Much More than a Perfect Gent
I cannot think of many garden writers from a century ago in whose company I would have felt entirely comfortable. William Robinson would have ignored me, Gertrude Jekyll seen through me, and Reginald Farrer unnerved me. But I should dearly have loved to meet Edward Augustus (‘Gussie’) Bowles, and have him conduct me around his garden one sunny day in spring. For by all accounts he was a sweet-tempered and charming, funny and self-deprecating, discerning and cultured man. He spent his entire life at Myddelton House in Bulls Cross, near Enfield, and, around the beginning of the First World War, wrote what amounted to a gardening autobiography, the trilogy My Garden in Spring, My Garden in Summer and My Garden in Autumn and Winter (1914–15). Of these, the first volume is the best.