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gardening book recommendations

(10 Posts)
HootShoot Fri 06-Sep-13 21:08:42

Hi all

We've just moved into a new house which has a fairly big garden and we have no idea what to do with it! We would like a veg patch, a lovely lawn and some nice flowers and shrubs. Can anyone recommend some good books for novice gardeners?


PoopMaster Fri 06-Sep-13 22:10:01

Oooh I just got "How to be a gardener" (Alan Titchmarsh) - very good for beginners (which I am), got it from reduced to £7.99

HootShoot Fri 06-Sep-13 22:22:14

thanks Poop - I'll check that one out!

onefewernow Mon 09-Sep-13 08:38:39

John Brookes is great, in my view, for how to lay out a garden.

I like Christopher Lloyds The Well Tempered Garden, and Anna Pavord.

I suppose at this stage you are looking at design books. Also the book clubs used to do stuff like those big RHS encyclopaedias, which have sections on everything from soil to compost to growing different types of plants.

Phalenopsis Wed 11-Sep-13 17:37:20

Hello OP,

Some advice and a recommendation:
1. The first thing I'd do is work out how the sun hits your garden and for how long it stays in certain parts. You may have parts which are always in shade for example. You don't need to do anything difficult, just wait for a sunny day (!) and watch the sun move around it. This will give you an idea of what you can plant, where. You can getsome lovely plants for shady areas and grass seed designed for shade, heavy traffic, etc so don't lose hope if a part is really dark. Something will grow there.

2. Find out what sort of soil you've got. You might not have the same type of soil in all of the garden so certain plants might grow better in certain areas. This certainly applies to my garden which is sandy in parts and claggy Yorkshire clay in others.The link above tells you how to work it out. It's not hard.

3. When planning the space, think about any buildings, fixtures such as washing lines etc which need to have a home. It sounds such an obvious thing to do but you'd be surprised at how many people plan a beautiful garden and don't factor in where the whirlygig is going to go.

4. My recommendation is this book: It seems quite dense but it's actually quite good for getting ideas and planning a space.

Phalenopsis Wed 11-Sep-13 17:38:40

Oh, you might also want to work out your soil pH. See the RHS website if you want to do this as some plants need specific soil pH to grow well e.g. rhodedrendron and brassicas.

bigwellylittlewelly Wed 11-Sep-13 19:58:24

I have an entire bookcase dedicated to gardening books. I am mostly a vegetable gardener, I like my garden to look pretty but be productive, everything exists for a reason (except perhaps the sensory garden), we have borders which are planted with herbs, an edible courtyard, a screen made from fanned fruit trees and wildlife is of primary importance. - my favourites at the moment (we're just implementing a design) are;

- the no dig garden (for ideas on veg patch layouts and also basic vegetable growing techniques) it has simple but inspiring drawings and I often read it before bed. Its also v cheap on tinternet

- RHS Encyclopedia of plants and also RHS encyclopaedia of gardening, I have quite old editions ans got them for a fiver at a car boot. These have been invaluable while determining the larger trees and choosing specific varieties for season and colour

- John Brookes is excellent for design inspiration but over the course of the year I have spent getting to know our garden before finalising the design I have also visited lots if urban gardens as part of the open garden scheme.

In addition to the steps which Phalenopsis sets out we also worked out what we wanted to do in our garden, DH wanted to attract wildlife as he is a keen photographer but also have a workshop shed, DCs needed a hideaway and a safe enclosed space with swings and a slide and of course the sensory garden. I wanted my veg patch and my edible courtyard, as well as a soft fruit cage and a greenhouse.

(I'll be back wirh more books after I've got out of the bath!)

Talkinpeace Sun 15-Sep-13 18:00:36


Geoff Hamilton : ornamental kitchen garden
Growers Guide
Hilliers Gardening Manual

ALL from charity shops - all unbeatable

join the RHS - if nothing else to go round their veg garden and go "ooh, mine looks crap too" and the staff will explain why

Talkinpeace Sun 15-Sep-13 18:01:43

have hundreds of garden books but those
and the RHS pruning and propagation books are the ones held together with elastic bands

funnyperson Mon 16-Sep-13 20:49:16

sackville west 'the illustrated garden book'
monty don 'the ivington diaries'
john brookes 'the small garden'
roy strong 'creating small gardens'
derek fell 'the impressionist garden'
david austin 'rose catalogue', spalding bulbs catalogue, t and m catalogue.
beth chatto' the garden notebook'
beth chatto 'the dry garden'
rhs 'encyclopaedia of gardening' or similar (eg readers digest)
james wong 'homegrown revolution'
piet oudolf 'dream plants for the natural garden'/'planting a new perspective'
christopher lloyd 'the garden diaries of great dixter'
jake hobson 'the art of creative pruning'
raymond evison 'clematis for small spaces'/'the gardeners guide to clematis'

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