Shop H.E. Bates Online
The Seasons and The Gardener: A Book for Children.
Page Count
Word Count
Cambridge University Press
Publication Year
Document Types
Children's Literature

Cambridge: University Press, 1940 (November 1). With drawings by C.F. Tunnicliffe.
In the full-page dedication to his children (attached), Bates says that he has tried to write "as if I were talking to you" with the hope that "many more children besides yourselves would be able to listen to, and understand, what I was trying to say about flowers and birds and bees and all the rest of the interesting and beautiful things that go to make up a garden."

In five sections (an introduction and a part for each season), Bates discusses the history of gardens; native and foreign plants; basic botanical terms; flower, rock, and vegetable gardens; greenhouses and seed sowing; weeds, insects, and birds; weather conditions; and tools and catalogues. In the process, he conveys his philosophy that gardening is "a very old, satisfying and beautiful part of man's civilized life," something "as natural as laughing and dancing," and that "you cannot go wrong at all if you garden for love." Baldwin (1987, p. 141) notes the complication caused in his relations with his publisher Jonathan Cape when Cambridge requested a children's book of him.

The Times Literary Supplement said "for all children who have a garden, and would like to learn how to make it a batter garden, this is the perfect Christmas present...The qualities that have made Mr. Bates famous as a short-story writer are to be found here: imagination, strict accuracy, marked descriptive power, and above all a deep regard and respect for the earth itself, whence springs a similar regard for the rural life."


  • John O'London's Weekly (November 29, 1940, p. 216, Mary Crosbie, attached)
  • New York Times (March 16, 1941, p. BR10, attached)
  • The Spectator (December 6, 1940, p. 616, L.A.G. Strong, attached)
  • Times Literary Supplement (December 7, 1940, p. 624, John Raynor, attached)


The below reviews and articles are available in PDF format.