With the ‘edi-mentals’ you get the best of both worlds
I grew up poring over Dr DG Hessayon’s The Garden Expert. Some kids fixate on stuffed toys or action figures, but to me it was a heavily dog-eared copy of this iconic gardening book. I carried it with me everywhere I went and, 30 years later, it is still to my mind the best horticultural book.
There was always one thing I found fascinatingly quirky about the book, even as a child: the cover. It featured an idealised 1980s suburban semi, with obligatory crazy-paving patio and garden furniture, leading on to an immaculate lawn and herbaceous borders that stretched into the distance. So far so good. But then, right at the back, hidden behind panels by the compost bins and greenhouse, was the veggie patch. Even at the age of seven I just couldn’t understand what the strict segregation was all about. Why do we deem edible crops as looking so awful we have to put them as far away from view as possible, even erecting barriers to hide them?