The Garden in the Clouds: From Derelict Smallholding to Mountain Paradise

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  2. The Garden in the Clouds: From Derelict Smallholding to Mountain Paradise by Antony Woodward
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Garden in the Clouds: From Derelict Smallholding to Mountain Paradise 3. This is a warm, witty memoir of one man's unlikely quest to create out of a mountainous Welsh landscape a garden fit for inclusion in the prestigious Yellow Book - the 'Gardens of England and Wales Open for Charity' guide - in just one year.

Hardcover , pages. Published April 29th by Not Avail first published January 29th To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Garden in the Clouds , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Garden in the Clouds. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia.

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Aug 07, Jim rated it really liked it Shelves: Antony Woodward wrote one of my favourite ever books, "Propellerhead", and the easy-going, likeable and near eccentric style encountered in that book continues into this one. Ostensibly about gardening, it's more a story about that the writer buying a holiday home in an alien environment - up a mountain in Wales - and then trying to get the garden into shape.

So far, so cliched, but Woodward has a way fo telling his tale that draws you into it on his side. You can believe the stories he tells ar Antony Woodward wrote one of my favourite ever books, "Propellerhead", and the easy-going, likeable and near eccentric style encountered in that book continues into this one.

You can believe the stories he tells are true, and you can also believe that the account is incidental to the ambition of buying the house in the first place. In other words, he didn't buy the house to write the book, which I sometimes suspect some authors have done!


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I'm not, and wasn't, all that interested in the trials of him sculpting his garden, with the goal of getting it featured in some guide book whose name I've already forgotten. But the book kept my interest to the end, and was worth reading. Maybe it was a bit lightweight, and I might well have forgotten all about it in six months, but I don't regret passing the time with it one bit.

May 22, Elda rated it really liked it. Only because I have done a lot of those things myself in North Wales over the last two years, apart from the railway carriage, that is; that was painful to read.

Virginia House - A Garden of History

Sheep, bits of old iron, honey drips and pond Nov 30, Jessica Hinton rated it liked it. My reviews can also be found at https: I probably need to prelude this review by explaining that I'm not much of a gardener. We recently bought a house with a fairly sizeable garden and so have got into it a bit more in an effort to turn our blank canvas into somthing interesting to look at.

So I'm a trier, rather than a gardener! The point being that this is not a book I would naturally have picked for myself. However my good friend and fellow Book club member My reviews can also be found at https: However my good friend and fellow Book club member who is extremely passionate about gardening chose this for our Book group and I was really interested to read what I hoped was an accessible gardening book! Woodward's writing style is intentionally light-hearted and often tongue in cheek. He often points fun at his own 'towny' ways in contrast with the 'roughy toughy' proper farmers, contractors etc.

There were a couple of descriptions of his utter buffoonary that made me snort out loud. He's sort of like a 'Bill Bryson - light' in his observational humour.

The Garden in the Clouds: From Derelict Smallholding to Mountain Paradise by Antony Woodward

Not quite as acerbic and witty but in that type of vein. I had never heard of the 'Yellow book' before and actually to me it sounds like a bit of a snooty way to make gardening even more unfathomable and elitist than it already is. I think Woodward's aim was to demistify this and demonstrate that modern day 'gardening' no longer means tidy box hedges, sculpted lawns and precision planted flowerbeds, but means encompassing the landscape and embracing its history, which I can get on board with.

Two things annoyed me about this book. One was that he never explained how he managed to afford all the madcap things that he kept doing. He seemed like he must be sitting on a bottomless pit of moeny somehow? It detracted from the reality of the situation somehow I was going through some other Goodreads review, and this reviewer, Jules, summed it up perfectly for me and made me laugh to boot Unsurprisingly it all turned into a massive clusterfuck so I paid someone ridiculous amounts of money to fix it.

And that level of consistent ignorant arrogance did grate on me after a while. The other annoyance is that he never really builds on his wife's character.


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Considering she isn't a 'character' but very much a real person! She's very much in the shadows in this book, despite it being obvious that she must have been instrumental in making the whole thing a reality and it sounds like she must be the most long-suffering wife out there. However, after a slow start I did start to enjoy the whimsical tales of tom foolery and the gentle way that Woodward mocked himself. There were some incredibly touching moments especially the flashbacks to his childhood memories of moments with his mother that took me by surprise and I loved the colourful descriptions of the various local characters that helped with the garden.

I imagine if I was more of a passionate gardener, or knew more about the trials and tribulations of preparing a garden for the yellow book, I might have liked this even more. Jan 29, Lucy Andrews rated it it was amazing. What a delightful book! On a day that began at F I settled down in front of the wood stove with Woodward and more or less stayed right there until bed time. The Woodwards, Tony and Vez, buy a hilltop farm in the borderlands of Wales and are determined to get into the Yellow Book of the National Gardens Scheme, a charity, and open for garden visits as soon as possible which, if I have my reckoning right, was a year or maybe two?

My spouse and I didn't do all the What a delightful book! My spouse and I didn't do all the things in this book, no dry stone walls, for example, and no bees, and no hauling about of a railroad car though we have dreamed of it and we did build me a work building that is quite similar to one but we have done much of this basic homesteading stuff in our time.


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The amount of work to be done was staggering and, indeed what could be more pleasurable than to read about other people working insanely hard on a day too cold to think about going outside at least until the thermometer went into the positive. I finished up this morning with their grand opening and felt as proud of the Woodwards' achievement as can be. Along the way the book is laugh out loud funny and full of wry observations and learned wisdom about 'how things get done' or not. Jan 09, Katy rated it liked it. Sadly I have been slightly disappointing by this book - it was recommended by a couple of people I trust.

It is a memoir of Antony Woodward's Welsh mountainside garden creation. I have an interest in the outdoors and in gardening so this really appealed to me, however the writing was smug and indulgent and times, leaving me feeling annoyed. Some of the chapters around stone walling, bee keeping and hedge laying really appealed to me and I enjoyed reading about them. But I just can't effuse about Sadly I have been slightly disappointing by this book - it was recommended by a couple of people I trust. But I just can't effuse about it. Its really a 2. Dec 13, Jules rated it did not like it Shelves: I very rarely fail to finish a book, but I had to give up on this one about two thirds of the way in for the sake of my blood pressure.

On the face of it I should have loved it - I love gardens, I love the Black Mountains and I dream of someday running away to live more sustainably somewhere beautiful.

The Garden in the Clouds

The start though was unpromising, involving the author explaining how he'd never liked gardens but wanted to create one at a deeply unpromising elevation just to prove he could, and it went downhi I very rarely fail to finish a book, but I had to give up on this one about two thirds of the way in for the sake of my blood pressure. The start though was unpromising, involving the author explaining how he'd never liked gardens but wanted to create one at a deeply unpromising elevation just to prove he could, and it went downhill from there.

His lack of respect for the landscape and the people around him who were trying to scrape an increasingly marginal living from it rather than playing hobby farmer was cringeworthy too - I was actually biting my knuckles for the passage where he destroyed a track that his neighbours were presumably actually using for work trying to haul a twenty ton railway carriage up a mountain with the aid of a crane he also destroyed a SSI and one of his neighbour's walls, which, while he doesn't say, I assume was probably enclosing livestock.

And he didn't put much effort into getting his wife's character onto the page - all she seemed to do was get pregnant and get cold. My reaction is in part, I suppose, jealousy - he's living my dream and doing it very, very badly. For some reason all his books so far have had something to do with clouds.

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The Garden In The Clouds: Book Overview Author Info and Events. The son of two passionate gardeners, Antony Woodward was born with chlorophyll running through his veins.