The Generous Gardener (Pimpernel), click for more info


A collection of more than 40 interviews by with garden owners both well-known and off the beaten track. These are largely based on the encounters I had over the 20 or so years I was gardening editor at The Sunday Times newspaper, with a few tasty extras thrown in.

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In stock (can be backordered)


“These very personal encounters, each rendered in little more than a thousand words, like miniature paintings, tell us so much” David Wheeler, Hortus magazine

“Easy to read and in a relaxed, chatty style, it is not difficult to imagine you are eavesdropping on a private conversation, with interviewees comfortable enough to reveal a few secrets and provide insightful quotes about their personality….. An absorbing and entertaining book” Matthew Biggs, The Garden, RHS magazine

“The book.. references Caroline’s thoughtful and conversational interviews. Teasing out the gardens’ stories and the way the owners enjoy their own private space, so that we can all step through these garden gates, seems effortless. Caroline describes them all, however well known, simply as people who love their gardens and that is clear in her telling of these tales: everyone is equal, whether they have diamond-handled trowels or not. Her interviewees are famous, landed or lauded, but you get the impression Donald is unbowed by, almost uninterested in, their status…. The author captures their essence quickly, in lively prose” Stephanie Mahon, Gardens Illustrated

“It feels very comfortable walking and talking with Caroline: even though many of the owners are well known, she introduces them afresh, offering just enough information to make us feel that we know them more than we really do. Hers is a delicate brushstroke that fleshes them out and leads into a gentle riff that explains what the garden means to them” Garden Post blog

“Caroline Donald’s stories, in words and pictures of more than 40 private gardens, bring the joy of gardening and the generosity of spirit, to me the hallmark of every gardener, to the fore in an interesting and captivating book…..
An accomplished journalist takes you along with them in an easy and informative manner and this is one of the strengths of The Generous Gardener” The Reckless Gardener blog

“There are things to enjoy in this book, in particular the unpretentious keenness of Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton, the Lancastrian self-restraint of Sir Harrison Birtwistle and the old-school charm of the late Lord Carrington. I am glad I now know that the late Sir Henry Cecil, planted rugosa roses round the fillies’ yard, because they liked eating the hips” Ursula Buchan, Spectator

“It’s cold and rainy outside. You could choose to stay inside and focus on other people’s gardens, hoping to gain inspiration for a new look for your backyard. A perfect source of ideas is The Generous Gardener: Private Paradises Shared by Caroline Donald.” Stephen Anderton, The Times

“..talking sympathetically to people ranging from Harrison Birtwistle to Kelly Brook” David Sexton, Evening Standard

“any garden voyeur will have a good time” Mary Keen, The Telegraph


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