Clare Hastings came to the joys of gardening later in her life – something I feel she regrets deeply – and in this book passes on advice to her daughter, Calypso, in hopes that she will be less daunted and will come earlier to gardening and, as any mother would wish, have a lifelong pastime which brings pleasure, peace and happiness.
Gardening was a family passion which Clare approached with a certain apprehension. Her mother, an accomplished gardener and formidable personality, lived next door and rather than being supportive was more inclined to the caustic remark when she visited. It would seem fair to say that Clare was not encouraged but rather that there was an assumption that she should simply be able to get on with gardening as though it were something which came naturally and instinctively. Perhaps it is because Clare realises that such was not her case and might well not be the case for her daughter that she has written this book full of little gardening nuggets of information and advice, of humorous anecdotes and witty comments, of gentle encouragement and even the light-hearted suggestion that she would like to remain on as a ghost in the garden – a certain threat to Calypso that she had better get on with this gardening lark!
This is a light-hearted book, not a book of serious content or reference. It’s a book of “Look, there’s really nothing to it; just have a go!” It’s a book which says that gardening is for relaxation and enjoyment, for fun and games – oh, yes, you are still allowed to curse weeds and pests but, really, these are not major issues in life and the joy of gardening outweighs them handsomely.
The title of the last chapter is “Just go for it…in the garden” and that about sums it up!
[Gardening notes from a Late Bloomer, Clare Hastings with drawings by Osbert Lancaster, Pimpernel Press, 2018, Hardback, 128 pages, £12.99, ISBN: 978-1-91025898-9]