Monk’s House in Sussex is the former home of Leonard and Virginia Woolf. It was bought by them in 1919 as a country retreat, somewhere they came to read, write and work in the garden. From the overgrown land behind the house they created a brilliant patchwork of garden rooms, linked by brick paths, secluded behind flint walls and yew hedges. The story of this magical garden is the subject of this book and the author has selected quotations from the writings of the Woolfs which reveal how important a role the garden played in their lives, as a source of both pleasure and inspiration. Virginia wrote most of her major novels at Monk’s House, at first in a converted tool shed, and later in her purpose-built wooden writing lodge tucked into a corner of the orchard.Â
Caroline Zoob lived with her husband, Jonathan, at Monk’s House for over a decade as tenants of the National Trust, and has an intimate knowledge of the garden they tended and planted. The photographer, Caroline Arber, was a frequent visitor to the house during their tenancy and her spectacular photographs, published here for the first time, often reveal the garden as it is never seen by the public: at dawn, in the depths of winter, at dusk. The photographs and text, enriched with rare archive images and embroidered garden plans, take the reader on a journey through the various garden ?rooms’, (including the Italian Garden, the Fishpond Garden, the Millstone Terrace and the Walled Garden). Each garden room is presented in the context of the lives of the Woolfs, with fascinating glimpses into their daily routines at Rodmell.Â
This beautiful book is an absorbing account of the creation of a garden which will appeal equally to gardeners and those with an interest in Virginia and Leonard Woolf.