Gardener’s nightcap – Muriel Stuart



As a newly inspired gardener, I was pleased to be reminded of Gardener’s nightcap by this review by Rambling Fancy during Persephone Reading Week. This is a lovely little book to dip into, a nightcap indeed. I can imagine a true gardener having this on their bedside table & reading a couple of pieces a night before they fall asleep to dream of their gardens. The illustrations by Philip Gough are lovely & it has one of the prettiest endpapers of any of the Persephones. Someone during PRW asked which endpaper fabric we’d like to have made up into a dress or blouse. Well, this is one of my favourites along with the lovely fabric from The Far Cry (which is or used to be available from the Persephone Shop). As there’s no plot, I thought I’d just quote a few extracts that give a flavour of the book’s charm,

Cut the marrows when they are six inches long, & you have a delicate dish. Of course if you grow your marrows as large as Zeppelins there is no help for you. They must cumber the ground as usual.

Yet the first duty of a garden is quietude – a place where peace may be fostered, where the eye, wounded by the glare of modern roads & modern houses, may rest upon grey shadow & green shade. But from the noisy street one is so often led into the noisy garden.

The Colt’s Foot is enchantingly named Son-before-Father, because its flowers always appear before the leaves. Its name Colt’s Foot refers to the large hoof-shaped leaves, the resemblance being probably strengthened by the shaggy flower stems.

I felt I was being led through a gorgeous garden by a very knowledgeable host, full of her own opinions but willing to give good advice to the novice gardener.

I’m spending the day in town tomorrow. I’m off to see the Rupert Bunny exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. Then, a bowl of noodles at the Chocolate Buddha & a concert by the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra at the new Recital Centre. I’ve booked tickets for four of the MCO’s Sunday afternoon series this year. They’re playing some of my favourite pieces including the Beethoven & Mendelssohn violin concertos. Tomorrow it’s one of the Bach violin concertos & Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for strings among other works. I’m looking forward to seeing the Recital Centre too as it will be my first visit.

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