Saturday, 14 March 2009

What a snip!

I'm a sucker for a secondhand gardening book, preferably at least as old as me.

No glossy images for me - give me a line drawing any day of week. Add in a vaguely chucklesome author name and some old-school horticultural advice and I'm happy as a sandboy. No surprise, then, that Pruning in the Fruit Garden by F Hilkenbaumer caught my attention in the £1 rack outside my favourite bookshop.

Fruit tree pruning's one of those skills that, try as I might, I can't get the hang of from a written guide. This is where Mr Hilkenbaumer's book comes in. There's very little in the way of words, because it's the line drawings that communicate the art and science of the job of pruning. The lines of the tree's branches are rendered in black, with red lines showing what should be cut back: it couldn't be clearer.

The book was published in 1976, but as the back cover says, "fashions in pruning come and go, but the basic techniques remain the same". The only mystery is a pruning timetable on the last page that's got me completely puzzled, but no matter, the rest of it is pure gold. Thankyou, Mr Hilkenbaumer.

With any luck, my plum and pear tree will thank you, too.

Jane Perrone

Horticultural - The organic gardening blog

Thanks for the Guest Blog Jane - GMx

Child's Play

Last year an anthology of writing from Hortus came out. It wasn‘t the first - there were two previous anthologies “By Pen & By Spade“ (1990) and “The Generous Garden (1991). Both are no doubt no longer in print, but still available from secondhand bookshops, Amazon, Ebay etc..

Whilst looking through the first of them recently (for something unrelated), I found the following opening line to the essay “Gardening for and by Children” by Will Ingwerssen.

“To my knowledge there is no gardening magazine or periodical that includes a page to encourage an interest in gardening directly to children.”

What a great idea, and surely a point more valid than ever.

Sunday, 8 March 2009


In a slightly alarming piece of synchronicity just a couple of days after posting that I had two of this series of books I came across another one for sale.

As it only cost a few pence I couldn't not buy it.

Now I have three and hence a collection.

Luckily they are very slim and won't take up much space.