joesf čapek

Going through the book shelf again. Just a small gardening book that I picked up years ago for a few pence, again for the illustrations more that the prose. It's only now, after gardening for a number of years that I fully appreciate the text.

This beautiful book (160pp) was created by the Čapek brothers, Karel and Josef. Rather than a serious manual about what and how to plant, it's a humorous look at what it takes to be a gardener. You'll find no insightful tips and hints on pruning and planting but if you've gardened for any length of time, you'll see yourself among the pages. The prose is perfectly illustrated by Josek Čapek, painter, writer and poet and, strangely enough, inventor of the word 'Robot', from the Czech, 'Robota', meaning 'drudgery' or 'slave labour'.

The book was written in 1929 shortly before the Nazis came to power.


The illustrations, over 50 of them, are simple, playful, full of life and perfectly match the text.


Written in 1929, translated into English in 1931 and published by George Allen & Unwin Ltd, Museum Street, London.
Both brothers were fiercely anti Nazi and very outspoken. Josef died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

© Karel Čapek, Josef Čapek.