Kilkenny author, Shirley Lanigan whose book, The Open Gardens of Ireland has gone into a second print run
The hugely successful Open Gardens of Ireland by local author and Kilkenny People gardening columnist, Shirley Lanigan has gone into its second print run.
This follows the phenomenal success of the book published by Kilkenny company, Butterslip Press - It has already sold over 5,000 copies.
Tantalising was the word that Gerry Daly used to describe Open Gardens of Ireland, when he launched it in Dublin’s Hodges Figgis bookshop last year.
Gerry, the godfather of Irish gardening, said it was amazing that Shirley had visited the 427 gardens over two years which are included in the 400 page book.
“As I read piece after piece, it was as if there was a phantom gardener with her,” he said. “She described what was in front of her. It is her descriptive powers, always with the reader in mind, that stand out; it’s as if she had a garden lover by her side.
Gerry said it was a hugely important book, a snapshot of the gardens in time. He highlighted that in years to come, the garden owners could look at what they achieved through this book.
He added that it would be used for generations to come by gardeners and that it would also help facilitate the growing number of gardening tourists, searching for places to visit in Ireland.
To write the book she spent two years criss-crossing the island, visiting every garden she could find that opens its doors to the public.
These include postage stamp town gardens and huge historic demesnes, roof gardens and island gardens.
As she travelled she was chased by swans and swarms of bees. She learned how to mind orphaned baby birds, barn owls and terrapins. She met herds of swimming cattle and work parties of pigs, people building follies and repairing miniature castles.
She spent long hours entertaining Dutch hitchhikers and got marooned and surrounded by Loyalist parades and herded by sheep dogs around the roads of Cork.
She found 427 gardens and met 427 owners and gardeners. As she did with her last two books, she has promised never to do it again!
Shirley lives in Kilkenny, is married to a committed non-gardener but thinks that one of their two children might possibly have been hit with the bug.