18 November 2015
A book and a meadow
You can view a full gallery of images by clicking here.
When we finally decided on the cover for my new book, The Gardens of Arne Maynard, we chose an image of the meadow with beech topiary at Haddon Hall because it seemed to capture the essence of what I try to achieve in gardens. When it came to planning the launch of the book, I wanted there to be something of this atmosphere at the party as well, in fact a meadow of some sort and topiary too!
So a 'meadow' was conjured to hang upside down in the glass roof of a London mews studio that we were so kindly loaned by my friend and client. It was a meadow of grasses from Wales (19,000 individually hand cut grasses that is), peppered with angelica and meadowsweet from Allt-y-bela and wonderful dahlias, asters, Echinacea purpurea and fennel from Shropshire (with thanks to Tammy Hall from wildbunchflowersfromthegarden.co.uk).
We worked with the remarkable artist Rebecca Louise Law, whose brilliant floral installation I had seen at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. She interpreted my vision for this event in a way that surprised and delighted me and the effect was of a hanging meadow, dipping and soaring in drifts around the roof space and then swooping dramatically down at one end nearly touching the floor. The flowers flowed through the grasses in groups of colour and type that merged or were held apart, (like the asters at the centre), adding a sense of rhythm and surprise as you walked beneath, gazing upwards, seeing the full head of the flowers as we rarely can in a border.
Whilst Rebecca calmly hung one bunch or flower stalk at a time, her team and mine curled copper wire around the thousands of grasses and flowers, and positioned topiary in vast geometric oak planters made by the craftsmen on the Haddon Hall estate. By the time Lottie Muir arrived to set up her bar, serving 'botanical cocktails', and friends and colleagues arrived to celebrate, the atmosphere was a very good one indeed.
This book evolved over three years, and to finally see it in print has been a real thrill. It is now two months since its publication by Hugh Merrell in the UK and I have been overwhelmed by the reception it has received. Wonderful reviews have appeared and I have been humbled by the comments I have had from clients and from those who have bought and enjoyed it.
Since the UK launch I have given talks in LA and San Francisco to help introduce the book to readers in the States and have further lectures planned at the beautiful Marders Nursery in East Hampton over the Thanksgiving weekend this month.
I am so delighted that readers are enjoying the book and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I hope you enjoy these photographs taken at our UK book launch in September, and as the nights draw in, dream a little and remember the delight of a real meadow, or one created for one special night in the city.
To view a full gallery of images from this event, please click here.
Words: Arne Maynard
Photographs: Britt Willoughby Dyer
To order a signed copy of Arne's book, gift-wrapped with a limited edition bookmark, visit our book page here.
It is also available via a number of independent and online bookshops including:
Potterton Books, Chelsea (where Arne will be signing books on 1 December from 6.30pm)
John Sandoe Books, Chelsea
Heywood Hill bookshop, Mayfair
Daunt Books, London
Topping and Company Books, Bath, Ely and St. Andrews
The Art Shop, Abergavenny
Hauser & Wirth, Somerset
RHS Wisley shop, Surrey
RHS Harlow Carr shop, Harrogate
W H Smith, nationwide
The Book People, online
The Book Depository, online