I managed to successfully bid on an old book by Mr Middleton on ebay and l now have it in my possession.
It doesn’t have its dust jacket and there is a small burn mark on the cover, probably when someone who was smoking was so engrossed in reading the latest gardening advice.
So, at 68 years old, how does the book stand up to current gardening advice? Well, very good as it turns out with some lovely stories from letters that he had been sent in from the general public. I will be using this book a lot and upon closer inspection l have noticed that the text in the calendar has been taken from this book.
So what has he got to say for the month of April?
Reminders for April
Anybody heard the cuckoo yet? Neither have l; but still l suppose he ought to be about due now. And the spring flowers are also due, and there is a blue lining to the grey skies, so prepare to get busy. Presently the garden will be such a blaze of glory that we shall be able to forget about Jack Frost and muddy boots and spades, and have nothing to do but revel in the scent of wallflowers and daffodils.
He goes on to talk about beetroot, salads, pests and fruit and finishes with this:
And, by the way, if you are putting up any rustic work- as so many of you are- do make a good job of it. There is far too much flimsy stuff going up all over the place. And be careful to remove the bark from the poles; especially from the top cross-pieces. When l first built my rustic arbour l didn’t trouble to take the bark off- l never thought of it, as a matter of fact; and a couple of summers ago we had a lady staying with us, and she was sitting uner the arbour with the roses all round her, doing her knitting, and l think her mind was drifting into the realms of poetry or romance or something like that, and all was peace. All of a sudden she let off such a yell- it must have been heard all over the neighbourhood- threw her knitting in one direction and herself in another, then rushed indoors, and we didn’t see her again for an hour or two. An earwig had dropped down her back. In due course l discovered that the loose bark on the rustic work was responsible- it was full of the beastly things, and if l had only taken the bark off when l put the rustic work up, that tragedy would have been avoided. So there’s no reason why you should make a similar mistake, after a warning like that, is there?
More next month!