Favorite 'old' books about gardening
Leaving aside Beverley Nichols (whose books were listed in a different thread), I have a few really delightful first-person gardening books written in days gone by. I've put in a snippet from each, after the title/author/year(publisher, location).
Play and Profit in My Garden, by Rev. E.P. Roe
1886 (The O. Judd Company, USA)
from the Preface:
This is not a scientific work, as the reader will soon discover. I know that lofty minds will pass it by in silent disdain. I have not tried to make the world wiser. Let the wise do that. .... My style, I fear, is like my garden, which grows successfully many weeds while attempting something useful. I never could write a manual any more than I could work steadily in my garden at one thing all day. I always did like to weed near the strawberry bed or the raspberries, on the same principle. I fear that when a boy I enjoyed sitting near the choir, where I could glance at the pretty singers during the dry passages of the sermon. Do we not need occasional relaxation from the severe duties of life?
Weeds Are More Fun, by Priscilla Hovey Wright
1941 (Hale, Cushman and Flint, Boston)
from the chapter entitled "Pests: Several Kinds"
The gardener no sooner recovers from the ordeal of planting, and somehow or other lives through those anxious days of wondering whether the seeds are ever going to come up or not, and enjoys a few moments of doubtful pleasure when he discovers a few of them ARE coming up, than fresh woe is upon him. No sooner does a nice fresh green flower sprout show itself than at least six bugs of one sort or another are ready to make mincemeat of it.
A Sense of Humus, by Bertha Damon
1943 (Simon & Schuster, NY)
from the chapter "Ad Astra Per Exaspera"
New Hampshire, I found, may be said to have but three seasons: a three-month summer, a three-month fall, and a six-month winter. .... Samule and the rest of us know by annual experience that if winter comes, spring can be pretty darned far behind. We have the word "spring" but not the season, for March is midwinter, April is late winter, and May is winter and summer mixed. .... A garden in the Bay region [of California] began to lok in a few months as if it had been established two years. When I came to New Hampshire I held in common with countless other beginners that to make a plant grow all you do is dig a hold in the "dirt", put the plant in, pour on some water, and leave it; God does the rest. Well, He does in some places, but not here. In New Hampshire He gives us the privilege of more or less working things out for ourselves. Or else.
Old Herbaceous, by Reginald Arkell
1951 (Harcourt Brace & Co, NY)
This one is a novel, actually. From the flyleaf:
This is the story of a gardener, from the day when he won a price for wild flowers at the village show, to the day when he himself was judging flower shows all over the county; from the day when he refused to follow his schoolmates to a job as a farmhand and won the post of garden boy at the Big House, to the day when he could sit back among his cushions in his little cottage and criticize the younger generation's attitude toward tulips.
What are some of everyone else's favorite "old" gardening-related books?