An Almost Impossible Thing

Story of six hitherto little-known women gardeners in the years before the First World War, in the context of suffragism, collectivism and Empire.

Book cover of An Almost Impossible Thing by Fiona Davidson

While working as Head of Libraries and Exhibitions at the Royal Horticultural Society, Fiona Davison came across a cache of letters from a young gardener who was denied a scholarship by the RHS on the grounds that she was female. Appalled, and intrigued to find out what became of Olive, Fiona began to research the wider story of early female professional gardeners and discovered a group of pioneers whose struggles against patriarchy changed forever the rights and opportunities for women gardeners.

Although gardens are often seen as a refuge, a place to escape from the troubles of the modern world, this book looks back to a period when British gardens were an arena for radical and far-reaching experiments. A time when the ability to cultivate land was mobilised by a group of convention-busting women who wanted to change the world.

An Almost Impossible Thing will be released on the 5th of September 2023.