Fish, for gardening.

In 1999 a couple visited a country manor house with the view to buying the property. They arrived in the dark and never saw the garden. They failed to appreciate the importance of the garden or have any knowledge of its creator Margery Fish. Having purchased the house, they stepped up, took a horticultural course, employed 28 staff, and opened a tea room and art gallery. Today, East Lambrook is open to the public as an exhibition of English cottage gardening.

margery fish

Margery Fish’s first career was in journalism. Educated at a Quaker school, Friends School in Saffron Walden, she left secretarial college in 1911 to work for the editor of the Daily Mail. Lord Northcliffe was something of a dictator, friendly one minute, feared the next. But Margery remained loyal, proving that women could succeed as long as they delivered to his high standards. During WWI Northcliffe headed the British Mission in the USA and he requested Margery to join him. She crossed the Atlantic under threat of torpedoes and spent 3 years at the mission, eventually earning an MBE.

Life continued post-war. She married another news editor in 1933. When WWII loomed, Margery and her husband moved to Somerset with the intention of developing the cottage garden style begun at larger houses, such as Sissinghurst, but what she lacked was the help of paid gardeners. Labour was scarce and expensive, she needed to turn the art of grand gardening into something suitable for a humbler domestic household. Her accomplishment was to make a pastime of the wealthy accessible for the general population. She wrote books and articles, publicising her goal. The book We Made a Garden describes the early years of her garden creation.

She started out as a beginner in search of an informal garden with pretty flowers and self-seeding native plants. She specialised in hellebores and shade loving plants. In 1950 she opened the garden to the public to raise money for charity. Without the support of professional gardeners, she worked 18 hour days, plus the writing side, doing everything herself including dry stone walling. Margery was an avid fan of snowdrops – a galanthophile. In 2008 there were 60 different species of snowdrop growing in the garden.

eastlambrook

Her writing projects included contributing to the Oxford Book of Garden Flowers (1963) and the Shell Garden Book (1964). She encouraged her readers to ‘cherish the simple flowers that brighten our cottage gardens.’ She became one of the most admired gardeners of her time. Sadly, the garden fell into neglect after her death in 1969 until its restoration in 1985. Fortunately, her ideas remain relevant to all generations of gardeners.


Do you like to read about free chapters and short stories, or find out more about your favourite author including their work in progress?

Interested? Then sign up for my reader’s club newsletter: Rachel’s Readers and you’ll receive a complementary short story.

Advertisements

4 comments

  1. Just as well they didn’t get radical with garden redesign before discovering the garden’s importance 🙂

    Visiting from A to Z
    https://ayfamilyhistory.com/2019/04/06/f-is-for-flintshire/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very fortunate the new owners were keen to keep the garden going.

      Like

  2. randommusings29 · · Reply

    Fantastic that they have put so much effort into conserving the garden
    Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Must have been a big decision to take on the responsibility.

      Like

Comments are always welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Shravmusings

Kiddie Talkies - Have a look at this World through a kid's eyes with the help of his Mom's expressions

Fantasia Hearth

Soul-searching fantasy; epic worlds.

I Rhyme Without Reason

I live in words

Wolf of Words

Stories, Reviews and Opinions!

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

thewirralgirl

it wouldn't be thewirralgirl without you.

Rachel Walkley

Telling Tales, Revealing Secrets

Author Erika Jayne

Where stories come to life

Living the Dream

Susanne Matthews

Stories I Found in the Closet

The musings of writer, mother, musician and whatever else takes my fancy

Planet Pailly

Where Science Meets Fiction

Shawna Atteberry

Writer, Editor, Researcher

WordDreams...

Jacqui Murray's

True North Bricks

A Canadian fan media blog about LEGO® bricks

Tossing It Out

The musings of writer, mother, musician and whatever else takes my fancy

Sorchia's Universe

Magic, Mystery, Romance, History, a little Whisky, and a Cat

Word Shamble

Exploring fictional worlds in a flash

Yarnspinnerr

Just Fiction and other things that seem fictitious.

%d bloggers like this: