Between the pages..little surprises and fruity Americanisms

I love a good mystery, especially when it leads to little surprises. This morning I spotted a beauty bursting with sunshine in our garden. Unable to identify it, I went in search of my Gardeners' Encyclopedia for Plants and Flowers by The Royal Horticultural Society, a book I purchased in of a local shop when we lived in Surrey, England. We moved to Vietnam shortly after I purchased it and have since had little occasion to refer to it. 

The mystery unfolded as I turned the pages
and discovered little bits and pieces 
tucked away by the previous owner of the book.  

A 1998 sales receipt from a stationary shop 
on London Road in West Sussex, UK.
The previous owner paid £35.00
for Gardeners' Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
and Encyclopedia of Gardening in 1998.
I paid £6.00 for both books in 2012.
I thought it was a great find at the time.
It just got a whole lot better.
I love used books!

Tucked between more pages...

A 2005 clipping from the Financial Times gardening writer,
Robin Lane Fox, on the attributes of Winter Sweet,
otherwise knows as Chimonanthss praecox.

He wrote.. 
Has there ever been such a year for Winter Sweet, 
the exquisite Chimonanthus praecox, 
the shrub with the most exotic and intimable scent 
of any which has crossed my path?

Exotic and intimable scent...I love that.

I also found...

A pamphlet on planting a pond. 
Adding a pond to Tahilla Farm is on my wish list. 
Could this be a sign?

A planting card for Corazon, Nerium Oleander.
My first plant, in my first apartment, was a white Oleander.
I love Oleander.

Planting instructions for lilies and begonias.
Who doesn't love lilies and begonias?


A new plant to me: Gentiana sino-ornata
Evergreen, prostate, spreading perennial that, in autumn,
bears trumpet-shaped, rich blue flowers singly at the end of the stems.
Do you know it?

After I finished reading through the materials 
it reminded me of another book I discovered a few year ago. 

When we lived in Auckland, New Zealand, 
I went in pursuit of 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. 
Surprisingly, it was not easy to find, until the day I discovered 
Devonport Vintage Bookshop in Devonport.

I went home, turned the pages, and guess what popped out?

The previous owner of the book tucked into the pages, 
an article from the NZ Listener published on June 23 1984.
It was a review of a stage production of 84 Charing Cross Road
in the Christchurch's Court Theatre 
starring Elizabeth Moody and Richard Poore.

I especially enjoyed this part...
Elizabeth Moody's performance as Hanff was gorgeous. 
Moody is always a stage-filling person and this role suited that characteristic. 
I really enjoyed her banging away at her typewriter in time to her singing 
with a fag dangling from her mouth, and her exquisite passion for books and writing 
which expressed itself in fruity Americanisms.

Fruity Americanisms?
I can hear Anne Bancroft's character in the movie already.
Who are you calling a fruity American??

You Tube here

That was my day! 
I am still in search of that yellow beauty at the top of the page.
Any guesses? blog site is acting strange,
if you missed my last post,
you can read 
Making a House a Home..Tahilla Farm here.


  1. Lovely post...the discoveries within pages of books purchased from used book dealers is a story to be told, for sure, and here is the beginning of a lovely composition. Again two titles from you added to my "must read" list..and the Gardener's Encyclopedia is one I will search for....nice to have information in hard copy, not dependent on the internet is a good thing. Your stories always bring delight to me.....Kristin

    1. Hi Kristin..thank you for your kind words. You can find the updated version of the Gardeners' Encyclopedia on Amazon.

      My version was produced in 1989...a relic. So glad your postcard arrived, thank you for you lovely note! xx

  2. The yellow blooms are exotic looking....the leaves are so different. If you find out what they are please let us know.
    I found some pictures in a used book once....of a beautiful young woman. My friend found a crisp one hundred dollar bill in a used book recently!

    1. I will be sure to come back on that one Leslie. I would say that your friend lucked out big time on that book! The land of books... mysteries in and between the pages. Love it!

  3. Uh oh, it looks as thought I am not the only one having blog hiccups - actually I know that I am not! Is it a Feedburner/Yahoo email address issue for you too? And I did miss your last post, so off I go to enjoy it.

    PS. I find your Gardener's Encyclopedia to be a truly wonderful purchase as well. Even if I have green thumbs!

    1. Yes Heather...something to do with the Feedburner. I was savvy around the inner workings of the blog I would fix it but am worried I will lose my email followers if I switch providers. Ahh! One of these days...I really have to get this blog sorted out. I will think about that tomorrow.... ;) xx

  4. 34 Charing Cross Road is a favorite at our home.


