Written by the retired national Trust's Head of Gardens
The story is told through the authors work on 50 of the best know National Trust gardens
The author holds the highest honour awarded by the Royal Horticultural Society - the Victoria Medal and is the Vice president of the RHS
After horticultural college in Kent, John Sales passed his National Diploma in Horticulture while a student gardener at Kew, where his knowledge of plants developed and his interest in garden design and historic gardens was engendered. In 1971 he was appointed gardens adviser to the National Trust. He was lucky not simply because this was the kind of job that many would covet, but mainly because it came early in a period of rapid expansion in the Trust's involvement with historic gardens and landscape parks, of great beauty and heritage significance. After two years learning from his predecessor Graham Stuart Thomas, he became Head of Gardens, eventually leading a team of advisers and technical staff responsible for strategic and routine advice in all gardens and parks, covering continuing management, staffing, plant conservation and refurbishment, as well as design, restoration and major renewal. John served as Head of Gardens until 1998. He was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour, the highest honour given by the Royal Horticultural Society, in 1991, and has since been a Vice-President of the Society, and of the Garden History Society (now the Gardens Trust).