Down the Garden Path

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Timber Press, 2004 - Gardening - 296 pages
6 Reviews
"Down the Garden Path has stood the test of time as one of the world's best-loved and most quoted gardening books. Ostensibly an account of the creation of a garden in Huntingdonshire in the 1930s, it is really about the underlying emotions and obsessions for which gardening is just a cover story. The secret of this book's success---and its timelessness---is that it does not seek to impress the reader with a wealth of expert knowledge or advice. Beverley Nichols proudly declares his status as a newcomer to gardening: "The best gardening books should be written by those who still have to search their brains for the honeysuckle's languid Latin name."As unforgettable as the plants in the garden are, the cast of visitors and neighbours who invariably turn up at inopportune moments are truly memorable. For every angelic Miss Hazlitt there is an insufferable Miss Wilkins waiting in the wings. For every thought-provoking Professor, there is an intrusive Mrs. M., whose chief offense may be that she is a "damnably efficient" gardener. From a disaster in building a rock garden---"It reminded me of those puddings made of spongecake and custard which are studded with almonds"---to a triumph in building an "avalanche" of chionodoxas---"Ah, but it was worth waiting for"---to further adventures with greenhouses, woodland gardens, not to mention cats and treacle, Nichols has left us a true gardening classic.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cheryl_in_CC_NV - LibraryThing

Kept having to remind myself to pick it up, got 1/2way, and gave up. Of more interest to those who actually garden. Characters are sketches, 'plot' is so very haphazard that it's easier to say it ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - obedah - LibraryThing

My mother introduced me to this book and author. Reading him (Beverley is a him) is traveling back 75 years and a continent away. His writing style charmed me like a cyclamen in winter--a jewel amongst paste! Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Beverley Nichols (1898-1983) was a prolific writer on subjects ranging from religion to politics and travel, in addition to authoring six novels, five detective mysteries, four children's stories, six autobiographies, and six plays. He is perhaps best remembered today for his gardening books. The first of them, Down the Garden Path, centered on his home and garden at Glatton and has been in print almost continuously since 1932. Merry Hall (1951) and its sequels Laughter on the Stairs (1953) and Sunlight on the Lawn (1956) document Nichols' travails in renovating a Georgian mansion and its gardens soon after the war. His final garden was at Sudbrook Cottage, which serves as the setting for Garden Open Today (1963) and Garden Open Tomorrow (1968). The progress of all three gardens was followed avidly by readers of his books and weekly magazine columns.

Bryan Connon, a Celt, was educated in Brighton and London and has worked in farming, the theatre, and financial marketing. He is a broadcaster, critic and lecturer, and has written scripts for cinema and television. His most recent book is a history of W. Somerset Maugham and family. At present he is preparing a life of Oliver Goldsmith, the eighteenth century Irish poet, essayist and playwright.

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