The story of how Francis Pryor created a haven for people, plants and wildlife in a remote corner of the fens. A Fenland Garden is the story of the creation of a garden in a complex and fragile English landscape – the Fens of southern Lincolnshire – by a writer who has a very particular relationship with landscape and the soil, thanks to his distinguished career as an archaeologist and discoverer of some of England’s earliest field systems. It describes the imagining, planning and building of a garden in an unfamiliar and sometimes hostile place, and the challenges, setbacks and joys these processes entail. This is a narrative of the making of a garden, but it is also about reclaiming a patch of ground for nature and wildlife – of repairing the damage done to a small slice of Fenland landscape by decades of intensive farming. A Fenland Garden is informed by the empirical wisdom of a practising gardener (and archaeologist) and by his deep understanding of the soil, landscape and weather of the region; Francis’s account of the development of the garden is counterpointed by fascinating nuggets of Fenland lore and history, as well as by vignettes of the plantsman’s trials and tribulations as he works an exceptionally demanding plot of land. Above all, this is the story of bringing something beautiful into being; of embedding a garden in the local landscape; and thereby of deepening and broadening the idea of home.
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