Literary and artistic Inspiration for Sam MacDonald's book "Down the Garden Path-Snippets f

"- I wanted to give an insight into the pieces of film, art and literature that have influenced me most in the writing of my book. Like most people there a certain pieces of media that have stayed with me from my youth forging how I see the world. So here they are!


- What TV program or film did inspired you for your book ?


- First there was the BBC version of Brideshead revisited (1981) that I watched with my father starring Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews. I think it is the first part (Et Arcadia in Ego) that caught my imagination because of the way it paints such a beautiful picture of the English countryside and Oxford university.

I was also influenced by the Mexican film Like Water for Chocolate (1992). Although the film is quite dated now; I was hugely impressed by the love Tita (the heroine of the film) used in her cooking to make the erotic dish of Quail with Rose petal sauce for her family causing an orgy at her sister’s wedding!

Robert Macfarlane’s beautiful portrait of the English Countryside in the BBC version of The Wild Places of Essex (2009) encapsulates my own feelings about our own unique landscape which were caused largely by reading Richard Mabey’s classic The Unofficial countryside (1973) which describes his wanderings in the outskirts of west London along the Metropolitan line.


- Did some artistic works inspired you ?


- I think the National gallery deserve some credit for allowing the British people access to an unbelievable selection of art work. It is particularly the Impressionists that have influenced how I garden and see the world by trying to see beauty in all aspects of life. I love Gauguin’s picture of the harvest in wheat fields, Van Gogh’s staggering beautiful pictures of the South of France and Monet’s waterlilies in Giverny, naturally. Also, there are Pisarro’s pictures of South London and Sisley’s paintings of nature near Paris. Finally, a special mention must go to Constable’s accurate depiction of the Suffolk countryside in his paintings which I adore despite their formality compared to the Impressionists.

As Vincent Van Gogh said "I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of the stars makes me dream…."


- Is there any gardens authors that you love and been inspired by them ?


- Christopher Lloyd’s book The Well Tempered Garden (1973) is still the best modern book on gardening in England and I expect it will remain so for some time by answering the difficult scientific questions behind all kinds of amateur gardening problems.

Beth Chatto’s book The Dry Garden (1978) will be a book with great longevity because it illustrates how to garden without too much labour or water. It ties in well with her other book The Gravel Garden (2000) which has some beautiful pictures of her own gravel garden in Essex.

Robin Lane Fox’s Thoughtful Gardening (2010) is a similar book to mine in that it is quite a light-hearted look at the aspects of gardening that he finds interesting. He is so knowledgeable and funny that it really is very enjoyable to read.


- Did any other type of authors inspired you ?

- Yes ! Natural World writers also inspired me. Richard Mabey’s book The Perfumier and the Stinkhorn (2011) is perhaps the most evocative short book which combines the seemingly distinct areas of science and romance. His book on Weeds (2012) is also extremely interesting and informative and as a young boy I used to read his book Food for free (1972) nightly! I don’t think any other writer has influenced my attitude to the natural world and indeed gardening more than him…

Roger Deakin’s trilogy of books Waterlog (1999), Wildwood- A journey through trees (2008) and Notes from Walnut Tree Farm (2009) has been very inspiring but I came to read him much later in my development as a naturalistic gardener.



- How did you think about the layout of your book ?


- It came from a cookery book: special mention must go to Nigel Slater’s book Eating for England (2008) which inspired the layout of my book. I loved the way he wrote little notes on the diverse array of English foods he had eaten and wanted to write a similar ode to gardening!









- I hope you will find space on your favourite gardening books list for ‘Down the Garden Path-snippets from The Cottage Gardener.’!"


If you are interested about Sam MacDonald book do not hesitate to buy it: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1527238334/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

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