Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City

16.02.11



Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City
Octopus Publishing
2011

In his most recent book Dan writes about his own garden in Peckham, south London. When he moved there in 1997 the garden was overgrown and neglected, and he immediately began creating an oasis of calm in the midst of the city. Home Ground is a seasonal portrait of the gardening year, with profiles of Dan’s favourite plants, practical descriptions of common garden tasks and explanations of his design and planting ethos.

'Although London is an energising place to live, I want to be transported somewhere entirely more restful once I step out of the back door.  The first thing you do when you open the door, (and friends and family that use the garden immediately remark on this too) is that you breathe out, and exhale.  The surroundings make the next breath
in taste so much better.  I believe that the greenery makes the air sweeter here and that the mood in the garden puts you in a better frame of mind. It is a sensual place that encourages you to brush the felt-leaved pelargoniums as you move from the house, to gaze at the sky or watch the rain rippling the surface of the water bowl beneath the Cercis. The breeze in the bamboos baffles the city hubbub, the shadow patterns play with the light and you can smell the damp and the rot on the air in the autumn.  It is a place that has its own life and its own rhythms. Winter has it’s beginning, it’s middle and it’s end and I can feel it in the planting when the garden strains towards, and then tips beyond, the longest day.  I spend as much time as possible living outside, because the garden draws me out there.  It is the first place I go after getting out of bed and the last at the end of the day.'

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'Dan Pearson’s new book is required reading. (He) is a garden designer of international repute and a newspaper columnist whose every written word conveys love and knowledge of his subject. So personal and detailed are some sentences that at times I felt I were there alongside him, not only picking up myriad useful tips, but sharing too his fabulously rewarding ‘physical and cerebral’ workload. This important book has wide application, for city dwellers and for gardeners everywhere. Howard Sooley spent many days over many years in Dan’s garden and his photographs perfectly complement an inspiring and buoyant text.'

David Wheeler in Gardens Illustrated, March 2011


Watch the publisher's promotional film here
Buy the book here

Read The Constant Gardener's review here