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There are books about gardens and books about gardening, and there are also books about the gardener. The first category is known to anyone with a specific interest, usually in historic gardens or in very specific plants, for example, and we have done a few posts on these and related topics here and there. The book below The Gardener’s Essential by Gertrude Jekyll falls into the second category.

img069This fourth printing (year 2000) based on a 1986 Non Pareil book edition is a selection of garden writing by the Grand Old Dame of Gardening with over hundreds of gardens creations to her credit. The British born Gertrude Jekyll, incidentally that old family name appears also as the name of an island of the coast of Georgia (USA) called Jekyll Island, famous in history for the birth place of the US Federal Reserve. As a side note, the best book on the Federal Reserve is The Creature from Jekyll Island by G.Edward Griffin.

Another surprising book, that I find extremely interesting for content, description, also for the heartfelt prose and the profound understanding of human nature, is The Gardener’s Year by Karel Capek.

img037Almost undoubtedly this small hardbound book would have had a dust jacket this copy does not. The original title published in Czech by Karel Capek dates to 1929.

img033img034A first translation appeared in the English language in 1966 by the British publisher George Allen & Unwin Ltd. and this 1984 edition was published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

It is a most welcome edition to books in the English language by Karel Capek (1890-1938) and his equally famous brother Josef Capek (1887-1945), distinguished Anti-Fascists and authors, poets, painters, modernists of the first order, who invented the word robot used in the dystopian play RUR written by Karel Capek and translated into English in 1922. Let’s have a look at some of the illustrations, at random, that I think are witty, remember this is the 1920’s!

The deep understanding, almost a parable, is clearly evident in the chapter about gardening soil shown below.

img056img057It is all here, love of nature, love of the soil, love of native country, understanding of how nature works, and more!

Here are a few more images of a “hard working gardener“.

img059img058An astounding pair those Capek Brothers! Forerunners of a long line of Czech writers like Milan Kundera, Bohumil Hrabal, Jiri Kolar to name a few, and many other superb writers.

In the grand tradition of Kafka, you can test your knowledge by clicking Franz Kafka. Note the quote on the last page of the Kafka Project. We will leave you with this video clip in Prague on a Kafkaesque note picked from Youtube.