Two days ago, thunderstorms with intense lightning knocked me offline. Yesterday, sleet and light snow pelted our state, but the earth’s warm temperatures melted all, leaving tan grass behind. Since this morning’s temp was a bone chilling nineteen degrees F., I decided to stay inside and share some of my current reading material.
If you’d like, grab yourself something warm to drink and come sit for a spell. I have my hot tea mug clutched in mittened hands.
Due to the Diva and Bear’s Tae Kwon Do schedule, I have more time to read than ever, and I’m perusing all of the following in a kind of loop. Whichever book is in the car, is the one I read that day. Some are nonfiction, and others are created out of whole cloth, but you’ll see they have a recurring theme.
This post could be titled, “I’m a bit obsessed” but, shoot, you knew that already.
The Lost Garden: A Novel, by Helen Humphreys, is set during WWII at the height of the London Blitz. I got the idea for this book from by best friend, Aimee, who got me reading the blog, Yarnstorm, which is now entitled Jane Brocket after its author. Miss Brocket is a writer and is always reading something interesting. She led me to Elspeth Thompson, who is a British writer, and while looking up her books, I found this one on Amazon. Now, is that murky as mud or what?
The protagonist, a member of the Royal Horticulture Society, joins the Women’s Land Army to restore a British estate and to plant potatoes. While there, she uncovers a lost garden.
It is part fictional memoir and part love story with a gothic, chicken-stealing, ghost thrown into the mix. Just my sort of thing, and a good followup to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, which I adored.
I thought it was Mr. McGregor’s Daughter, but actually it was Cindy from My Corner of Katy who convinced me to read The 3,000 Mile Garden: An Exchange of Letters Between Two Eccentric Gourmet Gardeners, by Leslie Land and Roger Phillips. It is a fun read with extensive plant lists. I would suggest it for someone who lives and gardens in a cold climate like Kathy, if she doesn’t already have it. It is a set of letters between two gardeners, Phillips, who lives in London, and Land, who gardens in Maine. Both climates are very different from mine, but I was able to glean plenty of information anyway, and it is always interesting to see what another gardener grows, their successes and failures.
From the list so far, you may be seeing a couple of patterns, and yes, they are interrelated.
Remember Elspeth? I couldn’t find the book I wanted anywhere for less than many pounds and more in shipping charges from Amazon UK, so I settled for Urban Gardener, which I was able to buy in the U.S. I’m starting it next. Getting a book in the mail is just like receiving a carefully wrapped present, don’t you think?
I just finished Miss Silver Comes to Stay, by Patricia Wentworth. It wasn’t one of her best, but I always enjoy the irrepressible Miss Maude Silver. If you like Dame Christie’s Miss Marple, you’ll enjoy Miss Silver too. I’m now reading The Gazebo.
Back to those themes. If you haven’t already guessed, I’m an Anglophile. It is reflected in my reading taste and my gardening, which are both Britannia inspired. I also learned how to make a proper pot of tea long ago, but that had more to do with coffee hurting my stomach. Still, I own a number of teapots which are used all the time. I don’t have an electric kettle, but after reading Brit’ Gal Sarah’s tea troubles, I wanted one.
The cool thing about Great Britain’s classic literature is that gardening always weaves through the plot somehow, somewhere. In detective novels, plants often help solve the mysteries, or at the very least, they are part of the cast. Gardening seems to be so much a part of their culture that it is interwoven into their writing like Morning Glories trailing through lattice.
To my friends across the pond, I tip my hat. Thanks for showing me how to brew a good cuppa, for writing good novels, and for your insatiable study of plants. I, your American cousin, appreciate it very much.
Andrea (Heavy Petal) says
I hadn’t heard of 3000 Mile Garden before, and it sounds like it’s right up my alley. Thanks for the tip!
Thanks, Andrea. It’s a good book. I wish I could get my hands on the t.v. series.~~Dee
Teresa Sabankaya says
Wow…your bookshelf looks very similar to my own! Honestly, I’m such a book hog. Recently, I’ve finished and wrote about the latest of Adam Nicolson on my own blog… you may be interested, but it also looks as though you’re fairly busy wieh your own stack! Happy reading to you!
Teresa Sabankaya´s last blog post..Sissinghurst – An Unfinished History
Great list – some I’ve read, others I will definitely put on my list!
dlyn´s last blog post..Front Door/Back Door Meme – December!
Yolanda Elizabet says
That’s a serious case of Anglophilitus you’ve got there, Dee. 😉
Have you discovered Beverley Nichols’s books yet? He’s great fun and mad keen about gardens. If not, then you’re in for a treat.
BTW I love the Miss Silver books too and the Lord Peter Wimsey ones, and the Miss Marples and Hercules Poirots and…. and…
Yup, I got it bad too.
