It’s a book!

March 24, 2011 § 15 Comments

My late father, J.F. Powers, was a writer of note in the United States.  His first novel, Morte D’Urban, won the National Book Award in 1963. There was some pretty heavyweight competition. His output was small and choice: two novels and three books of short stories. His last book took 22 years to write. I hate to think of the excuses he fed to his agent and publishers, or the guilt that he must have felt after a long day at the office deciding whether to plump for a colon or a dash.

Well, I’ve just written a book too. It took me a little over two years — a mere sprint compared to my father’s marathon. I took all the photos, except for six that my husband Jonathan Hession shot, and one (of my late mother) that my sister Katherine provided.

The book, The Living Garden, is published by Frances Lincoln — my dream publishers. When I started writing about gardening sixteen years ago, I used to look at the beautiful books produced by this independent London house, and imagine my name on the cover and spine of something published by them. So, I was delighted (and more than a little terrified) when I was actually asked by them to submit an idea for a book.

And, a month or two ago, when I finally got my hands on a single, precious advance copy, I put it on the shelf between Beth Chatto’s and Helen Dillon’s books (two of my favourite garden writers), just to see what it looked like. It looked delightful. But I took it down fairly quickly, as it seemed an impertinence to let it linger next to these two great gardening women. (It never even occurred to me to put it next to my father’s books. That would have been far too bumptious.)

If you feel like buying the book, there are links on this page to Amazon (but do try your local bookshop first).

You can read the introduction by clicking on the thumbnails here.

And finally if you want to meet me, I’ll be doing some book signings:

Newbridge Silverware, Newbridge, Co Kildare: 3pm, Friday April 1st.

Brown Thomas, Grafton Street, Dublin 2: 2pm, Saturday April 16th 2011

Launch of the West Cork Garden Trail, Glebe Gardens, Baltimore, West Cork: 11 am, June 11th 2011

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§ 15 Responses to It’s a book!

  • Kate Bradbury says:

    Put it back up with Beth Chatto’s and Hellon Dillon’s! And another by your dad’s! x x


  • Anne Wareham says:

    Well done Jane. May it sell millions!

    Wonder what other people’s hero garden writers would be? Robin Lane Fox? Gertrude Jeykll? Penelope Hobhouse? Graham Stuart Thomas? Vita Sacville-West? They were some of mine some years ago. Have never got on with your two.


  • Jane Powers says:

    Thank you, Kate. I might try it back on the shelf again when no-one is looking!

    And Anne, I love Graham Stuart Thomas too. And another book I’ve loved recently is Hugh Johnson’s revised Trees book.


  • Big congrats on the book; I hope you get the opportunity to promote it in the US, where despite organic advocates like Margaret Roach, many gardeners still take an approach like, “if I don’t want it on my property, how can I poison it?” and “where can I find the right chemicals to make my grass greener?” My sister has literally only now started to think that all those visits from the ChemLawn guy aren’t a good idea ecologically.

    Sheila Averbuch — Stopwatch Gardener


  • Des Doyle says:


    We met a few years back at the Rick Darke lecture in Dublin, so pleased you have put a book together and looking forward to reading it. I am a regular reader of your Irish Times column and wish you all the best with the book. Congratulations!


  • Alison says:

    Looks good – beautiful photography – congratulations.


  • Paddy Tobin says:

    Oh, I think she’s boasting with her “I only spent two years writing it”. She forgets how many years it took her to start writing it – that counts as well.

    Well, I didn’t delay and read it as soon as I received it and was delighted with it. I can’t say I was surprised by how good it was or by its contents as I have been reading Jane’s article for many years and this is the best of her gardening thought distilled and put together beautifully in this book. Husband, by the way, is now officially redundant as the official household photographer.


  • Victoria says:

    It looks wonderful – definitely on the wish list. I agree with Kate – put it back up on that shelf.


  • Ena Ronayne says:

    Really looking forward to reading this beautiful looking book Jane, hope to catch you at one of the signings. Best wishes I do hope it is a great success for you.


  • VP says:

    I’ll look out for it’s appearance in the Lindley Library – between Beth Chatto and Helen Dillon 😉

    Congratulations – it looks lovely and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a copy 🙂


  • Carmel Lynch says:

    Congratulations Jane – looking forward to getting a copy to treasure. Another Frances Lincoln writer I am reminded of is the late, great Rosemary Verey.


  • […] on my second book — which will be published in 2013 (you can read about my first book here and here). And, as before, I’ll be popping up in Irish and British publications. I’ll also be […]


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