We’ve had a couple of rainy days here in the Moosbach Garden and horticultural activities have been restricted to potting up Delphinium and Cosmos seedlings. I’ve also taken the opportunity to sit and read a few gardening books.
Turning into my mother!
I’m turning 50 this year and I’ve been gardening for over 30 years now and I will admit that I have a fairly good knowledge of all things horticultural but there is always space for new gardening knowledge in my ageing brain. Many years ago when my wonderful mother was struggling to retrieve a fact stored in her brain she would tell me “I’ll find the right file in a bit”. She always said that the human brain was like the hard drive of a computer, the older the computer got the fuller the hard drive got and the longer it took to access the file that was needed. As I get older I’m inclined to agree with her. If you ask me “what’s that song on the radio?” as long as it’s from the 70’s onwards I can probably tell you, if you ask me a plant question I can probably lay my hands on the answer. HOWEVER, if you ask me what we had for lunch last Wednesday or tell me Mrs Smith is coming round tomorrow, she was here last week and sat on table 3, you remember don’t you?, I will look at you blankly as if you are speaking Cantonese (I don’t speak cantonese). So clearly I am turning into my mother but in my opinion that’s not so bad.
Acquiring new Knowledge
Whilst I was sitting out the rain and thinking to myself “goodness the weeds are going to grow quickly, I’ll have to get out there weeding as soon as I can”, I picked up a book that I bought several years ago but had never got around to reading. The Book was “Roses – A Care Manual” by Amanda Beales. For those of you in the know, there are 2 famous rosarians in the UK, David Austin is one and the second is the late Peter Beales. Amanda Beales is his daughter and an expert on all things Rose. I confess myself a little bit of a David Austin cheerleader and felt somewhat disloyal picking up a book from the “other camp”. I soon got over this though and absorbed myself in all that was on offer from Amanda Beales and when I had finished the book I found myself in possession of about 20 things that I didn’t know about rose care before. I’m sure the same can be said for the plethora of specialist gardening books out there, my point is it’s really good to get stuck into a book by an author who knows their stuff. I think that it’s how we grow both as individuals and as gardeners.
Don’t limit yourself to the latest trends in gardening books
The wonderful thing about any book is its ability to communicate the knowledge, the thoughts and the feelings of its author across the expanse of time. It’s like being able to travel back in time and have a conversation over a cup of tea with a famous gardener like Gertrude Jekyll or Vita Sackville-West and when you stop and think about that isn’t it a wonderful thing? I wish my mother had written more than her one novel, (“The Torn Tapestry” by Jane Froud), I wish I had the ability to delve into numerous volumes created by her wonderful intellect. I am lucky enough to have many of her paintings and many fantastic memories of her to keep me company though.
Reading gardening books is like having struck up a friendship with the gardening greats regardless of their era and being able to sit down for an informal chat about what to do with that corner of the garden or how to create a new rose garden. In my opinion, priceless access to the gardening greats for the price of a book and an investment of time.
I finished the Amanda Beales book this morning and I can’t wait to get on with it, I’m determined to prune my roses more effectively, deal with any pests or problems and even cross-pollinate different varieties to create my own roses. We shall see at the end of the year if I’ve actually achieved any of these or if I’m just all talk.
These books are all in English but they are fantastic books (in my opinion)
The Rose by David Austin
Roses – A Care Manual by Amanda Beales
The Victorian Kitchen Garden by Jennifer Davies
The Garden of Gertrude Jekyll by Richard Bisgrove
Life In A Cottage Garden by Carol Klein
Gertude Jekyll at Munstead Wood by Judith Tankard & Martin Wood
Grow Your Own Garden by Carol Klein
Gertrude Jekyll and the Country House Garden by Judith Tankard
The Walled Garden by Leslie Geddes-Brown
AND no list would be complete without any book by Monty Don and the Royal Horticultural Society
And don’t forget that we have a good selection of David Austin strongly fragranced roses available to buy on our website, to see them click here.
I’m off to England in July for my birthday treat and shall be immersing myself in wonderful gardens like Sissinghurst Castle and Munstead Wood and visiting as many National Trust gardens as I can fit in, I promise to take lots of photographs and write some reviews.
Happy gardening …….
I dedicate this article to my wonderful mother, the late Jane Antoinette Froud and my sister Sue Barratt who never stops inspiring me or loving me.