"It's gardening that's needed here..."

Just some pretty flowers from before it dried up here.
Earlier this summer I started reading mysteries by Agatha Christie, particularly those that feature Miss Jane Marple as the detective/sleuth/mystery solver.

I was lured into reading the first Miss Jane Marple mystery, Nemesis, by a co-worker who said I should read it because it involved a garden tour.

As though my criteria for whether or not I read a book, any book, is whether or not it involves something gardening related? (Absolutely!)

I took the bait and accepted the suggestion to read Nemesis. I did enjoy it as it did involve a garden tour.

Then I received a second suggestion to read Sleeping Murders because this also involved a garden of sorts.

At this point, I realized I had read the last two Agatha Christie mysteries featuring Miss Jane Marple. That seemed a bit incomplete to me, so I started reading all of them, this time reading them in chronological order. (No, not all at once, one at a time.)  So far, I've read The Murder at the Vicarage, The Body in the Library, and The Moving Finger and am currently reading A Murder is Announced.

I've been stuck on the last book, A Murder is Announced, for several weeks. Or rather I paused my reading of it to read Tell About Night Flowers: Eudora Welty's Gardening Letters 1940-1949 edited by Julia Eichelberger.

Halfway through reading Tell About Night Flowers I wanted to grow camellias, at least one or three, even though they are not hardy here.  In fact, over the weekend, I put three camellias in an online cart and almost hit the "buy" button.  But I didn't. I decided if I still have a hankering for camellias in the spring, I'll buy one or three then. (An open invitation to southern gardeners to convince me to at least try to grow a camellia or three!)

Having finished reading Tell About Night Flowers, I am back to reading A Murder is Announced. It has a few nice quotes about gardening and gardeners in it.  All the Miss Jane Marple murder mysteries seem to have nice quotes about gardening in them.

There's this one: "...remember that an elderly unmarried woman who knits and gardens is streets ahead of any detective sargeant."  Well, now. I just need to first get a little, really a lot older and second learn to knit and I'll be able to solve all the mysteries in my neighborhood.

And this one:  "But it's gardening that's needed here. And that isn't learned in a day. Gardening, that's what this place needs."

Isn't that the perfect line to use when someone asks you, a gardener, to look over their yard and tell them what to do with it? They want it to be a nice garden, right now.  Just place your hands on your hips and state loudly, "it's gardening that's needed here.  And that isn't learned in a day."  Then they'll know there are no quick fixes when it comes to a messed up yard.  "it's gardening that's needed here..."

There are more quotes related to gardening throughout the Agatha Christie mysteries feature Miss Jane Marple. But that's enough for one post. I'm going back to reading now, reading all about how Miss Jane Marple solves mysteries, while knitting and of course, gardening.

"It's gardening that's needed here."


  1. I love that quote and will be using it from now on, thanks, Carol and Agatha! Needing some good bedtime reading literature, it seems the Miss Marple books would be just the ticket. And I will begin at the beginning, to better know what is going on. Thanks for that, as well.

  2. That is a great quote and I cannot wait to see how Frances uses it. I haven't read an Agatha Christie book in a few decades...But, they were great fun. xogail

  3. That is an adorable quote. It's gardening that's needed here indeed!!! I love that you're reading her mysteries. I enjoyed them so much, and I read them over again occasionally.~~Dee

  4. I love that quote, too. It makes me want to put it on a sign and move it to whichever bed looks the worst at the moment.

  5. I love the MIss Marple mysteries, on the page and on the screen - especially when Joan Hickson takes on the character. Like Kathy I look at my own September garden and think there are any number of spots shout Gardening is needed here! But temperatures are in the 90s today, so gardening is not likely to happen.

  6. When you're done with Miss Marple, you have quite a treat in store with Hercule Poirot, another of Agatha's sleuthing characters. He was quite the gardener, which isn't always obvious in his stories, but in "How Does Your Garden Grow?", he is at the Chelsea Flower Show where a new rose is being named after him. An elderly woman slips a seed packet into his breast pocket and the mystery begins.

    In "Sad Cypress", he solves a mystery using his knowledge of the thornless rose "Zepherine Drouhin". Great reads, all!

  7. LostRoses, You are bad! Now I have to read those mysteries, too. But you knew that when you posted your commented, didn't you?

  8. Oh, it's much worse than that, Carol. Another whole series of garden mystery books to read is Ann Ripley's. They start with "Mulch", and other titles are "Death of a Garden Pest", "Death in the Orchid Garden", "Summer Garden Murder", "Death of a Political Plant", etc. They feature the same gardening housewife, Louise Eldridge, who stumbles from murder mystery to murder mystery. Quite good. Still in print and paperback on Amazon.

  9. Nobody wants to discuss Camellias with you? The Victorians grew them under glass. It isn't that Camellias can't take cold, the shrubs manage nicely when we have that rare 15 degrees overnight freeze but the open flowers die. You might start with just one, potted and on wheels, that you can keep inside in the worst weather.

    I have seedlings, my new craze. Someone told me they grow from seeds as easily as zinnias. They do; it just takes longer for them to sprout and even longer (years) to see a bloom.


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