Adventures of a Gardener by Peter Smithers

As Heard on The Daily Gardener Podcast:

Copy of Grow That #Garden Library (3)

It's time to Grow That Garden Library with today's book: Adventures of a Gardener by Peter Smithers.

Sir Peter Smithers, was a British politician and diplomat, but also an award-winning gardener. He worked as a British spy during World War II.  Smithers was said to have inspired the fictional character of James Bond.

His obituary stated that:

"Flowers were ... important to him. [He said] “I regard gardening and planting as the other half of life, a counterpoint to the rough and tumble of politics."

Smithers learned to love the natural world from his nanny.

It was when he was in his 50s, that Smithers was finally able to focus on horticulture and botany fulltime.

Smithers loved rhododendrons, magnolias, tree peonies, lilies, and wisteria. He developed a garden that didn't require a ton of work - along the same lines as Ruth Stout.

He wrote:

“The garden is planted so as to reduce labor to an absolute minimum as the owner grows older.”
Today's book was the brainchild of the RHS - who asked Smithers to write his gardening memoirs.

Thanks to Smither's travels, he had observed gardens in England, Mexico, Central America, and Switzerland. And, Smither's followed certain principals to help ground him as he pursued the hobby of gardening.  He wrote:

"It shall be a source of pleasure to the owner and his friends, not a burden and anxiety." 

This book is part-autobiography and part-garden book.

Smithers shares stories from his incredible career like the time he was serving in naval intelligence in Washington when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. And, George Coen commented,

"He's as comfortable talking about [his career] as he is in explaining the behavior of wasps in a flower garden."

This book came out in 1996. It's considered somewhat rare. You can get a used copy and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for as low as $13.


"If you have a garden, a garden podcast, and a library,
you have everything you need."

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