Pandemic-And-Published: First Anniversary of Diary of a Modern Country Gardener
On Valentine’s Day, our brilliant author, Tamsin Westhorpe celebrated the one year anniversary of her book, Diary of a Modern Country Gardener. We at Orphans are extremely proud of this book, with its thoughtful content, beautiful designs and inspiring gardening tips. A book bursting with enthusiasm and energy for the outdoors and that doesn’t scare people about getting their hands dirty. Despite the lockdown that swiftly followed the launch of the book, Diary of a Modern Country Gardener has given people a funny, comforting and practical insight into her life as a gardener. Here is what Tamsin has to say, one year on…
You don’t need me to tell you that this has been a turbulent year. What a time to publish a book. I had high hopes of travelling around the country with a boot full of books to sell at gardening events. That was not to be, but the pandemic didn’t prevent Diary of Modern Country Gardener from bringing laughter and practical gardening advice to thousands of readers. It seems that it has given people hope at this strange time, revived memories of their childhood and encouraged people to garden all year round. My diary was written in real time from the potting bench starting in February when I believe the growing season begins. It’s a happy mix of gardening advice, entertaining stories, and includes the passing of time in a rural setting. I feel very attached to it and often pick up a copy and give it a hug! The week before it went to press, I didn’t sleep. My mind was racing with concerns – would readers be entertained by my Bridget Jones style storytelling; would they really want to know how may pairs of tights I wear in winter or how many rungs up a ladder I need to climb to get mobile phone network in the garden? My quest was to write a gardening book with complete honesty, but this made the run up to the launch even more nerve racking. I had shared far more about my life in the pages than most other authors would dare to do.
‘Punctuated by tips, tasks and techniques and peppered with outdoorsy insights, this book deserves a place on every gardener’s bedside table.’Helen Yemm, November 2020, The Telegraph
After a glittering launch at Hatchard’s in London on February 20th my sleep pattern improved. Joining me at this event were the great and the good of the gardening world and their comments about the book were incredibly confidence boosting and generous. It seemed that my book was ‘different’ but in a refreshing way. I will always remember this evening and will never recover from walking towards this famous book shop and seeing a poster promoting my launch in a gold frame positioned just outside the door. This poster now hangs in my study. The muddy, down to earth stories of a country gardener had hit the glittering streets of London and this was to be one of my last outings before lockdown.
The next adventure for me and my book were the reviews. When I started to write the book, I had no idea that its first year would be such an emotional roller coaster. The first review was in the Daily Mail. I headed to my local newsagent with trepidation. Much to my surprise the book had been given a full spread and was the newspaper’s book of the week. The picture of me was almost as big as the one of the Duchess of Sussex on the cover! The writer Constance Craig Smith wrote, ‘As well as a diary of the garden, this book is a love letter to rural Herefordshire’.
‘As well as a diary of the garden, this book is a love letter to rural Herefordshire’.Constance Craig Smith
Many more reviews were to follow in the RHS The Garden magazine, The English Garden, Garden News and Gardens Illustrated. Later in the year, two of my gardening icons were to give me the biggest compliment by featuring my book in their columns. Anna Pavord (THE Anna Pavord) wrote in The Sunday Times, ‘Diary of a Modern Country Gardeners was a welcome arrival this year. It’s a self-deprecating and practical account by the former editor of The English Garden magazine.’ She had chosen my diary as one of her four all-time favourite gardening diaries. Helen Yemm of The Telegraph said, ‘Punctuated by tips, tasks and techniques and peppered with outdoorsy insights, this book deserves a place on every gardener’s bedside table.’
However, the best reviews have been those from readers. Only last week a complete stranger got in touch to say that my book had kept her entertained over a Christmas that she spent alone. It has been read by frontline nurses on their breaks and people who have never gardened before and now do. What better reward for an author can there be than that?
‘Diary of a Modern Country Gardeners was a welcome arrival this year. It’s a self-deprecating and practical account by the former editor of The English Garden magazine.’Anna Pavord, The Sunday Times