Down the Garden Path

Down the Garden Path

Hardback Allways Trilogy

By (author) Beverley Nichols, Foreword by Bryan Connon

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  • Publisher: Timber Press
  • Format: Hardback | 308 pages
  • Dimensions: 147mm x 206mm x 31mm | 590g
  • Publication date: 13 December 2004
  • Publication City/Country: Portland, OR
  • ISBN 10: 0881927104
  • ISBN 13: 9780881927108
  • Edition statement: Facsimile Repri.
  • Illustrations note: 2 b&w photos, 9 line drawings
  • Sales rank: 98,389

Product description

"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 is the cast of visitors and neighbors who invariably turn up at inopportune moments. For every angelic Miss Hazlitt there is an insufferable Miss Wilkins waiting in the wings. For every thought-provoking Professor, there is an intrusive Miss M, whose chief offense may be that she is a 'damnably efficient' gardener. From a disaster building a rock garden, to further adventures with greenhouses, woodland gardens, not to mention cats and treacle, Nichols has left us a true gardening classic.

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Author information

Beverley Nichols (1898-1983) was a prolific writer on subjects ranging from religion to politics and travel, in addition to authoring six novels, five detective mysteries, four children's stories, six autobiographies, and six plays. He is perhaps best remembered today for his gardening books. The first of them, Down the Garden Path, centered on his home and garden at Glatton and has been in print almost continuously since 1932. Merry Hall (1951) and its sequels Laughter on the Stairs (1953) and Sunlight on the Lawn (1956) document Nichols's travails in renovating a Georgian mansion and its gardens soon after the war. His final garden was at Sudbrook Cottage, which serves as the setting for Garden Open Today (1963) and Garden Open Tomorrow (1968). The progress of all three gardens was followed avidly by readers of his books and weekly magazine columns.

Review quote

This semiautobiographical story, of Nichols' first bumbling efforts at transforming a neglected property into a garden, was an immediate success and still rings true with amateur gardeners today. -- Lori D. Kranz Bloomsbury Review 20050315 You will definitely be reminded of why you garden. No wonder this book has for so many years been one of the world's best-loved and most-quoted gardening books. -- Ethel Fried Manchester (CT) Journal Inquirer 20050517 Nichols has a wicked sense of humor. I highly recommend this book as a means of relaxing after a hard day and having a good laugh. -- Bobbie Schwartz Buckeye 20051001

Flap copy

"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.