Sunday, 8 June 2008

Soupcon Sir?

Another topic from the Blogtabulous VP - not so sure about it myself - if you start recommending things just because they have a smidgen of gardening in, sooner, or later someone will recommend that awful TV detective thing with Felicity Kendall in.

How about non-gardening books that still have interest for us as there is at least a little bit of gardening content in them?

My starter for 10 is 'O Beloved Kids' by Rudyard Kipling. It's a collection of his letters to his children - I came across extracts whilst going through the Batemans garden archive at the National Trust. The letters themselves are lovely, but there's also reference to what's been happening in the garden (hence the extracts in the archive) and dates from around the time that Kipling wrote 'The Glory of the Garden'. It's also extremely poignant as not long afterwards his son John went off to fight in WW1.

It's one for the second hand or library search, though Emma will be relieved to find that prices should be a bit more reasonable on Amazon this time.


VP said...

I'm glad you've pointed out that potentially serious flaw in this strand. I started writing a whole raft of caveats - number 1 was not that Felicity Kendal thingy, but decided to keep it simple.

It does however, give Alex lots more potential to elbow in books with a passing reference to sheds.

Esther Montgomery said...

I was just about to recommend a proper gardening book, when I changed tack. (I'll mention that another time.) Meanwhile . . . . .


by Aubrey Menen

(Chatto and Windus - 1959)

What follows is the blurb from the back of the 1963 Penguin Edition. (3/6)

"Clearly Adam and Eve picked the wrong tree in the Garden of Eden. It is left to Harry Wesley, a chapel-bred scientist of genius, to revive humanity's hopes (in the face of the population explosion) with a chemical process which converts a fig tree, high above the Bay of Salerno, into the tree of life.

The figs wax big, but the fig-leaves get the last laugh when the fruit reveals exceptional properties as an aphrodisiac. For Harry, and his American neighbour, Joe Bellman, begin to reveal exceptional properties themselves after eating the first fruits. The Countess della Quercia is astonished at the sudden change in her American friend - astonished, but delighted. So are many others; until the newspapers uncover the sad story and scandal knocks loudly on the portals of the Vatican."

John Davenport, reviewing 'The Fig Tree' for the Observer, described it as 'Wild, witty, derisive, droll, exotic, ingenious, and impudent'. (Precisely the kind of book for 'Garden Monkey' readers?)

Esther Montgomery


Alex said...

The Dig by John Preston. All about the Sutton Hoo excavation. There is a tremendous amount of digging involved in the novel, both actual and psychological.

And while there are no actual sheds, there is a rather lovely shepherd's hut centre stage in which action takes place and spades are stored.

emmat said...

esther's one sounds so sexy

Alex said...

What, and mine doesn't?

emmat said...

That yours sounds sexy is... self-evident, surely? All that digging. Archeologists getting sweaty etc. Mmmm, yum.

patientgardener said...

I would like to recommend 'Our Longest Days' edited by the late Sandra Koa Wing. It is a collection of extracts from diaries of british people during WWII. There is a loose connection to gardening as one of the contributors is a land girl. it is fasinating as the book is set out by year and month and then date. Some of the contributors appear alot whilst others only occasionally. There is a brief bio of each as well. The book is a result of the Mass Observation exercise which was carried out during the war and is still going albeit it on a more casual basis.