February 2014: Beverley Nichols

February 2014 Library Profile:

Beverley Nichols



John Beverley Nichols, born in 1898 in Bristol, England, was an author, playwright, and public speaker. He is best remembered (at least here in the Sterling Morton Library) for his works on gardens. Beginning with Down the Garden Path in 1932 and continuing with A Thatched Roof, Green Grows the City, Merry Hall, and others, Nichols' conversational prose draws his readers into the physical space of both his gardens and his life, leading us on a journey through his gardens punctuated by his own philosophy, practical gardening advice, and anecdotes from his life and gardening escapades. His enchantment with nature and gardening is evident in his work.


Excerpt from Down the Garden Path, 1932

"I usually skip topographical details in novels. The more elaborate the description of the locality, the more confused does my mental impression become... But in a book of this class - you really must get topographical details in your head. You will be walking through my garden, from the first pale mists of spring to the urgent, stormy nights of November. You will be shading your eyes from the sun under arches that reel with the intoxicating scent of syringa, and hurrying through the little French windows to escape the menage of the blue-black clouds of April. It is vital, therefore, that you know where you are going, or you will trip up. You will forget the step that comes before the lupin bed, and crack your head on a branch of the damson tree."

Down the Garden Path 16-17


Library ResourcesCover of Garden Open Tomorrow by Beverley Nichols, 1968

By Nichols:

By Others:


Readers' Advisory

If you enjoy Beverley Nichols, look for other books in our collections by Gertrude JekyllOlive Pitkin, and Henry Mitchell.


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