Garden Open Tomorrow by Beverley Nichols was first published in 1968 although my copy is a Country Book Club publication from 1972.
Beverley Nichols was of course a well known garden writer and he also appeared on TV but he was just a bit before my time I think, I certainly don’t ever remember him being on TV. Percy Thrower was the first TV garden presenter in my life. But I’ve really enjoyed the Nichols books that I’ve read, particularly his early 1930s series of four books about his life in the country and the making of his homes and gardens.
Garden Open Tomorrow feels very much like a series of newspaper articles to me, I know he wrote for gardening magazines so possibly it is a compilation of those articles. There’s a lot more botany involved than in his other books I think, no bad thing mind you.
By this time he was spending quite a lot of time in America, this book begins:
‘The weather in England’ – so wrote my friends with monotonous persistence throughout the cruel winter – ‘is quite indescribable.’ Whereupon they proceed in great detail to describe it.
I was out of it all, lecturing in America, where the weather so they assumed, was not ‘indescribable’. In a sense they were right. It would have been easy for example to write a description of the tornado which hit Detroit at fourteen below zero, at the precise moment of my arrival, lifting me bodily into the air and depositing me in a gutter full of slush, whence I was removed to hospital in an ambulance, x-rayed, bandaged, and inoculated against lockjaw.
This isn’t my favourite of Beverley Nichols’ books but it’s still well worth reading if you’re interested in gardening and amusing general chit chat.