Book: The Irish Garden

The Irish Garden book jacket lo-res

My second book, The Irish Gardenpublished by Frances Lincoln in the spring of 2015, is a whopping great volume — 400 pages long, and weighing in at 6 lbs 9 oz — rather larger than I or the publishers had planned. In it, I visit the best gardens in Ireland that are open to the public, talk about their history and about the people who made them.

Nearly sixty gardens, in both the Republic and Northern Ireland, are covered. The book is laid out thematically, taking the reader on a horticultural tour, from the grand old demesnes of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy to the intensely personal creations of today’s passionate plantspeople and garden makers.

My excellent husband, Jonathan Hession, took the photographs. He travelled all over the island of Ireland, visiting some of the gardens many times to catch particular scenes at the exact right time of the year and the exact right time of the day. He was up at dawn on countless occasions, slipping into that magic window of time between darkness and light — when all is luminous and misty and mysterious. He was also admirably gymnastic in the pursuit of the perfect picture: scaling trees, balancing on walls, clambering onto roofs and standing in the middle of a river in his waders. As a result, his photographs depict views of Irish gardens that, in many cases, are far from ordinary and are startlingly beautiful.

The book is available in all good book shops and online.

Howbert & Mays offers a mail-order service within Ireland. Just fill in the form on its  website if you’d like a particular message on the book.

German edition
The Irish Garden is also available in German as Irlands Schönste Gärten, published by DVA and translated by Stefan Leppert.

♣  ♣  ♣

The Irish Garden was awarded “Inspirational Book of the Year” at the Garden Media Guild (UK) Awards in November 2015


What the judges said:

“A superbly researched book that reads as wonderfully as it looks. Sumptuous, illustrative photography illustrates copy that takes you by the hand to enjoy a journey through the history, styles, variety, atmosphere and characters of a huge range of valuable Irish Gardens. There is much to admire and inspire in the pages of the book, and its relevance is so important to any gardener’s library. Congratulations to the husband and wife writer/photographer team Jane Powers and Jonathan Hession, their passion for the gardens in the area they live is alive and obvious in every page.”


Victoria Clarke The Gardener’s Garden

Heidi Howcroft & Marianne Majerus Garden Design: A Book of Ideas

Carol Klein Making a Garden: Successful gardening by nature’s rules

James Wong Grow For Flavour

♣  ♣  ♣

What the reviews say

“a synchrony of text and images that should be the blueprint for future books of this kind. The author vividly brings the story of each garden’s creation to life… while her husband’s images [are] suffused with the light unique to Ireland…” — Gardens Illustrated magazine

“It is rich in practical and botanical detail, augmented with snippets of gossip and honest opinion — the culmination of years of painstaking research and accurate observation. This pair of perfectionists have produced a remarkable book.” — Joy Larkcom in The Garden

“a ravishing new tome that celebrates the diversity of Ireland’s gardens…’ — Country Life magazine

“The first extensive book on Irish gardens in a long time, this big weighty tome made me utterly homesick for my native land, and reminded me what makes Irish landscapes and gardens so unique…” — The English Garden magazine

“a stunning record of the best the island has to offer, in both the Republic and Northern Ireland” — The Independent on Sunday

“outstanding in its scope and achievement” and “a book not to be missed” — The Irish Garden magazine

“a must-have for all who are interested in the evolution of the Irish garden” — Diarmuid Gavin in The Irish Independent

“an absorbing, well written thing of beauty” and “unbelievably romantic and magical photos” — The Irish Mail on Sunday

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