Ground Cover Plants

By Margery Fish


Margery Fish (1892-1969), gardener and writer, was only able to indulge her love of the English cottage garden style of gardening after the death of her controlling husband Walter Fish, retired editor of the Daily Mail.

The battle of wills between them was described in her first gardening book, which is as much about a difficult marriage as about the difficulties of starting a garden from scratch. Only after Walter’s death in 1947 could Margery fully implement her ideas and develop her skills as a plantswoman. She became interested especially in unfashionable green hellebores and other shade loving spring flowers. She sought to make things grow in cracks and crevices. She soon had a group of correspondents, with whom she swapped ideas and rare plant material. These included Lawrence Johnston of Hidcote Manor, Gloucestershire, the garden designer Nancy Lindsay, and the Somerset neighbour Violet Clive of Brympton d’Evercy, an equally passionate gardener. By the late 1950s, East Lambrook garden was being opened to the public for charity and had a small plant nursery attached to it. In 1963, she received a silver Veitch Memorial Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society. This is her take on easily maintained ground cover plants.

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