‘A Year in My Garden’ – Review

I have always enjoyed reading memoirs or diaries penned by other gardeners recounting their experiences in their individual gardens. Most, however, have been situated in the UK and so I was more than interested in this new book by Jacqueline van der Kloet because her garden is in the Netherlands.

A Year in My Garden‘ focuses not only on Jacqueline’s garden – The Theetuin in Weesp, one of the most visited gardens in the Netherlands – but also takes the reader on a wider perspective of her life as a garden and landscape designer and the varied national and international projects she undertook during the year.

Taking us on a tour of her “own little piece of paradise” the author shows us what makes a garden special throughout the year, her favourite plants, her inspiration and how you look at different seasons. She carefully illustrates the interaction between what you do in a garden and what the garden does for you, and I found her narration of various projects both at home and abroad added an extra dimension to the month she was describing. Her writing style is easy and fluent and at times I felt as though we were having a one-to-one conversation over coffee!

Divided into individual months, each chapter features a section on favourite plants for that month. In April we have favourite plants that are yellow, in June we have red and in August coloured leaves.The book is packed with plant varieties and suggestions and in many cases is a masterclass from a renowned designer.

The book is richly illustrated with photographs offering the reader a source of inspiration as well as bearing witness to this plantswoman’s love for everything that blossoms and flourishes.

Tom Stuart-Smith points out that Jacqueline van der Kloet is one of the leading planting designers in Europe: “I think of her especially as the queen of bulbs, having designed for Piet Oudolf, Martha Stewart and the famous bulb garden at Keukenhof,” he said. He adds that the books is both charmingly personal and brimming over with enthusiasm and intelligence.

Her vast knowledge of plant combinations, especially combinations of perennials and bulbs, has led to regular requests for her to work on major projects such as plantings for the Battery in New York, projects in Yokohama and Nagasaki and renovating the bulb plantings at Clumber Park. Her asides into her wider work makes the book all the more interesting and enjoyable.

A Year-in-My Garden‘, by Jacqueline van der Kloet, is in hardback and published by Hélène Lesger Books, Amsterdam, priced £35.00.

A review copy of this book was kindly provided by the publishers.