Review: You should have been here last week

I was pleased to see that Tim Richardson’s ‘You Should Have Been Here Last Week – Sharp cuttings from a Garden Writer‘, has now been reproduced in paperback by Pimpernel Press Ltd. As I do not have the original hardback version, (published 2016) this easy to read format is welcome for it makes an excellent travelling companion.

The title, ‘You Should Have Been Here Last Week‘, made me smile because it is something I have heard so many times myself when visiting gardens. I knew exactly where he was coming from with this and knew too that the ‘sharp cuttings’ bit would be indicative of the author’s no-nonsense approach to garden criticism. Anyone who has read any of Tim’s books or his magazine or newspaper columns will know him to be a thoughtful and at times challenging garden critic – they will also know that his writing is always entertaining and can be deliciously witty.

Tim (pictured left) has spent a career travelling the world looking at gardens and he is not afraid to challenge what garden designers are up to or to voice his opinion on RHS Judging, Chelsea show gardens, plants and architecture or whether or not shrubs are making a comeback! Sometimes his articles have made me draw a breath but secretly I have envied his skill as a polemicist and often wished I had his chutzpah.

This collection of his writing dates from 2004 to 2016 with each “cutting” clearly marked as to the month, year and publication it appeared in.

He says it as it is – or rather as he sees it – in an entertaining and often amusing way and I value that, as we all too often tend to pander to the ‘great and the good’ and their design tastes simply because they are the ‘great and the good’. What you get from Tim is informed criticism that makes you stop and think about where design, horticulture and the whole world of gardening is heading.

Tim is a garden historian, journalist and critic who has a string of books behind him including The New English Garden (2013) and Oxford College Gardens (20125). He writes regularly for newspapers and magazines and is the author of Oxford University’s course on the history of the English landscape garden. He is the founder-director of the amazingly successful Chelsea Fringe and also advises the National Trust on landscape conservation.

You Should Have Been Here Last Week – Sharp Cuttings from a Garden Writer‘ by Tim Richardson is published in paperback by Pimpernel Press Limited – – at £9.99.

A copy of this book was received from the publisher for the purposes of review.

All illustrations/photgraphs © publisher