Gardening: Cuttings

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The Independent Culture
JANE AUSTEN fans have not always been pleased by the liberties taken with their heroine's work. Mr Darcy naked? The idea! But in Jane Austen and the English Landscape by Mavis Batey (Barn Elms, pounds 19.99) they will find a more sympathetic interpretation. Mavis Batey shows that Jane Austen evidently loved "scampering about the country" as Miss Bingley scathingly put it.

The erudite author explains how much of Austen's description of Darcy's place, Pemberley, depended on her knowledge of William Gilpin, the English clergyman who pioneered the idea of the picturesque landscape.

This is a marvellous book - scholarly, well produced and well illustrated.

THE WINTER lecture series continues at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, when Phil Lusby of the RBGE, an expert in the rare plants of Scotland, shows how the project he manages is helping to save Scotland's most threatened plants. His lecture is on 11 March at 3pm in the Lecture Theatre at the Royal Botanic Garden. No booking. No charge. Just turn up.

THE ORCHID festival being held at Kew Gardens is an astonishing spectacle. Thousands of these exotic wonders are on display, with special exhibits of species such as the Dracula orchid, which mimics the smell of rotting flesh in order to attract insects to pollinate it. Not many of us can get to the cloud forests of Central and South America where these plants come from. Kew is a train ride away. The festival continues until 28 March. For details, call 0181-332 5000.

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