A Sahib’s Manual for the Mali: Everyday Gardening in India
Alick Percy-Lancaster and Laeeq Futehally (Ed.)
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Permanent Black

‘The mali’s tendency to over-water should be checked, for this is often a cause of a delayed show of flowers. The plants themselves give all the indication that is needed, for a water shortage causes the leaves to wilt and the stems to droop. The average mali we have seems unable to appreciate the difference between light watering, heavy watering, flooding and drowning, he being most adept at the last, for his commonest error is to lay the hose in a corner and leave it till the water has filled the bed entirely, overflowed and watered the adjacent lawn and nearby road indiscriminately.’

Amateur gardeners, armchair gardeners, and those who like gardens but cannot tell phlox from petunia: Alick Percy-Lancaster’s delightful guide is for everyone. Because it explains not only the What and the How but also the all-important Why, this is one of the most comprehensive and educative books on gardening in India. Even as he dispenses practical gardening tips, the leisurely charm of Percy-Lancaster’s writing evokes an India far away and long ago.

Percy-Lancaster takes us through garden work month by month: open the book to the pages for the month you are in, follow his advice, and whatever open space you have—terrace or balcony, kitchen window or rambling lawn—will be full of leaf and flower.

Alick Percy-Lancaster started a monthly bulletin in 1949, addressed to householders struggling to create gardens around their new government bungalows. Every issue of the bulletin gave advice about garden work for that particular month. Although written for Delhi, the bulletin was in demand in places as far away as Bengal and Bombay. This book provides his bulletins under one cover for the first time.

Laeeq Futehally’s previous books include Gardening (1997). She has been writing about garden design for decades, and has been involved in the planning and maintenance of large public gardens in Mumbai and Bangalore. She lives in Bangalore.

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