While working at the Royal Horticultural Society, Fiona Davison came across a cache of letters from a young gardener who was denied a scholarship by the RHS, on the grounds that she was female. Appalled, and intrigued to find out what became of Olive, Fiona began to research the wider story of early female professional gardeners and discovered a group of pioneers whose struggles against patriarchy changed forever the rights and opportunities for women gardeners. Although gardens are often seen as a refuge, a place to escape from the troubles of the modern world, this book looks back to a period when British gardens were an arena for radical and far-reaching experiments.
A time when the ability to cultivate land was mobilised by a group of convention-busting women who wanted to change the world. An Almost Impossible Thing follows six hitherto little-known women gardeners in the years before the First World War, and examines their lives in the context of suffragism, collectivism and Empire.
Author: Fiona Davison
Publisher: Little Toller
Publication Date: May 2023