Shop H.E. Bates Online
A Love of Flowers
Essay Collection
Page Count
Word Count
Michael Joseph
Publication Year
Document Types
Character: Mr Pimpkin(s)

London: Michael Joseph, 1971 (June). Illustrations by Pauline Ellison.

Bearing abundant and beautiful ink drawings, this book returns to Bates's lifelong passion for gardening. He cites his garden as key to his recovery in 1966 from two heart attacks and pneumonia and speaks of individual flowers as good friends, meticulously referring to their characteristics and needs, in the process demonstrating his thoughts on garden design, the seasons of a garden, hybridization, the use of greenhouses, the expertise of nurserymen, and other topics.

Bates also includes practical advice on a variety of topics related to gardening and plant selection. In chapter 8, utilising a previously published essay, he revives discussion of Mr. Pimpkins, an exasperating hired man with a zeal for pruning, from O More Than Happy Countryman (1943) and Country of White Clover (1952). Many other chapters are also composed of articles first published in Living magazine, (of these only Oh! Me of Little Faith does not precede the book's publication).

In The Sunday Telegraph, Beverley Nichols praises the book as 'the distillation of all the gardening books that I have been trying to write throughout my life.' C.A. MacKinnon, in The Daily Mail, calls it a 'very personal book that is always eminently practical' while British Book News says that 'wide knowledge of what can and cannot be grown by the amateur, catholic taste and many years' experience, combine to make this a most refreshing addition to modern garden literature which should be as widely read as the many books which have built up the author's reputation as a writer.'


  • Times Literary Supplement (July 30, 1971, p. 924, attached)
  • British Book News (September, 1971, p. 722, attached)
  • Daily Mail (June 19, 1971, p. 16, C.A. MacKinnon, attached)
  • Sunday Telegraph (July 25, 1971, p. 15, Beverley Nichols, attached)


The below reviews and articles are available in PDF format.