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plants and has become a friend and advisor. The outstanding grape vines at Chatsworth overseen by Faye Tuffrey (described in full by Sarah Raven in the Saturday Telegraph) provide a perfect example for growing vines under cover. While few can aspire to such management, their care is relevant to any size of vine and I am extremely grateful to her and Steve Porter at Chatsworth. Clive Simms’s Nutshell Guide to Growing Figs gave me all the answers I sought in the most digestible form. Having grown sweet peas for many years according to the instruction of Roger Parsons, National Plant Collections Holder for Sweet Peas, I would advise others to do the same. In its planting notes, Thorncroft Clematis makes clear and easy what is often considered the complicated matter of clematis care and pruning. Indeed, the planting notes of nurseries such as Sarah Raven, Ashwood, Crocus, Woottens of Wenhaston, Blackmore and Langdon, Dibleys and many others are an invaluable service to gardeners when purchasing their glorious plants. The Royal Horticultural Society A–Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants is the most useful reference book any gardener can have, while the service provided by the RHS to answer questions on gardening and plant identification is truly extraordinary.

But this book contains the collected wisdom of so many others, most of them household names for anyone even remotely interested in gardening – the late Christopher Lloyd, Roy Lancaster, the late Beth Chatto, Hugh Johnson, Robin Lane Fox – indeed, the list below reads like a litany of great gardeners. Any one of them could write this book standing on their head. In this respect I think particularly of Ursula Buchan, whose gardening articles were my bread and butter for many years. Helen Yemm is another, whose ‘Thorny Problems’ page in the Saturday Telegraph is compulsive reading every week. To all of them I am grateful – the learning goes on until that time when it becomes second nature and gardening is no longer anything to be apprehensive about.

So, in addition to those mentioned above, I would like to acknowledge my debt to the huge number of experts whose advice has been invaluable in compiling this book, including: Louisa Arbuthnott, Claire Austin, Mary Berry, Matthew Biggs, Adrian Bloom, Helen Bostock, Chris Bowers, Val Bourne, Bob Brown, Toby Buckland, Marina Christopher, Phil Clayton, Nigel Colborn, Brian Davis, Tony Dickerson, Helen Dillon, Monty Don, Nigel Dunnett, Bob Flowerdew, Sue France, Fergus Garrett, Pippa Greenwood, Mark Griffiths, John Grimshaw, Bunny Guinness, Rosy Hardy, Mary Keen, Noel Kingsbury, Carol Klein, Arabella Lennox-Boyd, Tony Lord, Dr Ronald Mackenzie, John Massey, Susie PasleyTyler, Dan Pearson, Lynsey Pink, Sarah Raven, Graham Rice, Sara Rittershausen, Henry Robinson, Alan Titchmarsh, Jennifer Trehane and Matthew Wilson.

One personal, heartfelt acknowledgement goes to my beloved husband, William, who has proofread, advised and cajoled me to complete this book. The credit for the photographs, all taken in our Derbyshire garden, is his also.

Griselda Kerr September 2018


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