Posted 20 hours ago

We Made a Garden

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They had married in 1933 after working together at the Daily Mail and while Walter had had gardens of his own in his previous homes, this was the first one Margery had ever been involved with. The Rayburn heated the kitchen and most of the downstairs, gave us scalding hot water, cooked most of our food and warmed our buns. Margery Fish is entertaining and amusing but in this day and age, there is no place for the constant mentioning of Walter, the absolute domineering, tyrannical gobshite of a husband that not only disallowed Margery any autonomy in the garden, but actively delighted in wrecking her plans by pulling up plants, throwing soil from his projects on her work and generally berating her for every idea mentioned! Before us, an elderly lady had rented the house from an unpleasant London Company and they, having only recently bought the freehold, did little to improve her lot.

The battle with horsetails will never end, the butterfly bush mostly feeds bugs, the escalonia requires a firm hand to prevent it taking over the world.

It is written in a lovely informal style discussing her successes and failures as she created her garden. Used books have different signs of use and might not include supplemental materials such as CDs, Dvds, Access Codes, charts or any other extra material. Fish’s aspiration to cultivate that most precious and slow-growing quality—the fundamental character of a good garden. In this way, Margery Fish describes how her husband corrected her method of staking plants by mutilating her flowers, tying ropes around their stems so tightly "that they looked throttled" (31).

Fish, i often found myself running out to the garden right after reading something smart to put in practice. A good gardening book with plenty of handy tips, plant suggestions (some albeit a bit dated) and admissions of mistakes to let you avoid the same pitfalls!

But, as her health deteriorated, tending a big kitchen garden became too much for her and the plot slipped into neglect. She’d complained about it, apparently, to no avail but we soon discovered the source and it was easy enough to fix – had the unpleasant London Company bothered to help their elderly, sickly tenant. Yes, she absolutely does have a sense of humour, particularly over her own mistakes – such an attractive trait in both life and writing! This rear garden, the main garden to the cottage, was some way away: across a smaller garden behind the house, then hang a right, open the pale blue gate and pass down a narrow passage.

But I didn't but it for that, I bought it because it's a beautiful, beautiful book and because I wanted inspiration for my allotment.No treasure chest, no skeleton chained to a wall, no ghostly dancing lights… but hey, an extra room is always going to be a good enough find, even if the ceiling wasn’t high enough to stand upright. Mrs Woolf, wife of the manager, is a very celebrated author and, in her own way, more important than Galsworthy.

I am always weak on watering and Margery's habit of using a syringe to water new wall plants, stuffed into a crevice and then surrounded by moss is impressive and salutary. Fish negotiate the terrain of their garden, by turns separately and together, often with humorous collisions. Fresh starts, hidden rooms, difficulties that turn into assets, wicked landlords, fairy godmothers who compost. All used books might have various degrees of writing, highliting and wear and tear and possibly be an ex-library with the usual stickers and stamps. This sounds lovely — reminds me of my mother who is an avid gardener and is happiest when pottering.

Read more about the condition Very Good: A book that has been read and does not look new, but is in excellent condition.

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