Monday, 28 July 2008

How much?

Do you like this book?

How much do you think it's worth?

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Guerrillas across the water

Now while I try and organise a copy of Richard Reynolds’s book On Guerrilla Gardening for Alex to review, I thought you might like to read a write up of another book on the subject - Guerrilla Gardening by David Tracey.

This was featured on Melanie Rimmer’s Bean Sprouts blog, which has quite a few booky bits.

I must ask her if she wants to join the Flange.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Tie me up, tie me down

On the subject of a previous post - it seems that James the Hat was nearly "Trussed".


Saturday, 19 July 2008

You say Guerilla, I say Gorilla...

Does anyone fancy reviewing Richard Reynold's "On Guerilla Gardening" for the Flange?

I have it, but even am less impartial than normal where GG is concerned.

If you don't have a copy, I could probably organise one for you.


Friday, 18 July 2008

A sign of madness

It seems to me a sign of obsession with a subject, when you have items relating to it, which are of no possible use to you.

I have a number of garden/gardening/horticulture books, which I am sure I will not derive the slightest practical use from.

That is not to say that they are without any use - they give pleasure.

This is, I think, the book I own which is the least useful, but I love it.

It is by E St Clair Morford and is the 1946 reprint of the 1926 original.

It bears the following heartrending inclusion in the revised foreword:

“Since 1926, when this book first appeared, much has happened. The writer returned in1945 to a garden completely destroyed; borders turned into sweet potato beds, lawns a waving sea of lalang and “forestry”. Fern and plant houses pulled down; shrubs and trees cut down by vandals, who cut the trees to get the fruit!…standard hibiscus and orchids - the collection of 30 years - thrown on the rubbish heap!…”C’est la guerre”!...

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Penguin Handbooks

VP has sent some more pictures for posting, of some more vintage books, saying:

“It's actually a set of 3, all by the marvellously named Raymond Bush. 'Soft Fruit Growing' + 'Tree Fruit Growing Part I (Apples)' and II (Pears, Quinces and Stone Fruits). They all bear the classic Penguin cover that's now gracing many a literary mug. I think these must have been the first 3 books in the Penguin Handbook series as they have the serial numbers PH1, PH2 and PH3 on their spines.”

She adds that she has Penguin Handbooks S146 and S147 - The Vegetable Growers' Handbook Vols I & II.

Now this fired my inner trainspotter. Why did some Penguin Handbooks have the serial number PH and others S?
So I dug out three Penguin Handbooks of my own.

I have Tree and Shrubs (and how to grow them) - which is definitely a Penguin Handbook, but is S145 [pub October 1944]

And 2 others
PH9 - The Penguin Handyman
PH13 - Your Smallholding.

They are published 1945 & 1947 respectively, and so the PH numbering must have started in late 1944/1945.

This still raised a number of questions, such as when exactly did the S pre-fix change to PH and why?

And also what is the full list of the PH series?

If you haven’t yet fallen asleep, I can report that I spent an hour and a half searching the net for answers to these questions. I did discover a wealth of fascinating information about Penguin Books, but drew a total blank on the answers that I was after. maybe someone will read this and enlighten us.

I should have known better really, I had a similar fruitless quest for the definitive list of Wisley Handbooks a while back.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Blog Book News

Here's another brief round up of some garden book goings on from the internet.

Alex continues with his Shedworker’s Bookshelf each and every Friday (get ready for tomorrow’s) and this week had a post on the Art & Artisan bookshop.

Also from a shed source is a review of Growing in the Community by Simon Kirby, who is the chap with the rather wonderful shed built entirely from pallets.

The last review is rather preconceived one of Richard Reynolds’s book On Guerrilla Gardening
from a little while back. As a supporter of Guerrilla Gardening I had to stick my oar in.

There’s news of a couple of new books are in the pipeline one from Emma Cooper and another from Gayla Trail.

And finally some photos of Lloyds of Kew (as recommended by EmmaT). Sadly the shop doesn't seem to have it's own site.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

With One Lousy Free Packet of Seed

I only recently discovered that Lynne Truss had written a book with a horticultural theme.

In fact, in my ignorance I did not know that she had written anything other than Eats Shoots & Leaves.

I found this information recently, whilst perusing a 1994 copy of Gardens Illustrated, in which she was interviewed. Yes, as well as old books, I read old magazines as well - I should get out more.

Such is the power and wonder of the internet that I was able to get hold of a copy not only very quickly, but also very cheaply, although I got stung a bit on the postage.

The book itself (a 2004 reprint of the '94 original) is an amusing comic novel, ideal for a holiday and was a welcome piece of froth when I had some dead time to fill and wasn’t in the mood to concentrate intensively.

It's not perhaps as good as the master of the field Carl Hiassen (what is?), but it put me in mind of the books by that author, being populated as it was by all sorts of loonies, which is quite surprising since it revolves around the staff of a gardening magazine.
Ooh hang on, I must go and check if Lynne Truss ever worked for Amateur Gardening.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Gardeners’ Brains Trust

VP’s photos of her wartime book reminded me of this little hardback I have on my shelves.

I bought Wild Flowers and Weeds by G.H. Copley N.D.H., Gardeners’ Brains Trust, etc, largely because of the cover, but also because inside the dust jacket it states “War Time Productions and Costs 8/6” - which seems a bit steep to me.

All of which reminds me - I must look up what the Gardeners’ Brains Trust was.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Dig For Victory

VP has supplied these pictures of her copy of Practical Gardening & Food Production In Pictures, a book clearly intended to help the wartime Dig For Victory campaign.

Sunday, 6 July 2008


Earlier, I was looking at my garden book wants list.

It reaaly is ridiculously large - it could just as well be “Every garden book that I haven’t got” and then added top that “And also some that I have but in better condition, or first editions”.

It’s not going to be an easy job to prune it back into shape.

Whilst I attempt it - what’s on your wants list?

The picture is a pencil rubbing of the cover of Practical Home Gardening Illustrated, a book I referred to recently (it's embossed and doesn't show in a photo).

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Cover Lover III - the eye of the tiger lily

This wonderful image has been provided by James the Hat, who says:

"One of the extraordinary things about these old books (this has no date but judging from the clothes and title must be around the turn of the 19th century) is that their planting was extremely dull. Great hedges, perfect maintenance, immaculate lawns but pretty uninvigorating borders.

The cover art is signed Will Jenkins about whom I can discover nothing. It is something the modern parent should remember: if you wish your child to be easily discoverable through Google then for goodness sake call them Montmorency of Alfalfa or Nickynackynoodle."

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Cover Lover Redux.

Isn't this a great cover?

I love looking at it.

It is however a bittersweet experience, as it’s a single volume of Commercial Gardening, edited by John Weathers , ( A Practical and Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners Market Grower fruit Flower and Vegetable Growers Nurserymen etc.) and there are three more, which I don't have.

The fact that it's volume two, rather than volume one, or volume four, the latter of which presumably contains the index, somehow makes this worse.


Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Cover lover

Of course, these days it is de rigueur for books to attempt to seduce us with an attractive cover, but I must confess to buying this old book largely because of it's cover illustration.

Although the purchase was also, in part, because of the subject of “Art Out of Doors” (it's about garden design and is subtitled Hints on Good Taste in Gardening) and, in slightly larger part, because it was written by one Mrs Schuyler Van Renesselaer. What a great name.

It's an American book and mine is the 1925 reprint rather than the 1893 original.

It did however once belong to a lady called Barbara de Quincy., which I find strangely marvellous.