This is an exquisitely written book about one particular English garden—and in the manner of a medieval book of hours, about the arc of life itself—from one of England's most eloquent and astute garden writers. More than 20 years ago, former Times garden columnist Katherine Swift and her husband leased Morville, a house in Shropshire with a garden that became her passion. Here she takes readers on a journey back in time, linking the stories of those who once lived in the house, tending the same red soil, with her family's own saga, at the same time evoking the change of seasons and the self-discovery of finding one's place in the world and putting down roots.
"A magical book. I have read it twice now. I love the richness of Katherine Swift's prose; the flashes of her family's story that are scattered through the deliciously written text; the gorgeous detail. The Morville Hours is the most beautiful book I have read in years."—Nigel Slater
"A truly remarkable book that is both intimate and universal. We are left with a renewed sense of what it is to be human, and of how we make our place in a world that is intricate, unpredictable and filled with quotidian mysteries."—Daily Telegraph (London)
"Taking possession of Morville, a centuries-old Shropshire estate, Swift had to prove to England's National Trust that she was equal to the task of restoring the massive gardens to a state that would both honor their venerable history and reflect their natural beauty. In truth, there was no one more capable of acknowledging a heritage that included gentry and clergy, royalty and paupers. A born naturalist with a keen eye, Swift delved into the property's past with the emotional sensitivity of a poet and the solemn tenacity of a historical scholar. Season by season, Swift chronicles the changes she envisioned and accomplished, using the monastic Book of Hours as both her guide and touchstone. Though her reflections might begin with the memory of a moonlight stroll down a snow-covered path, Swift is quick to position these personal revelations within the timeless context of Morville's ancestry. With rhapsodic eloquence and passionate devotion, Swift imparts the rewards and discoveries inherent in such a multifaceted commitment to time and place."—Booklist