• Growing to a Ripe Old Age

  • 50 Years in the Garden
  • By: Edward Enfield
  • Narrated by: Bill Wallis
  • Length: 4 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 10-03-12
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.6 (7 ratings)


Edward Enfield has only ever had one garden, but his dealings with it have extended over half a century. He came to his three quarters of an acre knowing nothing about growing anything, and this book is an account of his horticultural successes and failures, inventions and frustrations, discoveries and developments. With wry humour, he leads us through the thorny subject of roses, counts the blessings of keeping chickens, and exposes the perfidy of gardening copywriters, while offering wise and witty tips on how best to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
©2011 Edward Enfield (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By lynn on 13-04-13

Gardening with Edward Enfield ?? - Delightful!!

The recently released audiobook, Growing to a Ripe Old Age: 50 Years in the Garden, by Edward Enfield, is a delightful, witty and very humorous work which regales us with anecdotes of 50 years of gardening in his ‘rather large’ 3/4acre garden. Edward Enfield (father of comedian Harry Enfield) was a British Assistant Director of Education before making a life change, in 1994, to work as a radio and television presenter, newspaper columnist and author of radio plays, travel diaries and autobiographical works. His latest work, this gardening reminiscence, is built on the “successes and failures, inventions and frustrations that have brought the garden to its current very satisfactory state”. Enfield starts by admitting that his main gardening management strategy is ‘delegation’ and the tales that follow indicate delegation to both his wife and a series of professional gardeners at different times! Each chapter takes a wry look at significant gardening subjects such as roses – the process of planting a rose comes after the process of choosing it; the minimalist garden – I never thought of anything along this line until it was too late; enemies and strategies – there are two main types of wasp killer, the one that works and the one that doesn’t; the herbaceous border – a present from each to the other for their 50th wedding anniversary, (along with a professional gardener to look after it); and more. On the subject of ‘organic’ gardening he is quick to point out that even the early proponents of the natural approach were not averse to the “slaughtering of insects, on a large scale”, and goes on to give the recommended recipe for nicotine insect spray (how can this be so very different to just using DDT!). His exclamation on the horrors of “the netting and grinding up of fish to make a fertiliser we can very well do without” is quite hilarious.

Growing to a Ripe Old Age... is also available in print but the charm of this story is in the telling.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 30-05-14

a peaceful book

If you could sum up Growing to a Ripe Old Age in three words, what would they be?

Pleasant summer ramblings

What was one of the most memorable moments of Growing to a Ripe Old Age?

His wife and the bonfires

Have you listened to any of Bill Wallis’s other performances? How does this one compare?


Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me want to get out into the garden but with a comfy chair and a glass or two of something chilled.

Any additional comments?

If you like this try a book titled One man and his dig.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Anniebligh on 24-03-16

loved this

Like all of Edward Enfield's books I have read or heard, this is a little gem. Imagine perhaps you have an uncle or grand dad who has wonderful tales to tell about being alive and the simple joy of living. Not about spies or earth shattering love affairs, this is more about the joy of real asparagus and green beans and the kind of life each of us could live if we wanted.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Anonymous User on 08-07-17

Loved every bit of this book

Wonderful, humorous practical and tidy tips I will remember. Best gardening book I've listened to in a very long time.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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