Gardener’s Nightcap is our first gardening book. We have been looking for one for a long time, but it is not easy to find something useful but not too ponderous, nicely illustrated but not kitsch, and well-written without being too prescriptive or too saccharine. Finally, here it is, a 1938 book that is perfect for the keen gardener or, in fact, for the aspiring, to buy for oneself or to give as a present. We hope this book will become as integral a part of the Persephone collection as, say, How to Run Your Home without Help – amusing, interesting, with historical resonance, and yet useful.
Muriel Stuart was a successful and well-known poet during and just after the First World War (she is in the ODNB because of her poems). She then had two children, gave up writing poetry and took to gardening with enormous enthusiasm and dedication. She wrote only two books, Fool’s Garden (1936), about creating a garden in Surrey, and the one we have chosen to reprint, Gardener’s Nightcap. After the war, for thirty years, she was a well-known columnist for gardening magazines. Although a great beauty, Muriel Stuart was shy and self-contained – and happiest in her garden.