  5. Hello! I always enjoy your posts when I pop in for a visit ... Today's prompts me to share this post I wrote some time ago, also relating to found things in the pages of books and an expert in such matters. Such fun! Best of luck on the flower-name search - it's gorgeous. I'll stay tuned for the winning name.

    Susan of Bedside Table Books

    1. Thank you Susan...I loved your post and left this message for you..

      Love it! I have had this book on my wish list for a while. It is one of those that you need to have in hard copy. Living in Vietnam, Kindle is my best book friend because hard copies in English can be difficult to find. When I am back in the states this summer, I will be sure to look for it. Thank you! ;)

  6. Hello Jeanne,

    A beautiful flower but afraid I have no idea of the name.
    What treasures were contained within your secondhand books. I love finding recipes, cards and pressed flowers in my books. I have not seen 84 Charing Cross and enjoyed the you tube clip. It is now on my list.
    Hope your blog gets sorted
    Helen xx
    Have a wonderful weekend

    1. Thank you Helen...I highly recommend the book first and then the movie. I have read nearly all of Helen Hanff's books, they are wonderful. Happy Weekend! xx

  7. I think maybe it is a type of MAGNOLIA.There is a yellow MAGNOLIA called ELIZABETH!
    You are not alone in the BLOG acting funny!I have lost a few I have been following for years.......guess some HACKER got in and caused this RUCKUS.Don't these HACKERS have more fun things to do!

    1. Good suggestion Elizabeth, I hope you are growing "Elizabeth" in your garden. I imagine their are a number of rose specimens in your name as well. My blogging issue seems to be around Feedburner. It worked for this post but not the last. Go figure.. ;)

  8. Wonderful finds
    The flower's leaves and buds look peony. Search: yellow peony Vietnam Results: paeonia mlokosewitschii
    But the leaves aren't the same. Its not easy to tell if its a flowering shrub or small tree. If the plant is native to the area, then it will show up on area searches in books, eventually.

  9. Such a beauty! What a delightful sight to see as you walk through your garden. One previously owned book that I have "The Garden Month by Month" copyrighted in 1907 has a lovely inscription "To Lucy - with much love from Sally August 12-1936" and within its pages are several folded pieces of paper, all of them have four leaf clovers pressed within the folds! This was one very lucky person! One piece has "John Dee's Aug 16 '43" written on it. Another has printed on it "Highfields Bible Hill Francestown New Hampshire", and written on it is J.D W.J. dated July 1st. One of the main reasons I purchased this book was the lovely color chart showing the 63 colors of garden flowers....only 63, lol! As for your stunning flower, I'm leaning towards it being some type of Rose of Sharon. You'll be happy to know that here in New Hampshire the grass is greening up and the tulips are on the verge of blooming. The trees have budded, but haven't yet broken out in that Chartreuse green that is so amazing and colors the air with a special light as you drive down a dirt road with the trees forming a tunnel. is a beautiful Spring day with brilliant sunshine. I'm hoping it lasts all weekend so I can finally get out and work in my perennial garden.

  10. Gorgeous yellow bloom in your garden! I'm sure one of your fans will send a clue that will at least point you in the right direction for identifying it. Thanks ever so much for the postcard. The little black and white bird on the card reminds me of the pair of Carolina chickadees nesting (within arm's reach in front of my kitchen window) in an old birdhouse which has a roof made of an old New Jersey license plate. My most recent find in a book was the business card of Salvatore Ferragamo at his estate Il Borro in Arezzo, Italy. Someone has been socializing in very rare air!

  11. I believe your plant is a helleborus. Mine are just beginning to bloom, in northern Michigan, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that we do not get more snow.... I hope the link below works.

  12. Life's little surprises (at least the happy ones) are so wonderful! Thanks for sharing your stories and your gorgeous blossom! Also, I enjoyed the earlier post about Tahilla - it is going to be spectacular!

    Have a wonderful weekend, Jeanne! xoxo

  13. That's a good book find with a surprise inside. I enjoyed reading 84 Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff.
    I found the book from one of the library book sales.

  14. Wonderful! I loved "84, Charing Cross Road," both the movie and the book. Similarly, I urged a friend to read Margery Sharp's "The Innocents", which is not easy to find. She did eventual spy it in a used book store and while reading came upon the yellowing obituary from the New York Times of Nancy Mitford, another author we had discussed at length. I love these moments.


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