Yolanda Elizabet´s last blog post..Splish Splash
I have one of Mr. Nichols’s books which I bought at a used book store before I knew who he was. It is witty and funny. He’s a great choice.~~Dee
I rarely read one book at a time. Usually, I have several, one beside each chair. It’s comforting to know others do the same thing.
Hi Nola, my dad always did the same thing. I can’t help myself.~~Dee
I LOVE Jane Brocket’s blog. Her book “The Gentle Art of Domesticity” is absolutely gorgeous. I find myself looking through it over and over again.
I had not thought of that– that the old English novels generally have gardens featured in them, often in with the plot. Makes me realize how much a part of living gardens have been forever.
CurtissAnn´s last blog post..Comfort for the Woman and Her Cold
Thanks for the tips on a few more books. I was just telling someone else that I spend far too much money at the bookstore, trying to help them stay afloat. I enjoy sitting in the store reading quite a lot (for some reason, I can concentrate better at the store than at home) and I always feel obligated to pay for my time there by buying more books than necessary.
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Katarina (Roses and stuff) says
Dee, I spotted two books on your shelf that I would love to read! A book on Hellebores and Visions of Roses by Peter Beales. What a treasure you’ve got there!
Katarina (Roses and stuff)´s last blog post..Don’t forget the birds
Hi Dee, I will definately look for the 3000 Mile Garden. Sounds like fun.
Okie Sister says
I have a whole shelf of “books to be read”.
I need a snow day.
Me too. I need one just because.~~Dee
I recently got my mother’s journal where she recorded books she read and a few thoughts. She read 3000 Mile Garden some years ago and enjoyed it…and it’s now on my list.
Leslie´s last blog post..Garden Blogger Bloom Day November 2008
I wish there was access to the TV show of the same name.~~Dee
I am a tremendous fan of 3,000 Mile Garden … PBS did a series based on the book and it was such a delight. I wonder if the library has the Elspeth Thompsons? I shall check forthwith!
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Brit' Gal Sarah says
Yes our weather has been a little nuts hasn’t it! These all sound like great reads, I like the sound of the 3,000 miles one actually. There’s a BBC show you can get on Netflix, which is 2 lady detectives and gardeners, you’d just love it – Rosemary & Thyme.
Brit’ Gal Sarah´s last blog post..Monday was sunny and 77F / 25C
Hi Sarah, I rented Rosemary & Thyme recently, and you’re right, I love it. All those grand gardens. I especially loved the episode about the meaning of flowers.~~Dee
Lisa at Greenbow says
Dee, I looooovvvvvve to get book through the mail. It is like santa vists every time.
I have read, I have, the 3000 mile garden. I thought it a good read too.
It sounds like you have perfect reading weather. I’m drawn to British gardens and books as well. I’m not familiar with the first book you mentioned but I intend to look it up. Please share with us how to make a proper cup of tea, I’d love to know that.
Phillip´s last blog post..The fascinating amaryllis
Brenda Kula says
We got the thunderstorms AND the cold! It’s time to stay-inside-and-read weather for sure! I’m one of those book freaks myself, Dee.
Brenda Kula´s last blog post..Warm Kitchen Weather
Carol, May Dream Gardens says
I think I’ll try to read a couple of those books, as I’m an angliophile, too. It is interesting how we discover what books to read! Thanks for sharing this with us all.
Carol, May Dream Gardens´s last blog post..The Tale of the Christmas Cottontail
Mr. McGregor's Daughter says
Was it me who recommended that book? I know I read it at some point. I am also an Anglophile when it comes to mystery books. I’m going to have to track down “The Lost Garden,” it sounds wonderful.
I see you have “Midwest Gardens.” I also have that one and often find myself drooling over Trudi Temple’s garden.
Mr. McGregor’s Daughter´s last blog post..Signature Plants?
All good books, especially that Hellebore book. I like these types of books for gardening. So good you can read AND blog!
tina´s last blog post..Plant of the Month-December 08
Dee – I think you will love Urban Gardener. I had the good fortune to meet Elspeth Thompson at an RHS Show in London in September. She donated to my Open Garden fundraising blog and also left a lovely comment about what I’d done with my garden. So she only knew me as VP and although a complete stranger went up to her, as soon as I’d introduced myself she was absolutely charming. Her writing is as natural as she is.
So seeing you’ve got such good taste in English writing, I must seek out your other recommendations. Thank you.
VP´s last blog post..ABC Wednesday – U is For…
Dee, Hello! We got your thunderstorms but not the cold! Thank you for the book reviews. I love finding new authors and these sound like good reads! Keep warm Dee and have a good rest of the day! Gail
Gail´s last blog post..Comfort