A coffee-table topper that explores the unexpected gardens of Corfu and will leave you yearning for your own island retreat.
Reading Rachel Weaving’s book on Corfu gardens in a cold British spring is a marvellously cruel experience. The author is a late convert to the island, but spends much of her time there now creating her own Corfiot garden, and this book is her love letter to her adopted home. Her descriptions and Marianne Majerus’s images transport you instantly to lush, rocky hillsides bathed in Mediterranean sunlight, and a selection of gardens, both old and recently created.
Designer Mary Keen has long been in thrall to the magic of Corfu and explains why in her succinct preface, before Weaving provides a brief introduction to the garden heritage and culture of the island. There is also an explanation of the local soil, topography and climate.
The first set of gardens are of heritage properties, the historic country estates and manor houses of once-wealthy families. Here the rustic off-red walls and mature trees give a romantic air, but it is the views that steal the show.
The chapter on contemporary gardens highlights some of the recent superstars of modern Mediterranean garden design, including Alithea Johns, Jennifer Gay and Thomas Doxiadis – many of whom use local plants and naturalistic effects borrowed from the surrounding landscape to create sustainable gardens.
Weaving finishes with a look at the wider landscapes and plants of the island, including information on the beautiful wildflowers that colonise it each spring. The overall effect is that you develop a bad habit of regularly checking for flights online, in the hope that as soon as possible you will find yourself sitting under one of the beautiful pergolas she features, draped in blooming wisteria.
GARDENS OF CORFU by Rachel Weaving Photographs by Marianne Majerus Impress Publishing, £49.95 ISBN 978-1999782511