Digging Up Paradise was launched in June at a wonderful event at Gardener and Cook in Tunbridge Wells. There were cakes with edible flowers, wine, and, of course, Sarah Salway’s wonderful books. Thanks are due to Gaynor Edwards for organising the event. We donated £4 from every book sold to a new charity, Spotlight YOPD, which is working to highlight Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease. £250 was raised on the evening.
Copies of Digging Up Paradise are on sale at Gardener and Cook, The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells, as well as via this website. £12 plus p&p. Postage is free when you order two or more of any of our titles.
Readers of Gardens Illustrated are eligible for a discount on Digging Up Paradise. Annie Gatti reviews the book in the August issue; the discount code is available at the end of the review.
Time and again she re-imagines the gardeners and owners of old, and her touch is so light that your are there with her, seeing Darwin’s children creeping out to pinch one of the pebbles their father put down to keep count of the laps he would habitually do, through his ‘thinking path’ in the copse at Down House.
Sarah Salway is interviewed on the History Magpie blog.
On your blog, you say that you discovered stories that surprised you and made you laugh and cry – do you have a favourite?
For another project I’ve been doing a lot of research on WW1 soldiers, so I was particularly moved by the Belgian soldiers who ended up at Quex House and Gardens. I could really understand how working in the garden must have helped their recovery, it must have felt like a green tranquil paradise after the battlefields and also perhaps a useful gap between their experiences in the war and returning home. The story of one soldier stayed with me. He didn’t say a word during the two years he was at Quex (although he seemed happy there) but started talking again the minute he set foot back on Belgian soil. But there were so many. I think my favourite discovery was the crocus circle at Canterbury Cathedral that was the exact spot where the rose window would be if the tower fell. My favourite mystery has to be whether there were elephants at lovely Chilham Castle!
Sarah Salway will be reading from Digging Up Paradise at the Jolly Sailor, Northgate, Canterbury at 6.30 pm on 10 August. This is a Cultured Llama double-header, as Gordon Meade will also be reading poems from Sounds of the Real World. Both are the guests of Save As Writers.