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The Accidental Garden

Gardens, Wilderness and the Space In Between

Richard Mabey author


Publisher:Profile Books Ltd

Published:6th Jun '24

Should be back in stock very soon

The Accidental Garden cover

The godfather of British nature writing reflects on the conflict between cultivation and autonomous nature

'Part memoir, part naturescape and part gardening book ... there is also something much rarer in this book: wisdom. What a treat' The Times 'Delightful ... Mabey is the doyen of UK nature writing' New Statesman 'Our greatest nature writer' New Scientist We regard gardens as our personal dominions, where we can create whatever worlds we desire. But they are also occupied by myriads of other organisms, all with their own lives to lead. The conflict between these two power bases, Richard Mabey suggests, is a microcosm of what is happening in the larger world. In this provocative book, rooted in the daily dramas of his own Norfolk garden, Mabey offers a different scenario, where nature becomes an equal partner, a 'gardener' itself. Against a background of disordered seasons he watches his 'accidental' garden reorganising itself. Ants sow cowslip seeds in the parched grass. Moorhens take to nesting in trees. A spectacular self-seeded rose springs up in the gravel. The garden becomes a place of cultural and ecological fusion, and perhaps a metaphor for the troubled planet. This is vintage Mabey, maverick, intensely observed, and written with an unquenchable sense of wonder.

Absolutely enchanting ... With wisdom, wit, erudition and modesty, Mabey explores the edgeland between cultivation and wildness -- Isabella Tree, author * Wilding *
A calming reflection on the enduring resilience of nature ... a discursive, philosophical memoir about everything from the human desire to shape nature to what Mabey calls the ambiguous experience of gardening in the midst of an environmental emergency * Financial Times *
Delightful ... The Accidental Garden provides an overview of Mabey's evolved thinking over a lifetime ... Richard Mabey is the doyen of UK nature writing * New Statesman *
Inspirational ... meditative ... an advocate for a new non-domineering understanding of the relationship between human beings and the rest of the natural world * Spectator *
This is part memoir, part naturescape and part gardening book. ... there is also something much rarer in this book: wisdom. What a treat * The Times *
A crusade in defence of a natural world under threat ... Mabey's powers of nature observation, and his gift for translating them into words has made [his work] both celebrated and timeless * Sunday Telegraph *
A lovely companion to Olivia Laing's The Garden Against Time, The Accidental Garden sees nature writer Richard Mabey on fine form ... The light touch in his writing and his gardening allows for a delight in the everyday wonder of nature * Observer *
Eloquently and succinctly written by an enlightened ecologist ... a celebration of the garden, its meaning to us as humans, our memories, our long lives, what we can leave for future generations ... poetic and important * Plantlife *
Part memoir, part journal, part treatise ... this slim book captures it all. A thoughtful, lingering read -- Elizabeth Wainwright * Geographical *
[The] literary grandee of natural history ... here, we find the great man on home territory in Norfolk, mingling observations on the shifting boundaries between garden and countryside with reminiscences of younger days and changing attitudes * Country Life *
This is the elder statesman of nature writing whose books have led to a wellspring of environmental literature that is able to be at once intimate, investigative, scientific and beautiful. As he rummages around this pocket of nature that has come under his charge, Mabey constantly but calmly telegraphs the wider and wilder themes playing out beyond the boundary. The writing style - silky, flab-free, bright - remains irresistible throughout this slim volume. * Irish Independent *
An enchanting, meditative account of a garden and its lives -- Noreen Masud, author * A Flat Place *
Encourages us to think less of conquering the landscape and more of sharing it with the myriad creatures and organisms that treat our lawns and beds as home * The Tablet *
Masterly ... This new work by the ever-marvellous Mabey exhorts us to pay our dues to the other inhabitants of our gardens accordingly -- Caroline Sanderson * Bookseller Editor's Choice *
Praise for Richard Mabey: 'Visionary, witty and erudite * Telegraph *
Mabey is a national treasure * Sunday Times *
A superb stylist with profound tenderness and compassion towards the more-than-human world -- Robert Macfarlane
Our greatest nature writer * New Scientist *
Mabey is the kind of person you wish you had with you on every country walk, identifying, explaining, drawing on deep knowledge lightly worn * Country Life *
As in all his work, what comes across is [Mabey's] abiding passion for plants and the sustenance they give both imaginatively and spiritually ... with the confident affection of someone discussing old friends -- Bella Bathurst
We are lucky to have [Richard Mabey]. He has changed the way we are with plants and made a loved world lovelier still * Observer *

ISBN: 9781805220701

Dimensions: 204mm x 138mm x 24mm

Weight: 250g

176 pages