It’s impossible to read Jinny Blom’s debut book, The Thoughtful Gardener, without stopping every few minutes to gasp at yet another mesmerising image. Blom has an incredible ability to create gardens that look as though they have been there for hundreds of years, whether it’s through planting a vast castellated yew hedge around the parameter of the garden or sourcing and then importing an entire orchard of gnarly old fruit and nut trees to a new project. She has a creative genius for wildly romantic landscapes with mossy roofed outbuildings, old walls dripping in roses, topiary lawns and magical meadows.
In one chapter Blom describes a project that was inspired by Dame Miriam Rothschild’s house, Ashton Wold in Northamptonshire. Rothschild allowed nature to run amok, shrouding her house in wild rambling climbers while the lawns had been left to grow long and was subsequently dotted with wild flowers. In a similar way, Blom takes a picturesque clapboard cottage on the Sussex Weald and then adds layers and layers of magic with espalier trees and daisy meadows, nutteries and rampant roses. A garden yes, but one that sits tantalising on the edge of wilderness.
As well as being very thoughtful, this is such a generous book too, with Blom giving a deep insight into her thought processes and including lots of her beautiful hand-drawn sketches so that we can really study how she approaches each project. It’s unlikely you could ever recreate her magic – but it’s very nice to dream about it.