Green and Pleasant Land: How England's Gardeners Fought the Second World War

Author(s): Ursula Buchan


War is the normal occupation of man - war and gardening' Winston Churchill. A Green and Pleasant Land tells the intriguing and inspiring story of how Britain's wartime government encouraged and cajoled its citizens to grow their own fruit and vegetables. As the Second World War began in earnest and a whole nation listened to wireless broadcasts, dug holes for Anderson shelters, counted their coupons and made do and mended, so too were they instructed to 'Dig for Victory'. Ordinary people, as well as gardening experts, rose to the challenge: gardens, scrubland, allotments and even public parks were soon helping to feed a nation deprived of fresh produce. As Ursula Buchan reveals, this practical contribution to the Home Front was tackled with thrifty ingenuity, grumbling humour and extraordinary fortitude. The simple act of turning over soil and tending new plants became important psychologically for a population under constant threat of bombing and even invasion. Gardening reminded people that their country and its more innocent and insular pursuits were worth fighting for. Gardening in wartime Britain was a part of the fight for freedom.


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The wonderfully evocative story of how Britain's World War Two gardeners - with great ingenuity, invincible good humour and extraordinary fortitude - dug for victory on home turf.

"[An] engaging history... All sorts of people found solace in creating small regions of abundance and fertility, a counter to the annihilating wastefulness of war." -- Olivia Laing Observer "This fascinating book is rather like an extremely rich fruit cake, densely packed with all sorts of ingredients. It's tempting to pick through it and extract your favourite bits, but eventually you realise that eating the entire thing is actually more satisfying... An immensely rewarding read." BBC Countryfile "Fascinating ... [Buchan's] narrative, together with a collection of well-researched first-hand accounts, takes us on a journey that starts with 1930s Britain (where gardens and allotments had little significance in everyday life), through the war years that encouraged every citizen to grow their own and provide for their families. It ends with what happened in the desperate post-war years that saw potatoes and bread being rationed. An absorbing read." English Garden

Ursula Buchan studied modern history at Cambridge University, before training as a horticulturist at the RHS Gardens, Wisley and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. She wrote a gardening column for a succession of national newspapers, including the Observer, Sunday Telegraph and Daily Telegraph, as well as The Spectator, for more than twenty-five years. Shehas published fifteen books and won two major writing awards from the Garden Media Guild. She was recently awarded the Garden Media Guild's Gardening Columnist of the Year 2011.

General Fields

  • : 9780091944155
  • : Cornerstone
  • : Hutchinson
  • : 0.621
  • : February 2013
  • : 240mm X 161mm X 31mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Ursula Buchan
  • : Hardback
  • : 940.5341
  • : 320