Derek Fell

by Carolyn Fell
Click images to enlarge

Derek Fell is a writer and photographer with art, travel and garden books totaling more than 2.5 million in print. His photo library numbers more than l50,000 images portraying plants, gardens and travel destinations. He lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania (near Philadelphia USA) at historic Cedaridge Farm, where he cultivates an award-winning garden of flowers, trees, grasses, fruits and vegetables.

There he enjoys his dream-come-true water feature complete with a waterlily and lotus collection, splashing waterfalls, gurgling streams, koi, and a dipping area where he relaxes in soothing water. Carefully selected plantings artfully surround the unique feature.

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, Birds & 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 Nature's Best Photography (sponsored by the National Wildflife 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. For the next seven years, Derek worked with Europe's largest seed company, Hurst. While there, he began horticultural photography as a hobby, and slowly developed it into a livelihood. The work of Britain's eminent horticultural photographer, the late Harry Smith, greatly influenced his development. Derek immigrated to the US in l964 at the invitation of the late David Burpee. He worked as mail-order catalog manager for Burpee Seeds at Fordhook Farm, Doylestown, Pennsylvania. After six years with Burpee, he received appointment as 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). 

 The prolific author of over 100 garden books and calendars, he travels widely documenting gardens throughout North America, Europe, Africa, South America, New Zealand and Japan. His most recent books include 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 (David Bateman, Ltd.). Visitors annually purchase 5,000 copies of his Monet calendar at the Monet Museum, Giverny. The Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, sell his Van Gogh’s Gardens book.

Derek’s second van Gogh book, Van Gogh’s Women: Vincent’s Love Affairs And Journey into Madness (Carroll & Graf), is a biography of the renowned artist. He has recently completed the manuscript for his first novel, an adventure romance set in the l820s. He based it on a true story he uncovered while visiting Scotland and New Zealand.

Especially for water gardeners, Derek created Water Gardening for Beginners: Practical Advice and Personal Favorites (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.) and Water Gardening With Derek Fell: Practice Advice and Personal Favorites from the Best-Selling Author and Television Show Host (Marcademus Books). The Magic of Monet’s Garden, was published in 2007. His latest book is The Gardens of Frank Lloyd Wright (Frances Lincoln), another water garden enthusiast.

In testimony of his remarkable and diverse talents, Derek has won more awards from the Garden Writers Association than any other person.

Over and above his impressive bookwork, he worked as a garden design consultant to The White House during the Ford Administration. He provides 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). Worldwide demand steadily greets Derek’s wall calendars, engagement calendars, greeting cards and art posters featuring his photography.

He lectures 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 also sells in signed editions. His photographic art poster, Monet's Bridge, is displayed and sold at the Monet Museum.

Editor's note - Derek is married with three children: Tina, Derek Jr. and Victoria. His wife, Carolyn, an expert on flower arranging and a professional stylist, sometimes co-authors books with him. Tina is a fashion designer, Vicki an aspiring photographer, Derek, Jr., a landscape designer and landscape contractor. 

Derek and Carolyn


As the artist, Claude Monet, planted his garden to paint, Derek has planted his garden to photograph. It serves as an outdoor studio for photographs that he uses in magazine articles that he writes, garden books, calendars, greeting cards, and even jigsaw puzzles. Cedaridge Farm encompasses 24 sloping acres surrounded by parkland. Five acres are cultivated as a display garden; the rest is mostly wildflower meadows and woodland. 

There were no gardens when Derek purchased the property 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. A meandering footpath connects more than 20 theme areas - including a streamside 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 HGTV visited Cedaridge Farm, and produced a 30-minute feature of the gardens for their popular Gardener's Diary television program. Cedaridge Farm is open for tours on Memorial Day weekend; Mother's Day weekend and Father's Day weekend, Friday-Sunday (l0.00 am to 4.00 pm) each year, at no charge. During those open days, signposts point the way to the garden from the village of Pipersville, Pennsylvania, at the crossroads of routes 611 and 413. 
Derek Fell's Dipping Pool
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In Tune With Mother Nature

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