Up The Garden Path: The Sublime Delights of Garden Plans & Pictures

Dear Laura,

I have loved your work ever since I bought Up The Garden Path when it was first released. In fact, on a recent business trip to New York, I found several 'vintage' copies of it at The Strand, and bought all six for gifts. They still look as beautiful, even with a little wear and tear. Perhaps even more so.

I''m writing to ask whether you still consider commissions? Even very small ones?

A group of us are going on a tour of English gardens next May, loosely dubbed 'The Flowers, Frocks and Horticultural Fantasies Tour', which is being designed as a sort of a Monty Don-esque adventure of haute horticulture. Only with better shoes.

I would love it if you would consider illustrating our logo? These garden tours are only just beginning, but we're trying to create a really lovely, rather magical company that inspires and delights people, and I'd really love the branding to reflect that. Your work is so enchanting that we'd love whatever you did, whether it was a small garden plan or simply a bosquet of your beautiful trees.

Of course, if you're too busy, I will certainly understand.
Many thanks for considering this email, and all the very best of luck for the new book.

Kind regards,
Janelle McCulloch

A month ago, I wrote to the bestselling writer and illustrator Laura Stoddart. (Samples above.) A part of me never thought she would reply. This was, after all, Laura Stoddart; one of the best garden illustrators in the UK, if not the world! She'd designed stationery for Kate Spade, stamps for The Royal Mail, pages for Vogue Entertaining, and books for Orion. Her whimsical, enchanting designs of formal topiary, Edwardian frivolities, dainty figures reclining on chaise longues and Versailles-style bosquets with green-tweeded gentlemen strolling through were as identifiable as, well, Versailles itself.

Then I received an email. Yes, she'd be happy to do the commission, she said generously. (Although she also admitted she was incredibly busy, so I won't hold her to it.) She loved Australia, she added –  her husband was half-Australian – and could even recommend gardens for us to visit.

It just goes to show. Gardeners are incredibly kind people, aren't they?

So I would like to introduce you to the work of Miss Laura Stoddart, Illustrator Extraordinaire. I also wanted to post some other whimsical gardenalia (below) that is a little Stoddart in style.

Just something lovely to enjoy for the glorious weekend ahead.

{Up The Garden Path: A Little Anthology and Off The Beaten Track are just two of Laura Stoddart's books, both published by Orion. Laura is also working on a compilation of her illustrations for a new book, due out soon. www.laurastoddart.com}

Garden Mania: The Ardent Gardener's Compendium of Design
By Philip De Bay and James Bolton, with Monty Don (Thames & Hudson)
Bought this book last month for a few pounds at a second-hand bookshop near Gloucester Road. Love it. Can't get enough of its beautiful garden drawings and vintage illustrations.

Vintage Printables
A wonderful site where you can find all sorts of copyright-free vintage illustrations (most are so old they're out of copyright: we're talking centuries old). They're lovely for browsing through and great if you're looking for garden inspiration of any kind, particularly for parterres. Link here

Brecy, France
Has anyone else seen Carolyn Roehm's blog? She has the BEST blog! {carolynroehm.com} Her photographs are superb. And her gardening skills are even better. (Try and find the post of how she transformed her conservatory into a dining room. Very fashionable now: Bunny Williams did it too.) It was here she recommended Brecy gardens in France (above), and what a find that place was. It's like something out of Laura Stoddart card...

This may look like a quirky illustration but it's actually an aerial view of Versailles. 
Fascinating, isn't it? {I have the credit somewhere, but there are a few aerials so want to be sure I have the right source.}

More gardens next week. Don't want to bore non-garden lovers with too much scenery...

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