The Namer of Names

Anna Pavord - Dorset, England

Summary: Anna Pavord, the gardening correspondent for The Independent and the best-selling author of The Tulip and The Naming of Names: The Search for Order in the World of Plants, is famous across the United Kingdom for her deep passion for gardening. She has often relied upon her garden in Dorset, England as a source of personal healing of both physical and emotional challenges and originally took up writing about gardening to help finance the rebuilding of her Eden, a rural home known locally as the Rectory.
Garden Contact Information: The Rectory
Dorset, England

Sunnyside Farm
Dorset, England

The Garden: Anna Pavord lived at the "Rectory" for thirty years. The acre and a half of garden at this 300 year old estate in Dorset was her inspiration as well as a place for her experimentation with flowers and foliage. It was not always the earthly paradise that it is now. Anna remarks that in the beginning, "the house hated us". The garden was all overgrown and the kitchen roof was falling in. Ivy was even growing on the inside of the house. To give some "spring color" to her home, Anna started planting tulips. Struck by their beauty, she planted more, thousands more, and each March the Pavords would welcome a beautiful burst of color in their yard.

Using experiments in this garden, Anna came up with the 60 "star" plants featured in her book PLANT PARTNERS. In the book she highlights outstanding perennials (as well as bulbs and annuals) and offers suggestions for complementary plants for each.

Anna and her husband, Trevor, recently moved to Sunnyside Farm, 5 miles away from the Rectory and "as remote as you can get." Here, Anna is creating a new Eden on the gorgeous landscape. In both gardens she has used plenty of old-fashioned varieties of fruit trees, especially pear and plum. She also plants as many bulbs as she can fit, including crocus, fritillaries, lilies, erythroniums. Anna loves cyclamen, all types of spurges and plants that grow taller than her own five feet, ten inches.

The Gardeners' Story: "The soul needs to look out at things and find rest and peace and beauty in the things that the eyes are seeing. I think that’s a need. it’s a need as much as having a roof over your head and food in your stomach." - Anna Pavord

Anna Pavord was born in 1940 in Abergavenny, England. Her mother had been brought up on a farm and her father was a teacher. She worked for some time as a filmmaker with the BBC. In 1974, she and her husband, Trevor, set themselves up in a sprawling estate in Dorset called the Rectory, where they raised their three children. She took it upon herself to renovate the house and restore the acre and a half of garden.

With her husband often away for his work in marketing and business management, Anna turned to writing. Her first book GROWING THINGS was a children’s book published in 1982. She made a name for herself as the gardening correspondent for the daily newspaper THE INDEPENDENT and published several gardening books including; FOLIAGE, THE FLOWERING YEAR, GARDENING COMPANION, THE BORDER BOOK, and THE NEW KITCHEN GARDEN. In 1999 Anna skyrocketed to fame when "THE TULIP", a history of "the flower which has driven men mad", made the U.K. non-fiction bestseller list.

Following the success of "Tulip", Anna’s next book was a 480 page historical narrative about the origin of plants names called "THE NAMING OF NAMES; The Search for Order in the World of Plants ". The book became another commercial success and Anna was again critically acclaimed for her writing style. "Written by a scholar, reads like a thriller" was how the Daily Telegraph described it.

After 30 years in the Rectory, Anna and Trevor moved to a new home 5 miles away called "Sunnyside Farm" She is a well respected public speaker, and makes regular appearances on programs for BBC radio. In addition to her bestselling books she continues as the gardening correspondent for THE INDEPENDENT and has also written for the OBSERVER, and magazines such as COUNTRY LIFE, COUNTRY LIVING, ELLE DECORATION and acts as an associate editor for GARDENS ILLUSTRATED. She is a member of the Gardens Panel for English Heritage and chairs the Gardens Panel of the National Trust.

Link: www.annapavord.com
Behind the Scenes: Executive Producer: Merit Jensen Carr
Producer: Merit Jensen Carr
Creative Producer: Donna Gall
Line Producer: Sandra Moore
Director: Cam Bennett
Writer: Donna Gall
Researcher: Donna Gall
Narration Writer: Cam Bennett
Editor: Bruce Little
Director of Photography: Charles Konowal, CSC
Additional Photography: Saul Gittens & Vladimir Trivic
Narrator: Bonnie Dickie
Music: Norman Dugas

Return to Season 04 Episodes