Dictionary of Gardens: 2014



I like gardens, always have, probably always will.  Whether it is my back garden or Kew Gardens, Thomas Hardy’s Cottage Garden or Edinburgh Botanical Gardens; whether it is the gardens in a public park, like Walpole Park in Ealing where I grew up, or a landscaped park by Capability Brown; whether it is going round a village ‘Open Gardens’ or seeing the White Garden created by Vita Sackville-West at Sissinghurst Castle, I like them all.  A bit like my admiration for tea towels, what I like about gardens is the creativity of the designer, no two gardens are the same.  If you take me to a National Trust property and ask me to choose between seeing the house/castle or the  gardens, it will always be the gardens.  Gardens carry with them as much history as castles. I like to imagine what the designer was trying to create, what scene would take shape at each season of the year.  I like gardens that have different elements to them: formal gardens alongside rockeries, box edged borders alongside herbaceous flower beds, steps, secret corners for the odd bench or statue; trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials and those that flower and flower for ever.  I like garden ornaments (tasteful of course) and the use of recycled artefacts to give feature to the garden.

My love of gardens does not, however, make me a good gardener. I may have a vision but I do not have the wherewithal to create something; I need help with that.  So when Al from http://www.all-tea-towels.co.uk gave me this tea towel just before Christmas, I fell in love with it.  For me, it combines (a) my love of gardens in a not very serious way; never take yourself too seriously (b) good quality, linen-mix, tea towel material that I can enjoy using while wiping up (c) the artistry of Helen L. Smith who is a great tea towel artist and designer with a good sense of humour, the sort of humour that makes you laugh out loud (d) the play on words, the wittiness and finally (e) some great colourful drawings that add to the humour and make the process of wiping up so much slower while I am looking at the pictures but hey! that’s what tea towels are all about, engaging you.

Taking advice from my own Tea Towel Blog (Things To Do With A Tea Towel dated 4/1/16), this tea towel is the perfect wrapping for a gift for a gardener or someone who loves gardens.  Looking at the tea towel, who can resist ‘Rock Garden’ (three Garden Gnomes playing guitars and singing; I love a Garden Gnome) or ‘Garden Hose’ (an Elizabethan gentleman in flowery stockings – it could just be Malvolio from Twelfth Night).  I really like ‘Garden Centre’ (red spot in the middle of a garden with an arrow pointing to it) but what about ‘Kew Gardens’ (topiary in the shape of a Q).  I could go on but you could read the tea towel yourself.

One of the joys of having a large number of tea towels is that they are all so different (unless I buy the same one twice by accident).  The Dictionary of Gardens versus Eirisgeidh; Tunnocks Tea Cakes versus Escomb and Witton Park.  What more could I ask for?  They make wiping up such a pleasure and give me some great memories. I loved the Dictionary of Gardens and it makes such a nice ‘matching pair’ with the Dictionary of Tea.


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