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Country Gardens, Country Hospitality – Review and Giveaway

 Country Gardens, Country Hospitality
This book made me feel like I was traveling with the author around the 27 lovely properties she visits across Australia. Her writing evoked images of an open wooden back door, with the wire screen door banging in the wind as you walk up the path.  There is no need to knock, just give a little shout out, walk in and sit at the kitchen table.
I was really excited to receive a copy of Country Gardens, Country Hospitality by Holly Kerr Forsyth. A focus on gardens and recipes – a great match! Holly is the author of 11 books on gardening and has been writing about gardens for more than two decades.
As well as being beautifully photographed the book provides a lovely insight into country hospitality. The stories are as much about the food as the garden and history of the home. One of the highlights for me was a look at the garden that supports the renown kitchen of The Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, Victoria.
Each of the properties visited contributed one or more recipes to the book
Most of the recipes in the book are centered around produce that is grown on the property of the family who provided the recipe. Many of them have been passed down through the family, and have been present at happy family events and milestones. 
I was trying to find my favourite garden in the book but I couldn’t choose! The pictures of Glenmore House in NSW left me wanting to see more. The owner Mickey Robertson, is quoted in the book as saying her garden is “not a manicured garden….It has come about through no grand design….it has grown out of a romantic notion”
Many of the books images are easily identifiable as Australian. Most of the gardens are very large, many are beautifully manicured. This type of garden is balanced out by images of properties showing bare red dirt and long grass and weeds.  
It is a lovely book to pour over, the stories are engaging and the recipes make it a practical inclusion on the book shelf or coffee table. I have tagged the recipes for Caramelised Fennel Tart and the Almond Honey Slice to try.
I have a copy of the book to give to one lucky reader. Would you like to read it yourself? Or win it to give to a loved one for Christmas? 
Enter to win one copy of Country Gardens, Country Hospitality: NOW CLOSED. Thank you for your wonderful entries. I will notify the winner soon.
If you like the sound of the book and you don’t win you can buy it here.
To enter tell me in the comments below:  If you could plant just one thing in your garden what would it be and why?
If you like reading my blog, I would love you to sign up to my free newsletters via the form at the top of the page in the right hand column. You can also follow A Fresh Legacy on Facebook
Entry Information:
  • To enter you must leave a comment below and answer the question.
  • I will select the winning entry that is based on the answer I like most
  • Country Garden, Country Hospitality is valued at $49.95
  • Country Garden, Country Hospitality is published by The Miegunyah Press, an imprint of Melbourne University Publishing.
  • Entry is open from 9/11/2012 until Tuesday 13/11/12 5pm AEST to Australian Residents.
  • The winner will be notified via email and via Facebook.
*Disclosure: I was given a copy of Country Gardens, Country Hospitality to review for this post, and the publisher will forward a copy of the book to the reader I select as the winner.
* Photographs are copyright Holly Kerr Forsyth
Please do tell me also – are you interested in reading more (garden and/or cook) book reviews here? 
A Fresh Legacy
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{ 40 comments… add one }
  • Judy November 9, 2012, 10:47 am

    Gee, Kyrstie, you’re asking a tough question. Just one plant? Impossible!

    But my pick would be parsley – it grows well in a variety of conditions, can be used as a garnish and a food, has great nutritional benefits and I love its lush, green foilage. And if I had to narrow it down to just one type, I’d choose Italian or flat-leaf parsley – hardy, prolific and delicious!

    I love reading book reviews, especially cookbook and gardening books.

  • Gillian Wilson November 9, 2012, 11:51 am

    everything and anything… have serious problem with ‘darstedly wabbits’!! even considered electric fencing!!!.. but at least someone is benefitting from my efforts. but, seriously would love coriander love the flavour in so many dishes.
    but then again… maybe the ‘money tree’ have never been able to grow it, and dont know anyone that has!!.. now i am really fantasising.

  • Jane @ Shady Baker November 9, 2012, 12:50 pm

    Hi Kyrstie, firstly, thank you for calling in to my blog! Secondly, it was lovely to meet you at EDB. I have been thinking wouldn’t it be nice if we could establish stronger friendships in real life. I met so many lovely people on the weekend! I guess through blogging we can create that online community and hope to meet again IRL one day!

    I am really pleased you reviewed this book; I have been considering it as a Christmas present for family members. At the risk of name dropping I met Holly at a local cafe just before she released this book. She asked me to email her photos of my garden and we discussed gardens. I hope one day to hear from her again!

