Gardening Books(15 Posts)
I've been meaning to start this thread for ages after a bit of a tangent on my previous thread (thanks for the idea shove!)
I'm looking for ideas for a gardening book for MIL and was hoping we could list gardening books we have found useful, or that you've heard are particularly good!
MIL is a keen gardener, particularly with veg, but uses a brilliant old book which details when to plant what, and when to harvest. I'm not sure she'd use another book similar, so I'm looking for ideas on what other gardening books might suit her.
I will go back to the previous thread in a mo, and list the ones already recommended, but it might be nice to have a thread solely for great book recommendations!
Okay, here is a list of books so far:
Anna Pavord - The Naming of Names
Christopher Lloyd's Well-Tempered Garden and Colour
Beth Chatto's Dry & Damp Garden
Herbarium by Caz Hildebrand
(book I'm sure you named some too but I must have missed them in the scrolling!)
Ooooh! BOOK THREAD! <runs around excitedly with abebooks.com tab open and bankruptcy beckoning>
It's not so much of a classic as the above, but I do like James Wong's Growing for Flavour. It has a lot of tips that come from recent scientific trials, and that are news even to experienced veg gardeners. I bought a copy for my Dad, who has been gardening for decades, and he was really interested and has actually adopted some of the suggestions - win! It's also got really nice graphic design and page layouts.
Oh that one looks really good! I think that sort of thing will be more useful to lovely MIL, as it will need to have 'new' methods in it for her to pick that book up rather than stick with the old one.
She bought me the most wonderfully useful Christmas Dinner book a few weeks ago, so now the pressure is on to find an equally useful book for her
It may be something she can use in addition to the old reliable friendly tome. You can never replace those books you really rely on. Gardening is strange, temporally speaking. It's essentially a repetition, the same things year on year, yet each cycle is also extraordinarily different, with temperatures and weather never the same, meaning that some things flourish while others struggle. Over time, you get this building sense of the underlying patterns of the climate as well - which currently alarms me quite a lot. But you already know this far better than I do, being farming folk!
I rather think mine were the tried and tested books Gin !
I use the RHS Encylopedia of Gardening a lot, and my other one is an old Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening, but that is very old, and not published anymore, The new ones are all for allotment gardening now
The other ones were books by Christopher Lloyd -( he of Great Dixter fame ), but they were always for inspiration rather than practical in truth.
What was the 'brilliant old book' your DMIL used?
I find modern books are a bit all singing all dancing and a more simple one (do this then) would be good. I have most of DG Hessayon's books and most of the more complicated or more wordy books stay on the shelf.
You said on your other thread that you liked contemporary design, so I assume you have the obvious suspects like Piet Oudolf on Planting, Hummelo, and Landscapes, Gardens of Arne Maynard, Isabel and Julian Bannerman etc etc? If you can find it, the guide book to Ian Hamilton Findlay's garden, Little Sparta, is amazing, as is the guide to the new High Line in NYC.
What about something historic - there are some interesting contemporary and modern accounts of pathbreaking gardens like Stowe?
It's not a "how to garden" book, but I have a lovely book called The Virago Book of Women Gardeners, it's full of writings from female gardeners dating from the 18th century. Really fascinating to read, and still very useful for gardening hints and tips! I've had mine (paperback) for years, could only see used copies online for the paperback but the hardback version seems to be available to buy new
Ooo thanks Shove, I have the Piet, Arne Maynard, but not heard of Isabel and Julian Bannerman. Having a browse now
And the others you mention, never heard of!
Wooo, thank you so much
Gardengeek - I'm lucky enough to have access to a library with a fabulous landscaping section . If you like art as well as gardening, the Findlay is amazing. Just amazing. That garden makes a lot of beautiful and stunning modern landscaping look vacuous. I was awed by it, but also a bit ashamed - it's like having a master show you how very much more thoughtful you could be about what you are doing. It made me realise that there is a bit of an established middle class gardening style in this country, and it's often driven by quite a narrow aesthetic, using the same old same old plants without more than a superficial dollop of knowledge and definitely without much thought to wider ideas or politics. I'm very much saying this in the spirit of self-criticism: it's something I recognise is wrong with my own garden, and as soon as I have some headspace, I need to get more creative.
timtam - I really like the sound of that book, will check it out! Thank you so much.
I am planning to buy: Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties by Carol Deppe. (... when I have more money than I have now.)
It has loads and loads of good reviews, and the author seems to have a great sense of humour and her advice at least looks as if it could work. (Her advice on keeping ducks as pest-control and for eggs, that is. Which I am not going to try out.)
One of my favourite books is The Encyclopedia of Grassses for Livable Landscapes by Rick Darke. I'm afraid it doesn't fit your request for useful books about vegetables, but it is wonderful. Sumptuously illustrated with pictures (over 1000) of grasses in their natural habitats as well as garden context. And ... the text is so well written you want to keep reading
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