Author(s): Antony Woodward
Winner of the National Trust Outdoor Book of the Year 2011The story 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. The son of two passionate gardeners, Antony Woodward was born with chlorophyll running through his veins. Unfortunately, growing up with Latin plant names took its toll, and he was ingrained early on with a profound loathing of both gardens and gardening. Buying Tair-ffynnon, a derelict smallholding 1,300 feet up in the Black Mountains of Wales, changed everything. Hooked by its beauty - when not buried in cloud - Woodward battles to meet the strict requirements of the famous 'Yellow Book' in this unlikely terrain. He finds himself driven by apparently inexplicable compulsions: wood chopping, hauling a 20-tonne railway carriage up a mountain, even beekeeping. Soon, his voyage along the rocky path to his own patch of paradise takes on a more personal tenor as he unearths the deep roots linking gardening and his childhood in this warm, funny and unlikely memoir. Beautifully written and effortlessly engaging, 'The Garden in the Clouds' is a compelling read for anyone who has ever gardened - or ever dreamt of doing so.
'Woodward's tongue-in-cheek account of finding, making and growing his own little patch of heaven is right on the button, as is his nostalgic, romantic, down-to-earth attitude of make do, mend, maintain and modernise, making a life worth living and a garden worth showing right here at home in the mud' The Times
'Very few people are brave enough to live a realisable dream and then to write about it in such a way that readers feel deep laughter and admiration! Anthony Woodward, once an award winning advertising copywriter and 'Country Life' columnist, has done just that! an energetic tale of an innocent abroad' - Country Life
'His progress is told with side-splitting brilliance that only a truly gifted writer can achieve! not one dull page - his lovely epilogue is up there with Proust as a shimmering example of classic remembrance of things past' - Daily Mail
'I set out determined to dislike the book, and I completely failed to do so. There can be no higher praise than that! I read it in one sitting, at first from malice, then for enjoyment' -Byron Rogers, Spectator
'Hilarious! uplifting! The Garden in the Clouds is much more than a horticultural tale. It is testimony to what can be achieved with a dash of imagination and a very British refusal to admit defeat' - Sara Wheeler, Mail on Sunday
Antony Woodward studied Art History at Oxford University and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has produced documentaries for the BBC and ITV, written for the Independent on Sunday, Sunday Times, Time Out and Independent. His first book, Propellerhead, made it onto several bestseller lists.