Down the Garden Path
"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.