Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Book Review: Sweet peas for Summer

Zia and I went to Laetitia Maklouf's book launch on Monday night at Clifton Nursery in Maida Vale. Her book editor Katie Bond tottered on a bench in gold leather dancing shoes talking about "the best discovery of her life". Admiring the plants at a house party, Katie found out they were grown by Laetitia: "Could you write a book on gardening?" she asked.
Turns out the answer is a resounding yes. Sweet Peas for Summer is the story of the creation of a garden in one year. The book is beautifully designed and is approachable for beginners. There are great ideas such as Petunia bombs, growing Santolina to combat moths, making movable herb boxes . Along with the dirty fingernails and the inevitable creepy crawlies, Laetitia bestows glamour on gardening. This is a gardening book for the stylish. (All you proper gardening types, I have to confess, I have a deep horror of slugs, worms and snails, it's taken me years to learn not to shriek when I come across one. I'm not kidding. Every gardening hour you'd hear me screeching and hopping. Far from the peaceful idyll one imagines gardening to be, chez moi it was a tortuous scream fest. I'm better now.).
Sweet Peas for Summer is just my kind of gardening book. In fact I'd quite like to be Laetitia herself; she is beautiful, her husband is steal-worthy, her child is kidnappable, her linen drawer is incredibly organised and her house is no doubt gorgeous. Even her dad is covetable. He spent the launch impishly showering chocolate gold coins into women's handbags. He's an artist, he sculpted the bas-relief of the Queen's head on the pound coin and designed the Gibraltan currency.
As a cook, I loved the recipe for lilac jelly. I have a beautiful lilac tree in my garden and it's just starting to shoot. This book is inspirational.
Lilac buds in my garden

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