The Morville Hours: The Story of a Garden by Katherine Swift
This is a book about time and the garden: all gardens, but also a particular one: that of the Dower House at Morville, where the author arrived in 1988 to make a new garden of her own. Katherine Swift takes the reader on a journey through time, back to the forces which shaped the garden, linking the history of those who lived in the same Shropshire house and tended the same red soil with the stories of those who live and work there today. It is an account which spans thousands of years. But is also the story of one life: of relationships tested to breaking point, of despair and loss as well as joy and achievement. It is a journey through the seasons, but also a journey of self-exploration. It is a book about finding one's place in the world and putting down roots. The Morville Hours takes the form of the medieval Book of Hours, recalling the monastic past of the house. Each chapter is named after one of the Hours of the Divine Office, and summons vividly to life an hour of the day or night in the garden of today and in the gardens of the past, from the crunch of grass underfoot at midnight on a frosty New Year's Eve to the drip of trees in a melancholy March dawn; from a perfumed May Day morning when the whole world seems sixteen again, to the enervating heat of a Midsummer noon; from the bloom of blue-black damsons picked on a golden September afternoon to the smell of holly and ivy cut in the dusk of a cold Christmas Eve. Together they describe the arc of the gardening year, and the arc of a life, from darkness into light, and from light back into darkness once more.