Old Herbaceous is a classic British novel of the garden, with a title character as outsized and unforgettable as P. G. Wodehouse’s immortal butler, Jeeves. Born at the dusk of the Victorian era, Bert Pinnegar, an awkward orphan child with one leg a tad longer than the other, rises from inauspicious schoolboy days spent picking wildflowers and dodging angry farmers to become the legendary head gardener “Old Herbaceous,” the most esteemed flower-show judge in the county and a famed horticultural wizard capable of producing dazzling April strawberries from the greenhouse and the exact morning glories his Lady spies on the French Riviera, “so blue, so blue it positively hurts.” Sprinkled with nuggets of gardening wisdom, Old Herbaceous is a witty comic portrait of the most archetypal—and crotchety—head gardener ever to plant a row of bulbs at a British country house.
This Modern Library edition is published with a new Introduction by Penelope Hobhouse, a renowned garden designer and lecturer and the author of numerous gardening books.
About Penelope Hobhouse
Penelope Hobhouse is a garden writer, garden designer, garden historian, lecturer and gardener. Until 1993 she was in charge of the National Trust Gardens at Tintinhull House in Somerset. Her books include Colour in Your Garden, Plants in Garden History, Penelope Hobhouse on Gardening, Penelope Hobhouse's Garden Designs, and Penelope Hobhouse's Natural Planting. In 1996 she hosted The Art and Practice of Gardening (with Perennial Productions) for House and Garden Television in the United States.
“A delightful story . . . its seriousness dispelled by Arkell’s mischievous sense of humor.” —from the Introduction by Penelope Hobhouse