Saturday, October 6, 2012

Down the Garden Path

Beverley Nichols's garden
in Allways, Huntingdonshire, England
Oh lovely. More Beverley Nichols with Down the Garden Path which was written 20 years before he bought Merry Hall and wrote about restoring that Georgian house and its gardens. 

Now I am transported to 1930s England to a small village which Mr. Nichols calls Allways. He has just purchased - pretty much sight unseen - a thatched cottage on a country lane. He once visited the cottage and remembered the gardens as bursting with blossoms. Not so now. Here is how he describes the garden upon his arrival:

I stepped through the window. Stopped dead. Blinked...Looked again...and the spirit seemed to die within me.

It was a scene of utter desolation. True, it was a cold evening in late March, and the shadows were falling. No garden can be expected to look its best in such circumstances. But this garden did not look like a garden at all. There was not even a sense of order about it. All design was lacking. Even in the grimmest winter days a garden can give an appearance of discipline, and a certain amount of life and colour, no matter how wild the winds nor dark the skies. But this garden was like a rubbish heap.

Oh dear. Mr. Nichols does have his work cut out for him. How wonderful for me. I get to dig about in the garden with him without getting my fingernails dirty. 

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