Sunday, July 20, 2008


I have a weakness for gardening books and magazines as I'm sure many gardeners do. What better time to spend looking through the books than hot summer days. A majority of my books are the result of going to Car Boot sales when I am in England. Many people in England do not have a garage therefore cannot have a garage sale. To sell their unwanted items they drive to a large field at the weekend and sell their items from the back of their car. Above are the books I found this year along with a variety of Gardener's World magazine. Who cares if they are issues from several years ago. I had to leave some books in England because I couldn't bring them all, especially the Royal Horticultural Society Book of Plants. Even if I can't grow some of the plants in the books I can feast my eyes and dream.
The other odd items were finds at the grocery store. A couple of hand forks; I have at least 8 of these now. I'm glad these ones have red handles because I am forever losing them around the garden. Why is it so difficult to find this particular tool in Austin? These and the string were the best deals in England. The little plastic coated rings have been a great success for supporting the cucumber on the trellis. I wish I had bought two packets.

On this same trip we visited the gardens at Arley Hall in Cheshire. This was on the recommendation of Zanthan Gardens (MSS). May was a little early for the main flowering but on the herbaceous border the Ceonothus and alliums were in full flower.

However, it was the perfect time to catch the Rhododendrons and Azaleas in full bloom. What a sight! Now this is one plant we can not grow in Austin because of the alkalinity of our soil. Well, in a pot maybe, but it is not even worth trying to amend the soil as it would eventually revert with the alkaline water.

Walking round the nursery at Arley I was delighted to spot the following plant for sale.

It is nice to look back on those cooler days spent in England in May and look forward to the Fall gardening days in Austin.


  1. The "boot" sales sound like fun, and the garden is a treat. How nice to see a big display of a plant that we can't grow ourselves. That's how I felt at Chanticleer seeing the hydrangeas in bloom.

  2. Oh, Arley Hall looks fabulous. One of my goals is to make it to England just to spend a month touring the gardens.

    I've been meaning to ask whether there are any particular garden books that you would recommend, particularly books focusing on design. I love the way that you've laid out your gardens, and I'd love to figure out a better approach to my own. Right now it's just borders around the edges of the yard, and I'd like to figure out the best way to divide everything up into more intimate spaces.

  3. That last picture of the clematis for sale perfectly illustrates how "universal" gardening is.

    A 'car boot sale' sounds like a lot of fun, especially if gardening books and magazines are involved, another weakness of mine as well. I've cataloged all my gardening books on it's easier to look there to see if I have a book than to scan all the bookshelves here.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  4. Pam and Carol- I don't go to garage sales but I love the Car Boot sales. It's those books that are the draw. Carol- how many shelves of books do you have?
    Lori-I'm on the road at the moment so I'll get back to you when I get home with a few ideas for design books.

  5. I too use a hand fork all the time in the garden. I like getting down to plant level and the little fork is just right for digging out invasive weed roots from amng the perennials. Red handles are an excellent idea, I'm forever losing mine!!!
    I have two - one very smart stainless steel wooden handle - keep it for 'best' whenever that is. The other I found when clearing up a compost heap in the garden of the cottage I'd just bought 20 years ago!

    Thanks for visiting my blog - I'll let you know when the competition winner is announced (is it you? wait and see!!!)


  6. As an Englishman transplanted into Austin (13 years), I enjoyed reading this post. Car-Boot sales are huge all over the UK and are a lot of fun, sort of like tailgating over here, a little community.
    Arley Hall looks pretty amazing and will most definately be on my list on my next trip home to my family.

  7. hilary hg49@txwi.netJuly 28, 2008 at 8:45 AM

    Hi,I've commented before as I was a Lancashire girl as well. Reading this post I remember I have about 50 or thereabouts Gardener's World in my storage room. I'm in the cleaning out mode this summer and next time I come down, maybe the other Brit (eastside-patch)and us can meet and I'll give you these magazines. I've read them a lot and know how much it means to have something from England. Everytime I have a friend going back and I'm always begging them to bring me "Malt loaf". I LOVE that and licorice allsorts. Those we can find here but not the malt loaf.
    Anyway, next time I'm down, I'll contact you and see.
    Hilary in Central Texas

  8. I would love some of those magazines. I don't care how old they are. How would we contact.