This may be my most ambitious book, and was certainly the most enjoyable to write. In 1989 I made a 13 part TV series for Channel 4 and WGBH, the Boston Public Broadcasting Station. I then used the painstaking research to make a story out of wine history from Noah up to the 1980’s. It won every prize for wine literature that year and, in various languages, for some years later. I have often thought of updating it, but balk at the technical (and commercial) research I would have to do. There are too many take-overs to make a good story.
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Trad? Who’s he?
Trad’s Diary started as the editorial column of the RHS Journal when it was remodelled and relaunched as The Garden in 1975. I was responsible for the changes, wrote the column then, and still do when I have an idea, 45 years later. I am Hugh Johnson, author of Trees, The Principles of Gardening, and lots of stuff about wine.
Trad borrows his name from John Tradescant, gardener to Lord Cecil at Hatfield and to King James I, one of the first to introduce plants from abroad to England. His family name, having become extinct, seemed a fitting label for a column of garden jottings. It was adopted in 1977 by the new Trust for the Garden Museum in Lambeth, where John Tradescant (the accent is on the second syllable) lived and is buried. Today the museum is in full and exciting expansion mode. I urge you to visit its website, visit it personally, and support it as much as you can.
Trad took to the ether as a blog in 2008. There have been two anthologies, in 1993 and 2009, and since 2008 the text has been published quarterly in Hortus magazine. Scroll back, if you have time to waste, over hundreds of earlier entries. Better, use the Search button to look up things that might interest you. This index facility is priceless to the diarist; now he can see how often he repeats himself. Thanks to Simon Appleby and Bookswarm for making this happen.
Hugh’s Gardening Books
This is the third anthology of Trad’s Diary, cherry-picking the past ten years. The previous two covered the years 1975…
Hugh’s Wine Books
I started work on The World Atlas of Wine almost 50 years ago, in 1970. After four editions, at six-year…