Mostly books

Yesterday morning I’d just got home from the library with a handful of books and was having a cup of tea before heading off to the plot.  Typically it started raining and showed little sign of stopping which was when I realised just how little plotting, pottering or even pondering I’ve done recently, especially compared to how much time I’ve spent browsing for books at the local libraries.

This morning at the trading shed there were only a handful of people who weren’t committee members or helpers.  When we did talk about gardening it was somewhat desultory and half-hearted. I was kindly given several old gardening hardback books including  Geoff Hamilton’s Paradise Gardens and The RHS Gardeners’ Calendar (1987, 375 A4 pages) both of which I shall enjoy reading.

However for me the real gem is the 750+ page A5 hardback The New Illustrated Gardening Encyclopedia, which was reprinted in 1948 so it’s almost as old as me.  It goes from Aaron’s Beard via Formaldehyde, Momordica and Shoddy to Zygocolax. Oh yes, and it has that lovely old book feel and smell, that I’m quite sure that no ebook can ever match!

This morning I posted this lovely pot marigold picture on Facebook, Twitter and a couple of the gardening forums to give some much needed cheer on a dismal morning.

Have a good week!


About Flighty

...allotmenteer, armchair gardener, blogger and sofa flyer.
This entry was posted in Flighty's plot, Lawn lounging. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Mostly books

  1. Old books are wonderful, it’s a shame we don’t have a good second hand shop in the area. Quiet with us this morning as well. But actually nice to have a morning pottering about in the green house.

  2. nikkipolani says:

    Books to the rescue! Cheering sight indeed.

  3. e-books? never not for me, a lot of my spare time in the winter is spent in basements leafing through old tomes looking for old gardening books with old fashioned advice some of it still valid, mind you I didn`t much like the advice for stopping the mice from eating peas when sown, soak in a mixture of lead and copper sulphate prior to planting!

    • Flighty says:

      David nor for me, and if I ever do it won’t replace books. Some of the advice is now considered positively dangerous, and rightly so, but as you say there’s plenty of good advice as well. Cheers.

  4. Joanne says:

    Lucky you flighty, i love old gardening books. My dad has given me his old books & a week by week collection my mother subscribed too years ago for him. Amazing reading through them how times have changed.

  5. I share your love of old gardening books and I have a copy of this very book as well! I’m not sure how old it is as it does not have a date in it, but it belonged to my grandfather. Mine is edited by Richard Sudell and starts like yours at Aaron’s Beard and ends at Zygopetalum. It is a lovely thing to have, I consider it a heirloom!

  6. Flighty says:

    Sara good for you, and lucky you. Mine is also edited by Richard Sudell, but I would guess that yours is an earlier edition. As a matter of interest how many pages does it have, mine has 768. xx

  7. elaine says:

    You can’t beat the old gardening books they make a charming read. I remember watching Geoff Hamilton’s Paradise Gardens on the TV and also have the book – definitely my fave gardener. Have a good week yourself.

    • Flighty says:

      Elaine I do so agree. I have vague memories of the series on TV. Understandably he was, and still is, many people’s favourite. Sadly I see that he died shortly after finishing writing this book, which is dedicated to his memory. xx

  8. Jo says:

    I was only thinking recently how little time I’ve spent gardening this year. Unfortunately, it shows at the allotment, but I’m not alone, most of the plots look as though their owners have given up. This is definitely the hardest gardening year we’ve had since I took on my plot. I love old books. I could spend a good few happy hours trawling the bookshelves of a second hand book shop.

    • Flighty says:

      Jo a lot people have said the same. The allotments here are just as bad. I’m not surprised and think that we’ve all found it hard. Me too. That’s sounds like a great way to spend some time. xx

  9. wellywoman says:

    I love old books, Flighty and it is partly the smell of them. You sound like you’ve got some gems there. It has been a disappointing year, gardening wise and I think most people are feeling a little down about things. Who knows how the rest of the summer will fair but there’s always next year. And there’s always flowers like your calendula to cheer us up. WWx

    • Flighty says:

      Welly’ good for you. I have indeed. It sure has, and I’ve no doubt that will reflected at the show in just under two months time. I’m already thinking about next year.
      Thanks those, and the the rest, certainly make a difference don’t they. xx

  10. Marc Mordey says:

    Thanks for the flower photo – cheery!
    I really enjoyed Geoff Hamiltons Paradise Gardens as more recently I got hooked on Monty Dons Italian Gardens series.
    Funny but someone said to me recently they loved their Kindle but it didn’t smell like a book – maybe Amazon should incorporate some scratch and sniff technology?
    Lovely blog- thank you
    And greetings from Pembrokeshire where it’s been wet wet wet!

