I got my first glimpse of this rabbit hole on Friday afternoon, when I arrived home just before dusk and spied a bag hanging on the front door knob. Inside was a book "The Garden that I Love" by Alfred Austin (Macmillian and Co., LTD, 1896) with a note from my garden designer. She left it for me as a remembrance of my Mom.
I have no idea where she got it or how she knew of it, but that's okay, when the universe sends a treasure like this, one shouldn't ask too many questions.
For a book that is 116 years old, it is very good condition, with gold letters on a dark green cover and gold edging on the pages. It is the perfect size for holding and reading.
I am merely 50 pages in, but can tell you that if it were not for other commitments and responsibilities, I would be finished with all 168 pages by now.
Nearly as fascinating as the book are some of the reviews included in the back of this fifth edition of the book.
Daily Telegraph ~ "Mr. Alfred Austin has produced in The Garden that I Love (Macmillan) a little book full of delightful prose interspersed with equally charming poetry, the whole radiant with wit and mirth and delicate fancy... The scientific pomologist may be glad to know how the author protects his orchard from grubs, and the lover of dainty poetry will certainly thank him for such a gem as the verses beginning 'Had I a Garden'".
Literary World ~ "The most fragrant and refreshing book that we have had the happiness to review for many a long month... The Garden that I Love is a book to be thankful for. It is beautiful. It goes very close to perfection."
Why has it taken so long for me to discover this treasure?
It is full of prose such as, "For there is no gardening without humility, an assiduous willingness to learn, and a cheerful readiness to admit you were mistaken. Nature is continually sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder. But, by the due exercise of patience and diligence, they may work their way to the top again."
I think that is a nearly perfect description of what gardening with Nature is like, don't you?
Good-bye for now, for I must finish reading this book and the sequel "In Veronica's Garden" which I've downloaded as an eBook to read on my iPad.* After all, according to National Review ~ "A delightful book, which will be cordially welcomed by those who enjoyed "The Garden that I Love". It has no mission, settles no problems, and is content to be charming, simple, and pleasure-giving."
Doesn't that sound like the perfect book?
*Yes, I'll confess, I found a decently priced used copy of "In Veronica's Garden" and ordered it. It's coming to me from England so while I wait for it, I'll read it online.