Winner of the National Trust Outdoor Book of the Year 2011
The story of one man’s unlikely quest to create out of a mountainous Welsh landscape a garden fit for inclusion in the prestigious Yellow Book – the ‘Gardens of England and Wales Open for Charity’ guide – in just one year.
The son of two passionate gardeners, Antony Woodward was born with chlorophyll running through his veins. Unfortunately, growing up with Latin plant names took its toll, and he was ingrained early on with a profound loathing of both gardens and gardening.
Buying Tair-ffynnon, a derelict smallholding 1,300 feet up in the Black Mountains of Wales, changed everything. Hooked by its beauty – when not buried in cloud – Woodward battles to meet the strict requirements of the famous ‘Yellow Book’ in this unlikely terrain. He finds himself driven by apparently inexplicable compulsions: wood chopping, hauling a 20-tonne railway carriage up a mountain, even beekeeping. Soon, his voyage along the rocky path to his own patch of paradise takes on a more personal tenor as he unearths the deep roots linking gardening and his childhood in this warm, funny and unlikely memoir.
Beautifully written and effortlessly engaging, ‘The Garden in the Clouds’ is a compelling read for anyone who has ever gardened – or ever dreamt of doing so.