    • Flighty says:

      Marc hello and welcome. Garden books like these are always popular.
      The book I mention here is almost 65 years old but I’m sure that today’s Kindles won’t be around for anywhere near that long.
      Thanks, that’s good of you to say so.
      Just dull, and at times drizzly, here in London today. Cheers.

  11. A flower which smiles.

  12. gaiamethod says:

    I love the smell of old books!!!! Sometimes its even better than reading the book! I have to say I do love paper and struggle to read books online. For that reason I haven’t yet bought a kindle! Since I was a child I have loved books. Next door to my house in Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny there was an antique shop. This shop was in the building that used to be the local reading and tea-rooms when the English were in Ireland. One night the building went on fire and the next morning, in the turf market in front of the building was a still-smoking pile of burnt books, which they had taken out while trying to clear the ruin. My bedroom window looked out over the turf market and I couldn’t bear to see all these ruined books. So I snuck downstairs and out the door and rummaged in the book pile for salvageable books!! They were still hot and smoking but I managed to get a few. I then had to hide them in the basement because if my mother had found them she would have had kittens!
    I have absolutely no memory of what happened to these books but they were probably discovered. Nothing ever stayed hidden for long in our house, no matter how well you hid them!!!
    Love the Marigold too. One of my favourites!!

    • Flighty says:

      Anne me too, not that I have much sense of smell! Mmm, I think I still prefer reading them. Thanks for that memory, which is rather sad isn’t it.
      I ‘d guess that not many of us managed to keep things hidden at home when we children.
      There are lots of pot marigolds on the plot so there’ll be plenty more for you to look at. xx

  13. A Tasteful Garden says:

    Wow! What a treasure your copy of The New Illustrated Gardening Encyclopedia is! I scour the annual library book sale each autumn for garden books exactly like that. I hope the rain lets up for you soon. Do you think you might be able to get a shot at sowing an Autumn crops? Cheers, Allison

    • Flighty says:

      Allison hello. Yes I’ve been enjoying browsing through it the past few evenings.
      I do that, but rarely ever find any of interest. Thanks, but the forecast remains much the same. I may do, but I probably won’t bother apart from sowing a green manure. xx

  14. Geoff Hamilton’s Paradise Gardens was one of the first gardening books I owned and his books are still among my favourites; I can just about remember him on the telly… ! I think I found the book, years ago, in a charity shop, still one of my favourite rummaging spots. Gardening books are standing in for the real thing over here as well; it’s hard to be motivated when the slugs are so abundant this year and the ground so wet. I’m optimistic it will improve soon!

  15. Flighty says:

    Caro that’s the one I’m really looking forward to reading.
    I was at the plot this morning but all I did was pick some raspberries and take a few photos.
    Me too, so fingers (and toes) crossed! xx

  16. Doris says:

    What a magnificent flower! It shines like gold! Enjoy your books, Flighty.

  17. Ellie says:

    I have a kindle and love it, but still can’t part with my old favourite books and still get books out of the library. Those gardening books are amazing, especially the ones that describe the effort needed to keep the gardens of grand estates going – makes me feel a bit ashamed about moaning about a bit of weeding! Marigolds are lovely, though once again the weather seems to have stopped mine from self-seeding so profusely this year. Bah!

    • Flighty says:

      Ellie for me books have been, and always will be, an important part of my life. Yes gardening in grand estates was truly a different world. Nearly all my flowers aren’t lasting long before they get bedraggled. Bah indeed! xx

  18. Liz says:

    When I was working at a book company a decade ago, e-books were certainly being talked about but it would have been impossible for me to believe how popular they are in 2015. Give me a hardcover or paperback to sit and hold any time. The calendula is a mood lifter for what seems to have been the most dismal year (2012) for English gardeners.

    • Flighty says:

      Liz nor me, and although I have an eReader like you I much prefer real books. My Flighty’s Favourites pot marigolds always cheer me up, especially when it’s dismal. xx

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