Heath Robinson gardening book re-issued

A book of tips for the green-fingered, accompanied by Heath Robinson's inventive and humorous cartoons has been reissued by the Bodleian Libraries.

First published in 1938, the book gives an insight into gardening trends on the eve of the Second World War while also addressing common concerns faced by gardeners. It features many typically elaborate contraptions such as the Combined Telescopic Spaderake for digging and raking at the same time, the Inebriate Roller for making wobbly garden paths and the Osoeezi Slugsticker. While some are patently ridiculous – a lawn is de-thistled and resown with the help of a barrel of grass seed strapped onto a small donkey – others are before their time, such as a special pump that can divert your bathwater into your garden hose, a contraption that is not wildly dissimilar to gadgets on the market today. 

Finally, the growing of vegetables inspires some sage advice: ‘with the right kind of upbringing, a marrow will attain astonishing dimensions, and can be used for boasting purposes’. Poking gentle fun at a British obsession with a detailed illustration on almost every page, this book will delight both aspiring and experienced gardeners alike.

W. Heath Robinson (1872-1944) is best known for his hilarious drawings of outlandish contraptions, though his work ranged across a wide variety of topics covering many aspects of British life. 

His work inspired Diarmuid Gavin at Chelsea Flower Show 2016. 


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