About Weeds'. I liked this book a lot and I enjoy how Jack writes. As I was writing the review I came across the pre-order advertisement for another book written by Jack 'The Gardeners Book of Patterns'; dear reader, as I am sure you will have already guessed, I bought the book. I am under no obligation to write this review, I paid for the book and no one asked me to buy it.
Whilst waiting for the book to be published/delivered I hit a small problem. I ordered this book in November 2019 and asked for it to be delivered to my workplace when it was published. That way I knew it would received and I would not have to go to the Sorting Office to pick it up if I missed the delivery. It was published in April this year. In April my place of work was closed due to the pandemic including the post room. I received the notification the book had been shipped, I panicked and tried to redirect it to no avail. A small, yet audible, expletive was uttered. I had visions of the book left on the doorstep and probably being taken by a passer by or left to rot. I received a call to my mobile a day or so later, 'I'm trying to deliver your parcel but I can't find anywhere open' said the poor delivery driver. I explained the situation and he said he could return it to sender and I would get a refund. Problem solved, I reordered the book to be sent to my home address and it arrived soon after. One of the few plusses of the lockdown is I am at home when things are delivered.
Anyhoo, to the book. This book is an RHS branded book and so you already know that it is going to be of good quality. It has a nice solid feel to it so that it feels worth the cost. The RHS doesn't do flimsy. Jack starts by talking us through what pattern is and why it matters to us in all aspects of our lives. He talks about the patterns made by nature and those that we make. Jack explains that when we make patterns we tend to be more precise than nature whereas natural forms are more loose, less perfect. Jack goes on to say that patterns come in and out of fashion and the way we garden does the same. This is all the preamble into what is then a very comprehensive book.
The chapters go through about what influences pattern, patterns using plants and using water. There chapters on garden layouts and patios, sculpture, garden furniture and walls. We discover how patterns have been used through history in gardens and also how even the smallest detail can lead the eye and create pattern.
The book is full of photographs of examples of what is meant. Some of these photographs I recognised from RHS show gardens.
Whilst the photographs are plentiful this is not what I would call a 'look at the pictures' type book. Jack's writing is intelligent, considered and, importantly, made me think. It is not about liking what you see in the picture, it is about understanding the point and relating to your own space. Your own space might only be a balcony or a window sill, but there is still pattern to be found and made.
I like this book a lot. I like books that make me think about elements of garden design and how they fit together. I have made a youtube video to talk about this more and this can be found here:
The Gardeners Book of Patterns by Jack Wallington is published by Thames & Hudson and retails at around £15.