Derek and Carolyn
Derek Fell is a writer and photographer with art, travel and garden books totaling more than 2.5 million in print, plus a photo library numbering more than l50,000 images portraying plants, gardens and travel destinations. He lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, at historic Cedaridge Farm, where he cultivates an award-winning garden of flowers, fruits and vegetables.
Foxgloves and Sweet Williams, Cedaridge Farm
His work in Architectural Digest and Veranda has won several writing and photography awards. He also contributes to the Royal Horticultural Society magazine The Garden, Gardens Illustrated, Garden Design, Hemispheres, Bird's & Blooms, American Nurseryman and other publications. He writes a monthly garden/travel article for Nouveau, the magazine of Delaware Valley living. Derek has appeared in the television series entitled 'Nature's Best Photography', sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation for the Outdoor Life Network; and World of Photography (sponsored by Kodak and Olympus). For six years he also hosted a garden show, Step-by-Step Gardening, for the QVC television shopping channel.
Born and educated in England, he worked three years as a newspaper reporter for the Shrewsbury Chronicle Group, then seven years with Europe's largest seed company, Hurst. It was at this time he took up horticultural photography as a hobby, and slowly developed it into a livelihood, influenced by the work of Britain's eminent horticultural photographer, the late Harry Smith. Derek emigrated to the US in l964 at the invitation of the late David Burpee, to work as mail-order catalog manager for Burpee Seeds at Fordhook Farm, Doylestown, Pennsylvania. After six years with Burpee he was appointed executive director of the All-America Selections (the national seed trials) and the National Garden Bureau (an information office sponsored by the American seed industry).
Chrysanthemums at Cedaridge Farm
Now the author of more than 100 garden books and calendars, he has travelled widely throughout North America, also documenting gardens in Europe, Africa, South America, New Zealand and Japan. His most recent books are Renoir's Garden (Simon & Schuster), The Impressionist Garden (Crown), Secrets of Monet's Garden (Friedman/Fairfax), Impressionist Bouquets (Friedman/Fairfax), Van Gogh's Gardens (Simon & Schuster), Cezanne's Garden (Simon & Schuster), Campell Island (Bateman), and Great Gardens of New Zealand.. More than 3,000 copies of his Monet calendar are sold annually at the Monet Museum, Giverny; and his Van Gogh Gardens book is sold at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and at the Van Gogh Museum, in Amsterdam.
He is now working on a second book about Vincent van Gogh and a mystery romance novel set in the l820's, based on a true story he uncovered while visiting Scotland and New Zealand. Derek has won more awards from the Garden Writers Association of America than any other garden writer.
Cover of Monet calendar (Portal)
Also, he worked as a consultant on garden design to The White House during the Ford Administration. He continues to provide design consultation, specializing in Impressionist-inspired gardens, including a Monet-style garden for the Mirbeau Resort Spa, New York; a Monet-style garden for Farmgate Farm, Virginia; and a Renoir-style garden at his home, historic Cedaridge Farm (c. l790). Wall calendars, engagement calendars, greeting cards and art posters featuring his photography are published worldwide. He has lectured on photography and the gardens of the great Impressionist painters at numerous art museums, including the Smithsonian Institution, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Barnes Foundation, the Denver Art Museum, the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, and the Renoir Foundation, France. His photography is also sold in signed editions, and his photographic art poster, Monet's Bridge, is displayed and sold at the Monet Museum.
Derek is married with three children: Tina, Derek Jr. and Victoria. His wife, Carolyn, is an expert on flower arranging and a professional stylist who sometimes co-authors books with him. Tina is a fashion designer; Vicki an aspiring photographer; Derek Jr. a landscape designer and landscape contractor. Cedaridge Farm is open to the public for tours.
Farmhouse, Cedaridge Farm
As the artist, Claude Monet planted his garden to paint, Derek has planted his garden to photograph, to serve as an outdoor studio for photographs that he uses in magazine articles that he writes, also garden books, calendars, greeting cards, and even jigsaw puzzles. Cedaridge Farm is located in Bucks County and encompasses 24 sloping acres surrounded by parkland. Five acres are cultivated as a display garden, the rest mostly wildflower meadows and woodland.
Cover of Orchid calendar (Avalanche)
There were no gardens when the property was purchased in l990 - just lawns and trees. Now the gardens present colorful compositions through all the seasons and attract thousands of visitors on open day weekends (see above). A meandering footpath connects more than 20 theme areas - including a stream side planted with bog plants, a rock garden, tiers of sunny perennial beds, a walled vegetable garden, and a Colonial-style quadrant herb garden. In June 200l, the House & Garden television channel visited Cedaridge Farm, and produced a 30-minute feature of the gardens for their popular Gardener's Diary television program.
The Avant Gardener Newsletter is an online monthly full-color publication edited by Derek Fell, following 45 years under the editorship of Tom Powell. Winner of awards for literary excellence from the Garden Club of America, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and twice from the Garden Writers Association, the annual subscription is $28.00. Go to http://avantgardener.info
Cover of Vertical Gardens (Rodale)
Vertical Gardening (Rodale) is Derek Fell's bestselling gardening book, released in March 2011. Available in both soft-cover and hard-cover, it teaches how to grow more flowers and vegetables in less space by growing UP instead of OUT using a variety of store-bought and home-made supports such as garden netting and trellises.
The Avant Gardener Radio Show is a half-hour online weekly broadcast hosted by Derek Fell and his wife Carolyn from their farm in Buck's County, Pennsylvania. The show changes every Monday. Go to WebTalkRadio.net and click on Avant Gardener under the list of shows featured. Each show begins with a discussion of an item of garden news, an interview with a garden expert, and answers to email questions from listeners.
Cover of The Gardens of Frank Lloyd Wright
The Gardens of Frank Lloyd Wright (Francis Lincoln) describes in words and full-color photography the landscaping design philosophy and gardens created by Frank Lloyd Wright. The book focuses on his summer home (Taliesen, Wisconsin) and his winter home (Taliesen West in Arizona). Also featured is his most famous private commission, Falling Water (Pennsylvania).
Grow This! (Rodale)
Grow This (Rodale) is a guide to garden center shopping, and also shopping for plants and seeds on the internet and through mail order catalogs. The book explains what are the best varieties to choose among annuals, perennials, vegetables, and lawn grasses. Whether you are looking for ever-blooming flowers, or the most productive vegetables, or the most flavorful, or the most disease resistant, this book will help you choose as a result of Derek's more-than-50-years in the garden industry, evaluating home garden varieties across the entire U.S.A.
The Magic of Monet's Garden (Firefly)
The Magic of Monet's Garden (Firefly) is Derek's second book about Monet's Garden. It is a complete revision with new text and new photography, following his previously successful book titled Secrets of Monet's Garden which is now out of print. The new book focuses more on Monet's color harmonies and the glittering sensation that he created for his garden. It also explains in more detail the inspiration behind his water garden and the Japanese aesthetic of a cut-garden design. The book also includes comments by former head gardener M. Gilbert Vahé, who has described Derek's photography as "the best of all the professional photographers who have visited Giverny."