An Old Gardening Book Full Of Wisdom And Humor

An Old Gardening Book Full Of Wisdom And Humor

This is rather different from the articles I usually quote but I found it fascinating and so hope you will too. The book is The Gardener’s Year by Karel Capek published in 1929 in Prague with an English version in London in 1931 in which he combines his passion for gardening with his humorous writing. I came across this in an article by Larry Rettig which I found on Dave’s Garden website.

This is the second in an informal series of articles I will be writing on underappreciated or little-known gardeners who deserve our appreciation and who increase our knowledge and enjoyment of a gardener’s life.

O Lord, grant that in some way it may rain every day, say from about midnight until three o’clock in the morning, but you see, it must be gentle and warm so that it can soak in; grant that at the same time it would not rain on campion, alyssum, helianthemum, lavender, and the others which you in your infinite wisdom know are drought-loving plants–I can write their names on a bit of paper if you like–and grant that the sun may shine the whole day long, but not everywhere…and not too much; that there may be plenty of dew and little wind, enough worms, no plant-lice and snails, no mildew, and that once a week, thin liquid manure and guano may fall from Heaven. Amen. -Karel apek, The Gardener’s Year, 1929
In a small, 120-page tome called The Gardener’s Year (original Czech version: Prague, 1929; English version: London, 1931, Modern Library paperback: New York, 2002), apek partners his humorous side with his passion for gardening. The result is a charming treatise, full of wit and hilarity, that plays on the the psychology of gardening and gardeners. He pokes fun not only at other gardeners but, being one, at himself as well. Here is a sampling of his tongue-in-cheek humor:

On How to Recognize a Real Gardener
” ‘You must come to see me, he says, ‘I will show you my garden.’ Then, when you go just to please him, you will find him with his rump sticking up somewhere among the perennials. ‘I will come in a moment,’ he shouts to you over his shoulder. ‘Just wait till I have planted this rose.’ ‘Please don’t worry,’ you say kindly to him. After a while he must have planted it, for he gets up, makes your hand dirty, and beaming with hospitality he says: ‘Come and have a look; it’s a small garden, but–Wait a moment,’ and he bends over a bed to weed some tiny grass. ‘Come along, I will show you Dianthus musalae, it will open your eyes. Great Scott, I forgot to loosen it here!’ he says, and begins to poke in the soil. A quarter of an hour later he straightens up again. ‘Ah,’ he says, ‘I wanted to show you that bell flower, Campanula wilsonae. That is the best campanula which–Wait a moment, I must tie up this delphinium.’ After he has tied it up he remembers: ‘Oh, I see, you have come to see that erodium. A moment,’ he murmurs, ‘I must just transplant this aster, it hasn’t enough room here.’ After that you go away on tiptoe, leaving his behind sticking up among the perennials…”

See more at Dave’s Garden

I am a keen gardener and so created Garden Pics and Tips for people who love gardens and enjoy great pictures of plants and gardens. Also covered are practical tips on all aspects of gardening.