    I would love to plant a lemon tree…just because every cook needs lemons….right? I have had difficulty with lemon trees in the past! Sorry for the long comment 🙂

  • Alanna November 9, 2012, 1:20 pm

    fruit trees – start with apple, peach,pear, citrus, and then want to try something more unusual. For lovely blossoms, shade, and a wonderful crop (to eat fresh and preserve). Our 1/2 acre block was bare when we built our house, and I really miss having lovely trees….we just planted our first 2 apples

    And yes, I love cooking and gardening books…so happy for more reviews…

  • Africanaussie November 9, 2012, 4:36 pm

    Oh I would plant a Poinciana tree – I just love the shape of the trunk and the branches during our dry season and then in the summer the tree is filled with impossibly beautiful red blossoms – so many that the few leaves that remain are insignificant. It is a tree that shouts – “look at me, look at me” That sounds like an awesome book – there are so many places I still want to visit in Australia and maybe starting with a list of gardens I want to see is a good place to make my list. How clever too, to include recipes from the gardens featured. Yes I love to read reviews of cooking and gardening books.

  • Abby L November 9, 2012, 11:19 pm

    An olive tree as I’d love to be able to grow by own olives!

  • Heather November 9, 2012, 11:33 pm

    A lilac bush. Nature’s perfection.

  • Michelle V November 10, 2012, 7:40 am

    If I could plant just one thing in my yard
    It would be bananas, but it might be hard
    Living in Melbourne, the weather’s not great
    But it’d be for my banana-mad daughter, who is aged 8
    I also have two others, aged 5 and two
    And even they love banana’s, yes it’s true!
    It must be because they make their bodies sing
    It’s always on the list when I go grocery shopping
    I’m not sure If I’d succeed at my banana dream
    But winning this book would sure make me scream! 🙂

  • Jacqui November 10, 2012, 8:49 am

    A lemon tree , as I grew up in the era when having your own vegetable garden,fruit trees and chickens was the norm even in suburban Sydney where I lived as a child. My Nana used lemons for medicinal purposes ,to flavour cakes,tarts and desserts and cups of tea and wedges were included with all fish dishes.So it’s the versatility of the lemon that attracts me!

  • mumma_ox November 10, 2012, 1:58 pm

    Oh what a lovely gift this would make for my Mum 🙂

    I think if I was limited to just one thing I would pick a mulberry tree…stained purple fingers and bodies galore!

  • Elizabeth Guenter November 10, 2012, 5:36 pm

    A Poinciana Tree. We had a huge one on our childhood home ( which developers cut down when Dad sold it.) Dad kept some seeds and planted one if it’s babies when he built his house on the farm. He would sit and watch his Grandkids climb and play under it for hours. He had passed away now and we’ve had to sell the farm so we are clearing it out next weekend. I would love to plant a third generation of that tree that has been part of my life for 40 years.

  • Kath Sheeran November 10, 2012, 6:26 pm

    Hard but I would choose a weeping willow tree so I can watch it grow with my children and future generations of our family can sit under it and have picnics and create memories!!

  • Lizzy (Good Things) November 10, 2012, 6:32 pm

    Hi there… I would plant a Meyer lemon. We are growing a lemon and a lime in pots, as we have no space to plant any trees.

  • Mick November 10, 2012, 8:43 pm

    I’ve always wanted to have a purple wisteria growing in the yard on an arched walkway as they look and smell divine

  • Karlene November 10, 2012, 11:48 pm

    A big mango tree. Like the one that grows proudly at the back of our block it would provide fruit, shade, fun for the kids, and be something to gaze at to instantly feel more relaxed.

  • Tory November 11, 2012, 9:41 am

    I already have a variety of citrus, tropical fruit and herbs. There are two things that I would love to plant and have grow properly in my yard. The first being a Fruete Avocado. To my mind these are the best avocados in the world and I can very rarely find any in shops. The second would be a berry patch. Berries are the perfect treat and never taste better than when they have been freshly picked and eaten.

  • Glenda McDonnell November 11, 2012, 10:13 am

    My Dad had the most amazing garden, people said he started with nothing and made it into a little touch of heaven on earth, but I know his secret ingredient … love, so if I could plant just one thing in my garden it would be a little of that love, he handed down to me….I’m still hoping to inherit his green thumb too 🙂

  • Dee November 11, 2012, 10:25 am

    Parsley, nothing nicer in home cooked meals than fresh parsley.

  • Diana O November 11, 2012, 10:27 am

    Gardenia’s. They smell so beautiful, it’d be wonderful to open a window or a door and have that wonderful scent permeate my home.

  • Ernie November 11, 2012, 10:28 am

    A Lilac tree. Beautiful when in bloom, and associated with so many happy memories. Whenever I see one I’m always taken back to my carefree childhood days.

  • Joanne Williams November 11, 2012, 10:40 am

    I would plant an orchard! (Why not think big?) How wonderful to have an array of fresh organic fruit on hand, cutting down the grocery bill and increasing health and vitality.

  • Melissa Wilkes November 11, 2012, 1:20 pm

    Agapantha’s the bane of many the joy of mine… forever green with an occasional flower, strong and hardy pretty and perfect.

  • Wendy Daniels November 11, 2012, 2:04 pm

    A MONEY TREE so I could be rich enough to buy a farm

  • Jacky November 11, 2012, 2:15 pm

    A mango tree, my favourite fruit – imagine picking them fresh from the garden. Last year I stayed in a hotel unit which had one in the courtyard & collecting a mango for breakfast each morning was a highlight of the holiday.

  • zrinky November 11, 2012, 5:38 pm

    I’d have to say I’d plant some “love” as all my dishes require a touch of love to turn out just right

  • Charlotte November 11, 2012, 6:39 pm

    Lavender bushes because they always look so gloriously pretty when they’re in flower, they wouldn’t grow out of control and their gentle sweet scent would waft over my garden and lightly scent my laundry as it hung to dry in the yard.

  • Renee Ballantyne November 11, 2012, 9:15 pm

    Cherry blossom trees as i love their pink colour and they are beautiful all year round even when they are twiglike they still have character

  • Lea November 12, 2012, 7:28 am

    Lemon tree, beautiful shape, perfect size
    a tree that keeps on giving
    in looks and in the fruit it gives
    hardy and strong, a must for everyone

  • Heather November 12, 2012, 11:43 am

    I have planted and enjoy roses, poppies, pansies, foxgloves, nemesia, daylillies, liliums. lilies, lilac, allysum, violets, lavender, geraniums, agapanthus, english box, bottlebrushes and more as well as lemon, orange mandarin, apple, peach, nectarine, and plum fruit trees,. Also potatoes, lettuce pumkins, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes in my vegie patch, also silver birch, pine and gum trees.
    BBUUTT if I could plant only ONE THING it would be a GUM TREE.
    When we came here 25yrs ago and there was not even one thing on this bare block I couldn’t wait to plant a tree. Adds height, brought in shade and birds wonderful to look at, is drought tolerant. Yes, EVERYDAY I enjoy the beauty of A TREE!!!

  • Cherie Davis November 12, 2012, 5:06 pm

    the most beautiful white rose to remember my pop

  • Faysie November 12, 2012, 6:11 pm

    A large Oak tree…
    with a swing for my grandchildren and me…
    To sit and talk in
    As we enjoy our afternoon tea.

  • sonia November 12, 2012, 7:01 pm

    Weeping Cherry Tree: they have no purpose, they cannot be used in cooking, making tea, ointments, but just go through the seasons ever changing.

  • Val November 12, 2012, 7:39 pm

    Nasturtiums because when I was young, I read a book about wonderful red and yellow nasturtiums that shone so brightly in the sun that the fire brigade were called to put out the supposed fire. Nasturtiums are also very hardy, edible, pretty and hard to kill!

  • Kirsten W November 12, 2012, 10:13 pm

    I read everyone elses serious answers and all I can do is cringe (at myself) as the first thing that came to mind when I read the question “if you could plant just one thing in your garden what would it be and why?”, all I could think of was chocolate! I would love to have a chocolate tree in my garden (calorie free of course), so that when I get those late night cravings my poor husband doesn’t have to duck down to Coles to keep me happy! He would love it!

  • Les Baker November 13, 2012, 11:20 am

    I would plant the tree of knowledge, so all my friends could feed from it’s extensive range of gardening tips.

  • Kelly November 13, 2012, 2:06 pm

    Chives – I can’t eat onions or garlic so it’s lovely to be able to have a bit of onion and garlic flavour using chives. They’re also fantastic companion plants in the garden, helping to keep bad bugs away and fighting plant fungal and bacterial infections at ground level. Their flowers are also very ornamental so you can plant them in ornamental gardens. Being perennial they keep your kitchen supplied with fresh tasty herbs for years on end and they’re one of those herbs that just aren’t very good if you buy them dried from a shop. They can be grown in garden beds or pots so even people living in apartments can grow them. They can also be grown inside so they’re nice and close when you need them for cooking. This also means that you can bring them inside during winter in cold areas so that they don’t go dormant. The flowers are also edible and add a lovely onion or garlic flavour to salads. They’re also really good for you as like other alliums, they have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
    They really are a great plant to grow.
    Also Kyrstie, I’d love to read more gardening book and cook book reviews on your website.

  • Fatima Shah November 13, 2012, 3:02 pm

    Coriander – I use a tonne of it in my cooking and it is ridiculously expensive at some points.

  • Tish November 13, 2012, 3:50 pm

    Any type pr fruit tree, with food being so expensive having a fruit tree in the garden would save money and I could preserve some for the rest of the year when it wasn’t in season.

  • Joselle Griffin November 13, 2012, 5:55 pm

    As hard as it is to pick, I would grow Lavender, so I could have oceans of smell surrounding me when the sun hit it. It’s such a caring plant.

  • Kyrstie November 14, 2012, 8:30 am

    Thank you everyone for reading and for your entries. I found it very difficult to select a winner. There were so many thoughtful, and lovely entries. The winner has been sent an email so please check your inbox. Kyrstie

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