There's nothing better on a hot day than gardening. Except maybe sitting in a chair under a tree and reading about gardening.
I whiled away at least an hour yesterday afternoon with The Morville Hours, a great and beautiful book which crosses all kinds of genre boundaries, mixing ecclesiology with garden history, autobiography with the history of the English landscape.
I bought it on recommendation after I dropped in to see one of London's finest gardening booksellers, Jane McMorland Hunter, who is in charge of choosing the gardening stock for Crockatt & Powell's new shop on the Fulham Road.
If you live nearby, or even if you don't, go and have a look at their brilliant selection: not just of gardening books, but also art, cookery and obscure Czech novels. It's a shop that's run by the kind of booksellers you could spend hours talking to, chewing over old favourites and new
delights. It attracts devoted customers: Alberto Manguel does his book-shopping there, and he lives in France!
However Jane is not just a bookseller, she's also the author of the extremely likeable Tiny Garden (pictured). Crockatt & Powell has its own tiny (but very, very elegant) garden
behind the shop, for those wishing to buy a copy and then read it in a suitably tiny setting.
And if you could, like me, spend all day talking about gardening books, the anonymous and very cheeky Garden Monkey has started a blog devoted just to that subject. Perhaps you detest Bob Flowerdew or adore Beth Chatto: here's the place to express your views. With all this reading to get done, I'll be amazed if I ever get round to the weeding.