War Gardens by Lalage Snow

A journey through conflict in search of calm


A journey through the most unlikely of gardens: the oases of peace people create in the midst of war.

“A marvellously uplifting vindication of the human spirit.” Christina Lamb

“Beautifully written and compiled with extreme sensitivity, Snow has opened an entirely new genre for political and war reporting.” Ahmed Rashid

There can be few counter-narratives as enchanting and sad as as those Snow recounts… her narrative is enriched by a certain artistic sensitivity.” Times Literary Supplement.

"This extraordinary book...warm and engaging...like a photograph magicked to life. Books seldom bring a lump to my throat but this one did." Spectator

“What makes War Gardens the most illuminating garden book to be published this year, is the realisation that people's gardens are the antidotes to the horrors of their surroundings.” Country Life

“The book brims with inspiring stories of determination and optimism in the face of horror and despair.” Sydney Morning Herald

Magically heartening.” The Times

In this millennium, we have become war weary. From Afghanistan to Iraq, from Ukraine to South Sudan and Syria, from Kashmir to the West Bank, conflict is as contagious and poisonous as Japanese knotweed. Living through it are people just like us with ordinary jobs, ordinary pressures and ordinary lives. Against a new landscape of horror and violence it is up to them to maintain a modicum of normality and colour. For some, gardening is the way to achieve this.

Working in the world's most dangerous war zones, freelance war correspondent and photographer Lalage Snow has often chanced across a very moving sight, a testimony to the triumph of the human spirit in adversity, a celebration of hope and beauty: a war garden. In Kabul, the royal gardens are tended by a centenarian gardener, though the king is long gone; in Camp Bastion, bored soldiers improvise tiny gardens to give themselves a moment's peace; on both sides of the dividing line in Jerusalem families tend groves of olives and raise beautiful plants from the unforgiving, disputed landscape; in Ukraine, families tend their gardens in the middle of a surreal, frozen war.

War Gardens is a surprising, tragic and beautiful journey through the darkest places of the modern world, revealing the ways people make time and space for themselves and for nature even in the middle of destruction. Illustrated with Lally Snow's own award-winning photography, this is a book to treasure.

Other details

  • ISBN: 9781787470682

  • Publication date: 06 Sep 2018

  • Page count: 384

  • Imprint: Quercus

  • For more information please contact Milly Reid



Watch 'The Gardeners of Kabul' below.


All images Copyright Lalage Snow www.lalagesnow.co.uk