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I saw the other day some one referring to Percy Thrower,(I have his Books) and wondering if his information still stands.I have an old book that belonged to my mother  called " out lines of a small garden" by C.H.Middleton printed in 1945 ,with black and white photos.The information in it I do still use but not all of it but it is interesting to see gardening in this period and the changes now.I do have a stack of books and of course Monty dons is just one of them,but this old book has something about it,maybe its simplicity of a bygone age .image



  • jo4eyesjo4eyes Posts: 2,058

    I now possess a copy, very tatty now, of 'Adam the gardener'. Circa 1954 via Daily Express I thnk. Some of the basics are still useful.

    Am ashamed to say that as a small child I was a scribbler in books image but must have been interested even then! J.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,925

    A lot of the information is still valid - pruning roses and apple trees is still pruning roses and apple trees, and how to make compost etc hasn't changed although the types of compost bin available have.

    However, a lot of the pesticides and treatments recommended in the past are now unavailable (thank goodness).  I clearly remember as a child helping my mother to dust Brussels sprout plants with DDT image as one of the gardening programmes had recommended - it's a wonder that some of us are still here!!!  

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,249

    II have a reasonable memory and have read a lot of the old gardening books, It is amusing to see the same old passages being written in modern books where the new author has just lifted passages from the old books. Ask yourself, how can someone of the age of the modern author have been around gardening long enough to have the experience they claim when writing their books? I often wonder how much of their 'knowledge' is book learning.

  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892
    Berghill wrote (see)

    ... Ask yourself, how can someone of the age of the modern author have been around gardening long enough to have the experience they claim when writing their books? ..

    You can also make similar speculations about many television presenters, and what they say, and pretend to be knowledgable about.

    I sometimes think that some TV presenters are just reading material that has been researched by someone else, from something that they found on the internet.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,925

    Berghill and Georg, I do think that's a little unfair - we all learn from others - that's how we progress - we wouldn't get very far if every generation had to re-invent the wheel would we?

    I'm quite happy to pass on tips I've learned from others who have had more or different experience than I do and whose opinions I respect - don't you do the same?

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,249

    There is a difference between learning from the experience of others and wholesale copying of material and presenting it as ones own. That is what I was commenting on. To prove it to myself once, I found the passge in a modern book and found exactly, word for word, the same passage in a book from the early 1900's. How is that learning from the past? Actually the reason why I looked was that the info was wrong in 1901 too.

  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    What I'm commenting on is that several TV presenters try to pass themselves off as experts, when they are nothing of the kind.

    I've often seen TV presenters show some technique, or recommend some plant, when I've tried that myself, and know that it doesn't work.

    Dovefromabove wrote (see)

    .. whose opinions I respect ...

    This is the key point.

    Whose opinions do you respect?

    There are some TV gardening presenters whose knowledge and opinions I do respect, and there are many that I do not.

  • And learning from others on a site like this. I hate it when presenters talk about small gardens and it looks huge compared with mine.
  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Books are for reference as they are written for a particular type of gardening, vegetable, floral, decorative, jungle and can only give a general over view.
    Each of our gardens will be unique with its own micro climate, soil conditions and how it was used before falling into our gentle hands, a building site or well tended.
    Having seen them all Percy Thrower like my father gardening in jacket and tie, double digging and removing every weed, Geoff Hamilton, a man after my own heart never throwing anything away in case there was a use for it later, and the modern boy wonders, cover it all in decking instant plants and rainbow paints.
    They all write books of which I have one or two bought as Christmas presents and they all appear to use passages from older books putting a more modern twist to it, although the falling to bits books are the very old ones I have had years.
    People are coming back to real gardening for economic reasons or to taste fresh food as it should be, they need to be guided, any book will have some good tips or information for new comers though they will get much better information from the older generations who have made all the mistakes and learned from them on boards such as this.
    My advice is search through the charity shops and find a selection of books, you will often find they have never been opened and the best ones Royal Horticultural Society books giving lots of information go for cherry bobs. Just remember even the best books will only give you guidelines for your own particular patch.


  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,249

    Very true.

    I am told that the modern book with the copied passage was one of the ones sent to the Charity shop as being less than useful.

    I am trying to find a passage in one very old book. The gentleman writes that he caught a group of youngsters stealing apples from his orchard. He rounded them up and CANED them, girls and all. Imagine what would happen if one did that now!

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