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Dr David Hessayon retires

drc726

By drc726

24 comments


Dr D Hessayon has said in today’s papers that the garden books industry is in decline due to the internet.
I would like to suggest that one reason may be the high cost of gardening books which are often fashionable when published but date very quickly. The gardening books I bought in the 70’s/80’s have dated much more than my late father inlaws books from the 1930s, which dealt more with gardening of flowers and vegetables and a green lawn and are still of use today, while the 70s books were more about slab patios and fashions in plants such as Heathers and Pampas grass and of course awful advice about quick growing living screens such as Leylandii and later came the must have decking and Bark chips
I have bought/used the books by Dr Hessayon over many years and enjoyed the content and the lightness of them some gardening books are now so heavy its impossible to use them in any real way.
While its sad to hear of his retirement. I hope Dr Hessayon takes with him the thought that many gardeners like me enjoyed and benefited from using his books and of course he had his imitators surely the best compliment of all.

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Comments

 

I have about 6 of his books, and still use them for a quick answer, I have never found any more practical books than these, and I am sure most of us gardeners
have some on their book shelves. Even if he has retired his books will live for many years.

30 Nov, 2013

 

I have also found them invaluable too,especially as a complete novice,when I first got interested in Gardening in the 70's...so clear and concise ,and within my price range then..I also hope he has a happy retirement..I agree about some,being too heavy for a quick browse,so apart from these,I only have two hard backed books now..One by Frances Perry,called 'Gardening in Colour' which also goes back a long way,but is still as helpful..and a smaller one by the RHS entitled 'Good Plant Guide'. .
Now ,like most others,we can look on 'Goypedia' or other sites..so we have the best of both worlds..

1 Dec, 2013

 

Drc. there is a new gardening prog. on 9th Dec. BBC 2. with Monty & Carol etc trying to get 'us back' to gardening, I know that my children have no interest in gardening and believe me I have tried.

1 Dec, 2013

 

Have you noticed when you read the obits. of well known people, they have often enjoyed their garden in later years, and often established new gardens, I decided one of the reasons is that busy people spent their lives with people and a garden becomes a place to relax and achieve something by your own hand, and they have time to - as the poet said - time to stand and stare.
Pleased to say that both my children in their 40's enjoy their gardens and grow veg.

1 Dec, 2013

 

Give me a Dr Hessayon book any day of the week over the dreadful Monty Drone and co. I've had a couple of Dr H books from when I first left home in the 1970s and had a back yard with a few pots - and now I'm back with a yard and pots.

1 Dec, 2013

 

I,m a Dr Hessayon fan too

1 Dec, 2013

 

Whilst not a Dr Hessayon fan I do appreciate the amount of good information his books have given to so many people.
I fully endorse his statement that the garden book industry is in decline. I am the book buyer and seller for the SRGC and, over my time in office, I have seen sales slump to almost nothing. My roll is now more that of giving a service to members than actually selling books.
Are gardening books really expensive these days, drc? Yes the 'popular' ones in the bookshops are, I agree. A few years ago I was asked to dispose of the library of a plantsman friend and, in pricing the books, was surprised to find that his specialist books had retailed for £25 to £40 in the 1950/60s. Today, 50 years on, I (try to) sell the modern versions for £20 to £50. Some are rather more expensive, of course. 'The Genus Cyclamen' has an rrp of £90 but I have still sold a few of them.
For myself I prefer the printed page to the internet for factual information as a book goes into far more detail than a quick entry on a web page. However, I do have to accept that most people now find it easier to get the free stuff off the web.

1 Dec, 2013

 

I'm sorry to say, but I've never heard of him.

1 Dec, 2013

 

The "Expert" series of books, Hywel, that seems to have a monopoly of the shelves of every garden center.

1 Dec, 2013

 

Ah yes ! lol ... I've got several of those :o)
but I had never noticed who they were by ! :D
I'm not known for my powers of observation ...

1 Dec, 2013

 

It is a sad thing to see the written word going as I like to read gardening books at my comfortable leisure rather than sitting at a computer , although for a quick reference its nice to be able to get it there and then on the internet the problem for me is can it be trusted?
BulbaI do think gardening books are costly and not something I can often aspire to accept as presents maybe!
Hi Hywel you are looking very festive.

2 Dec, 2013

 

Thank you :o) lol

2 Dec, 2013

 

Books do cost a lot of money, Drc, but what I was suggesting is that today they cost the same as they did 50 years ago; so if you take inflation into account they are now much cheaper - and usually much better quality.

2 Dec, 2013

 

I have read several of his books & one I especially liked was the 'Rose Expert'. I've recommended this book on occasions to people as well.

I looked at my books just now but it seems I no longer have that book or any other he has written. :-((

I was given a 'RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants' years ago & I've still got it but the weight of the book is tremendous which is a shame. You could hernia yourself just dragging it off the bookshelf! I don't use it very often in part for that reason.

I have a couple more books given to me by my daughter but I very rarely buy them. You can find lots of them in the charity shops & I have bought a few that way over the years.

2 Dec, 2013

 

I had that RHS book Balcony but found it too heavy to use such a shame.

2 Dec, 2013

 

Possibly the main reason that gardening books are expensive is that as they are reference books - hopefully to be kept for years - they tend to be published in hardback. (not all, of course, but many.) If it is a book you love, and look at again and again, £20, for example, is good value compared to a restaurant meal or night out at the theatre. One I wouldn't be without is The Border Book by Anna Pavord . . . priceless to me!

3 Dec, 2013

 

I have enjoyed Dr Hessayon since I first became interested in gardening. As a complete novice I found advice in easy to assimilate language. The first one I bought was his Tree and Shrub expert on the advice of Dougal Philp who is owner of our nearest Garden Centre. I offered to buy my daughter in law a set of his books when I found her browsing through mine. It turned out he was her tutor at college. I hope he enjoys a long and happy retirement.

3 Dec, 2013

 

I use the RHS book a lot. It has parted company with its binding - falling onto the floor once some years ago didn't help- but its still as useful as ever. I've also got the Cassell 2 vol flora, which was puffed as being better but I'm not convinced. It came with a CD too, but its easier to just look on the internet!
But long may the Expert books remain in print!

6 Dec, 2013

 

Thanks for this blog I was going to do some thing like at a later date, this guy said it in plain speak pity his going but we all have to give up at some time reading your blog comments surprised me that Hywel did not know of him, well he does now.

30 Dec, 2013

 

Hi Smileamyl, sad to think he will not be updating his editions anymore.

30 Dec, 2013

 

DRC726. As has been said it is down to cost and what we are prepared to spend I have been practising Auto Theft (not illegal) now for many years it does not make you rich but it does increase your wealth and even I, am now very careful of what I spend.

1 Jan, 2014

 

Legal auto theft? Sorry I don't get it...

1 Jan, 2014

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