Well this is number 10 of the 20-volume of Penguin’s English Journeys series and it will be my last for a while. I had intended to read all 20 in the month of April. I thought a series of books on the English countryside would be an interesting and appropriate thing to read as nature was coming to life outside. And indeed there were moments when that was exactly the case. But rather than each book adding another happy dimension to my enjoyment of the English countryside, it all became a bit samey. I still intend to finish the series, but I think I need to take them in smaller doses. Maybe I will give myself until April of 2011 to finish off the final 10 volumes.
It is unfortunate or at least unfair that I should make this declaration as part of my review of Gertrude Jekyll’s The Beauties of a Cottage Garden as her writing is decidedly more enjoyable than some in this series. My husband is a huge fan of Jekyll and is quite the gardener himself. Over the last five years he has turned our 12’ x 16’ terrace into an English country garden that you would never guess was all grown in pots. You can imagine how excited he is to be moving to a new house with a big yard with lots of room to garden. Jekyll effectively sums up the heart and mind of a true gardener:
But the lesson I have learnt, and with to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives. I rejoice when I see any one, and especially children, inquiring about flowers, and wanting gardens of their own, and carefully working in them. For the love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies, but always grows and grows to an enduring and ever-increasing source of happiness.These snaps of our terrace garden from last summer kind of proves Jekyll's point. Lack of actual ground didn't keep John from following his passion.