• Lilium

Beverley Nichols - Livres du Mois

Updated: Aug 27, 2020




This is the first of the 'Livres du Mois' where on the last Sunday of the month I share books that I have read and discovered or old favourites that are fitting for the season. The books will then be added to a new section of the compendium 'The Library' which holds a catalogue of books including ones from my own personal library or rare books that I wish I owned, all with short bio's and a link of where to buy them or to read them for free online.



I believe after gardening like a mad man this year (like growing 258 snapdragons, I have no idea where I thought I was going to put that many), I find it very necessary to share who was whispering naughty things in my ear that led me to fill the greenhouse to the point of overflowing and have so many trays on the windowsills that the windows couldn't be opened. It is the brilliantly witty Beverley Nichols who I have previously written about in the Bright Young People Series.



It was his series of gardening books that sent me in to such a green-fingered frenzy that I was given apple blossom geraniums for my birthday, for upon reading Merry Hall and Beverley's description of this particular variety of geranium, I have talked of nothing else since. I have been gifted three different varieties by my mother and will share photos of them on Instagram when they flower.



Now let me show you my favourites, which, if I'm completely honest, I failed to narrow down. We will start with Beverley's first trilogy, which he started in 1932, that tells the story of Beverley's Tudor cottage 'Allways' .



 



Down the Garden Path

by

Beverley Nichols




"Down the Garden Path has stood the test of time as one of the world’s best-loved and most-quoted gardening books. 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."



Illustrated by Rex Whistler, I am especially inspired by the 'Antinous Garden'.






 



A Thatched Roof

by

Beverley Nichols




"Nichols' humorous ruminations on life in the countryside, as always, are refreshing. The typical Nichols gardening anecdotes and familiar characters are there, as well as the author's beloved dog, Whoops, an inveterate spy with a habit of leaping to conclusions."



The second book in the Allways trilogy and also beautifully illustrated by Rex Whistler.





 



A Village in a Valley

by

Beverley Nichols



"Set in the English countryside, the hilarious memoir is as much about the author's love for plants as it is about the village in which he lived. The depictions of flowers and ornamentals — "A single one of those gloxinias would be an event in Allways ... I should give a party for it" — are both inspiring and unforgettable. This is the voice of one whose chief endowment is an appreciation for plants and the landscape, including a keen understanding of the importance gardens play in an increasingly modern world."




 




 


Green Grows the City

by

Beverley Nichols




"Anyone who has ever created a garden knows that it is a process replete with drama: there's the feverish excitement of drawing up plans and making lists of plants; the bleak depression of realizing that the plans will have to be altered; the "Eureka!" moment when a brilliant solution presents itself; the grim frustration of dealing with meddlesome neighbors and recalcitrant plants. For Beverley Nichols, making a new garden in a London suburb in the years just before World War II was positively operatic in its emotional trajectory."





 



Merry Hall

by

Beverley Nichols




First in a trilogy, "Merry Hall" is the account of the restoration of a Georgian house and garden that had been butchered by the tasteless previous owner, the late Mr. Stebbing. Beverley must win over the sharp eyed gardener Oldfield and stop his new neighbours from eating all of his vegetables, not to mention the battle of the elms.



Exquisitely Illustrated by William McLaren.




 



Laughter on the Stairs

by

Beverley Nichols




In this, the second volume of the Merry Hall trilogy, Beverley is less concerned with his garden and more with his house, although there are plenty of appearances made by the cantankerous gardener Oldfield. Beverley must get rid of a sinister stained glass window, deal with multiple layers of traumatising wallpaper and must find a way to resist the urge to buy Murano chandeliers with the money set aside to repair the gutters.







 




Sunlight on the Lawn

by

Beverley Nichols




Sunlight on the Lawn brings to a close Beverley Nichols' delightful "Merry Hall" trilogy describing the renovation of his rundown Georgian mansion and its garden. Beverley makes more audacious purchases that makes his valet Gaskin's hair turn white, he moves mountains (literally) and a new fury friend is welcomed into the warm glow of Merry Hall.








 




 



Garden Open Today

by

Beverley Nichols




"When Beverley Nichols first published Garden Open Today in 1963, he was already well known for his "garden adventure" books such as Down the Garden Path and Merry Hall, whose unforgettable characters still live in the imaginations of present-day gardeners. In Garden Open Today, however, Nichols attempted a departure from his previous gardening books; he sought to distill 30 years of practical gardening experience in an entertaining fashion, and perhaps to strike back at critics who whispered that he was not a "real gardener."



 



The Art of Flower Arrangement

by

Beverley Nichols




Beverley Nicholls shares his deep love for flowers and an appreciation of art through the ages. Beverley traces the beginnings of the art of flower arranging from ancient Rome and Egypt through to the Victorians and the 20th century. Published in 1967 with colour illustrations and photographs this book is full of beautiful imagery and matched by equally beautiful words.







 



Garden Open Tomorrow

by

Beverley Nichols




The sequel to his famous Garden Open Today (with its open invitation to readers everywhere to come see his garden for themselves), this is his final garden book and the summation of a long career spent enjoying and writing about gardens. Being Beverley Nichols, however, he cannot confine himself to a narrow discussion of gardening for long and provides entertaining asides on cats - including a hilarious critique of feline "ballet" performances - psychic phenomena, and the use of plants to commit murder.





 


I hope you have discovered, or even rediscovered a book that will bring you hours of enjoyment as it has for myself. Feel free to go over to 'The Library' and peruse its shelves.