A celebration of gardens

zimbabwe_gardenHARARE A book that celebrates the vast array of flora and fauna that can be found in Zimbabwe is at last complete, after taking 15 years to complete.

Zimbabwe, a garden is written by June Norman, with photographs by Diana Fraser-Mackenzie and illustrations by Jilly Byatt. Norman, a third generation Zimbabwean, and Fraser-Mackenzie, who married a Zimbabwean, between them lived in Zimbabwe for almost a century and a half. Byatt lived in the country in the 1980s returning the following decade to complete the paintings for the book.

It is a hard cover book priced at US$55, including postage and packaging, and is being distributed through the following email addresses: [email protected] and [email protected]

The book is a celebration of Zimbabwes gardens – botanical, public and residential. Information in the book has been arranged according to each of the provinces. Readers are taken from a sighting of a baobab flower in the Lowveld to the ancient red mahoganies in Chirinda Forest, Mount Selinda.

Private gardens around the country are reviewed. The work of botanists and horticulturalists is explained. The trees, the orchids, the aloes, the landscapes of Zimbabwe are guided out across the pages. The book is dense with information but is neither a reference nor a textbook. Nor is it a political book. Every page in this book

is an illustration of its title. In their quiet meandering, and their photographs and watercolours, the pages settle on the core, the earth, of Zimbabwe.

It is not clear how much of all that the book describes remains as depicted but what is certain is that the camera shutter has caught Zimbabwe as a garden. It is a gift of a book – an unemotional portrayal of the beauty of one of Africas most sought after allotments.

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