Edward Enfield has only ever had one garden, but his dealings with it have extended over half a century. He came to his three quarters of an acre knowing nothing about growing anything, and this book is an account of his horticultural successes and failures, inventions and frustrations, discoveries and developments. With wry humour, he leads us through the thorny subject of roses, counts the blessings of keeping chickens, and exposes the perfidy of gardening copywriters, while offering wise and witty tips on how best to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
©2011 Edward Enfield (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
The recently released audiobook, Growing to a Ripe Old Age: 50 Years in the Garden, by Edward Enfield, is a delightful, witty and very humorous work which regales us with anecdotes of 50 years of gardening in his ‘rather large’ 3/4acre garden. Edward Enfield (father of comedian Harry Enfield) was a British Assistant Director of Education before making a life change, in 1994, to work as a radio and television presenter, newspaper columnist and author of radio plays, travel diaries and autobiographical works. His latest work, this gardening reminiscence, is built on the “successes and failures, inventions and frustrations that have brought the garden to its current very satisfactory state”. Enfield starts by admitting that his main gardening management strategy is ‘delegation’ and the tales that follow indicate delegation to both his wife and a series of professional gardeners at different times! Each chapter takes a wry look at significant gardening subjects such as roses – the process of planting a rose comes after the process of choosing it; the minimalist garden – I never thought of anything along this line until it was too late; enemies and strategies – there are two main types of wasp killer, the one that works and the one that doesn’t; the herbaceous border – a present from each to the other for their 50th wedding anniversary, (along with a professional gardener to look after it); and more. On the subject of ‘organic’ gardening he is quick to point out that even the early proponents of the natural approach were not averse to the “slaughtering of insects, on a large scale”, and goes on to give the recommended recipe for nicotine insect spray (how can this be so very different to just using DDT!). His exclamation on the horrors of “the netting and grinding up of fish to make a fertiliser we can very well do without” is quite hilarious.
Growing to a Ripe Old Age... is also available in print but the charm of this story is in the telling.
Pleasant summer ramblings
His wife and the bonfires
It made me want to get out into the garden but with a comfy chair and a glass or two of something chilled.
If you like this try a book titled One man and his dig.
Wonderfully English, calm, witty and wise with gentle humour. Bill Wallis, with his art of reading with emphasis and dry humour in all the right places is the icing on the cake. Mr Enfield is the knowledgeable companion I'd like to garden with, he tells you all the things from his experience that you wish you'd known years ago, and shares it generously and with warmth. I can't rate this audio book highly enough.
Like all of Edward Enfield's books I have read or heard, this is a little gem. Imagine perhaps you have an uncle or grand dad who has wonderful tales to tell about being alive and the simple joy of living. Not about spies or earth shattering love affairs, this is more about the joy of real asparagus and green beans and the kind of life each of us could live if we wanted.
"Mildly funny from someone completely out of touch"
It was funny in some places, but if the author really believes what he is saying in relation to much of his gardening advice, its really quite dubious. He has some good stories, Bill Wallis' performance is (as always) superb, it makes a mildly interesting listen, but I wouldn't recommend purchasing it if you have something else on your list.
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