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.