I admit it. I'm an impulse shopper, one of those people with a bull's eye painted on her that the advertisers and marketers aim for. So, it was with delight when I picked up this book, Garden People...after all, who doesn't want to know more about garden people....or find out exactly who garden people are?? The subtitle, The Photographs of Valerie Finnis, was intriguing as well.
Inside, right away, are some beautiful pictures that will have you ohhhing and awwwing, but keep turning because the most interesting life of Valerie Finnis is about to unfold. The name probably rings a bell to you (for instance, Muscari 'Valerie Finnis') but now you're about to learn about a gardening life and a gardening era.
It was a time when young women could attend a horticulture school just for them and totally immerse themselves in plants. Valerie chose a specialty in alpine plants, something she became known for her entire life. Her pictures tell not just her story (most details I'll leave you to read...you'll enjoy reading about her life well lived) but give us glimpses into the lives and gardens of last century's who's who in English gardening. And, they're not just any pictures....they're wonderful treasures of notable people in their gardens, the clothes they wore and the dogs they kept by their sides. Okay, I'll name drop just a bit...how about Roald Dahl? Margery Fish? (Some of your favorite plants...you'll find out who is behind those names...)
How Valerie met her husband is a sweet story and for those of us who are into health and healthy life styles (Blue Zones, anyone?), you might note the ages of these gardeners. Gotta be a connection! Anyway, the author Ursula Buchan (who knew Valerie Finnis) has done us all a great favor by sharing Valerie's story and her remarkable photographs.
In the very back, you will find short bios of all the gardening people you meet in the book. What a fascinating time, fascinating people and certainly a fascinating life Valerie Finnish led! Thanks for sharing this with us, Ms. Buchan.
My most humble picture of Muscari 'Valerie Finnis' (I'll have to get a better one this year):
Maybe ordering some more of these wouldn't be a bad idea...especially now that I know something about Valerie Finnis!