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Merry Hall (Beverley Nichols Trilogy Book 1) Hardcover – Illustrated, March 1, 1998
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Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
His real energy goes into his opinions, which-like those of most English garden lovers-are unshaded by doubt. -- Katherine A. Powers, The Boston Globe, May 21, 2000
Nichols' particular gift is to entertain, enlighten, and enrich his readers. -- Stephanie Feeney, The American Gardener, May/June 1998
Nichols's wit and silly adventures...add a bit of welcome hilarity to the all-too-serious literature of gardening. -- Anne Raver, New York Times, February 27, 2000
Top Customer Reviews
To the unknowing, Nichols narrative may seem a bit too cheerful, frivolous, or shallow, but his book is intended to entertain the reader--this is gardening mind you not the aftermath of war. To the extent he able to do so, Nichols kept the events in the DAILY MAIL out of his gardening books. As a result, some readers today can mistakenly think him an English prig who had no concern for life outside his own back yard.
MERRY HALL begins one afternoon when Nichols and his 'man' Gaskin stumble across a derelict Georgian manor house and it's grounds. Nichols is overcome with a desire to restore the house and rebuild the grounds. He has been living in London and until that fateful day was more or less settled, but now he wants to "move beyond the Tudor world" and into the world of the Georgian Manor House. He buys Merry Hall and thus begins his adventure.
MERRY HALL was written about six years into the project. By that time Nichols had undertaken the restoration of the foul smelling pond just off the music room and won the support of the able Oldfield, the gardener who came with the house and grounds. The book is an interesting mixture of personal anectdote, observations about the various neighbors who have their own opinions of what Nichols ought to restore the house and grounds, insights into elements of garden design, practical advice about various bulbs, shrubs, garden ornaments such as urns and benches, and observations about greenhouses and cats.
You must read for yourself how to deal with an overgrown holly hedge, and how to plant hundreds of trees without buying them, and what berberis can do for you, and why you should cultivate periwinkle...
I'm sure you'll be delighted with the finely drawn sketches of the real people populating the story: the characters of gardeners, society ladies, and men who work for the government in a clearly covert and somewhat sinister capacity. You'll enjoy the cats, the lilies, and how to create an English country garden from a neglected and ill directed site.
The gentle humor reflects the gentler times before the horrors of World War 2 brought violence, destruction, and death into the hearts and homes of most of Britain.
This book is a keeper!