Good Garden Reads: Hortus November 07, 2016 19:16

Hortus Garden Journal - Autumn 2016Out of sight, far away from the world of emojis, 140 characters and 'always on', sits a small, beautifully presented garden journal. Thanks to the fantastic Magalleria (an inspiring magazine shop in Bath that operates a fab online service), the Autumn edition of Hortus arrived last week. And I was scared. 

The trouble is, I've become used to receiving bitesize pieces of information. I can't remember the last time I've read a non-fiction book without the reassurance of a shed load of beautiful images. Let alone a 'magazine'. This quaint looking publication terrified the life out of me. Not one colour image other than the front and back cover. No adverts. No 'quick run down' of the contents on the cover. Gulp. I feared plenty of unpronounceable latin, a good dose of unfathomable 'in-jokes' and a whiff of distain at my gardening attempts. Then I got ahold of myself and decided the best course of action was to pick a quiet, Sunday evening and just dive in... 

To me, the best gardens whisper stories to their visitors. They lure you in, present 'scenes' which fill the senses and engage your childlike curiosity. They calm you. Or excite you. They allow you to quieten for a while and enjoy a few minutes alone with the bugs and beasties. Hortus mirrors those feelings and invites you to get reacquainted with your imagination. It is storytelling at it's very best; conjuring up images of the gardens in Marrakesh or the early fruit and flower harvests enjoyed in the sheltered, hidden spots of Cornwall, away from the tourist traps and meandering A388. 

Hortus feels like a journal from another time. And yet it is current and for that I am extremely grateful. It presents a beautiful, unique view of our world - a world that is so easy to overlook or feel is somehow lost. Instead, Hortus gently shakes you into seeing the world through the eyes of its editor and contributors and guides you through this enchanting journey with a series of essays, notes and exquisite writing. 

Amid the deafening whirl of information that surrounds us, Hortus quietly imparts wisdom. It comes wrapped up in stories, presented in just 112 pages, delivered four times a year. If you are looking to subscribe to a truly unique garden read, Hortus is it. And it is best savoured slowly, just before lights out.