Shoots, Old Tips
As Heard on BBC Radio 4
Distributed by Bookwise
New Shoots, Old Tips
started out as a couple of radio series for the BBC broadcast in
2001 and 2002. Now designer/author Caroline Holmes has plucked her
gems on the timeless quality of gardening back from the airwaves
and put them into print.
The modest book is a
thoroughly researched ramble through garden history and lore laced
with the author's wry humour. However, the array of gardening "sources"
threatens to become a little overwhelming, among others: Thomas
Jefferson, Virgil, Sam Beeton, John Claudius Loudon (publisher of
the 1822 Encyclopaedia of Gardening and founder of Gardener's
Magazine, Thomas Rivers (19th-century fruit breeder extraordinaire),
the plant hunter Robert Fortune (who introduced the Chinese gooseberry
to New Zealand) and even Peter Rabbit and Popeye.
We learn snippets to
drop into conversation: the word salad stems from the Italian zelada,
"a dish devised to the festivities in 15th-century Milan, consisting
of a salty ragout." and that "basil thrives on dead men's entrails".
The illustrations, many
culled from long ago garden treatises and catalogues, will intrigue
the garden historian. These and the choice of photos lift the book
(among favourites is a stern group of Edwardian garden staff and
a small girl pushing a barrow, circa 1920). A fascinating read if
you're right into garden history: others may find it heavier going.
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH