Tending to one’s garden and making it an object of unique beauty – and sometimes a source of food – is one of the oldest and most loved pastimes. There are a great number of books on gardening that range from the basics to the specifics and everything between. Given the vast selection of tomes it is often difficult to know what gardening book is right for you.
The five books in this guide are the finest companions for every gardener. Whether you occasionally pot up some plants, cultivate vegetables for the dinner table, or you like your garden to be an oasis of resplendent glory, there will be the perfect book for you here.
This is a superb reference book from the experts at the Royal Horticultural Society. This encyclopaedia covers 15,000 plants, shrubs, bushes, grasses and trees with special sections on popular plants. There are invaluable guides on common garden pests and diseases that could affect your lovingly cared for borders and how keep them easily at bay.
The sections on how to use space and colour effectively in your garden and the information on rare and exotic plants make this a book that can accompany novice and expert gardeners alike. The retail price of £65.00 – and the range it covers – means this book will stay with you forever.
Grow Your Own Vegetables, Joy Larkcom
Larkcom brings together every aspect of vegetable gardening in this simply written guide. She breaks up the main text with handy definitions and “Season and Month Conversion Charts”, invaluable for the beginner. There are more specific sections on fertilisers and growing techniques the seasoned gardener will be grateful for.
Perhaps the most outstanding feature of this book is the “Vegetable Dictionary” that covers 100 garden vegetables. The guide on tools and equipment is another source of information that other books may overlook. At the reasonable retail price of £9.99, Larkcom’s book is a must for any vegetable gardener.
The Well-Tempered Garden, Christopher Lloyd
This classic of gardening literature written by one of the most highly regarded gardening writers there is. Lloyd has written for ‘Country Living’ magazine for over 50 years alongside working at Great Dixter gardens in Sussex, and his experience shines through in this guide.
He takes you through all elements of gardening in anecdotal fashion which lends itself to his poetic style. Lloyd wonderfully describes plants and flowers but also explains how they make him feel. There is an extensive glossary to guide you through, and at £14.99 this book is a gardeners’ essential.
Small Garden, John Brookes
With ecology high on the agenda everyone from town to country is more aware of the pleasures of spending time in their garden, big or small. Brookes’ book has a strong focus on plants and how to care for them in the smallest of spaces. He also branches out with detailed plans and case studies on how to make the most of a small garden.
The plans, designs and inspiring pictures relate to many different types of garden, whether you want a space to relax or a ‘room outside’ for entertainment. With the retail price of £16.99, no one can afford to be without this book.
Flora Britannica, Richard Mabey
Look no further than Mabey’s book if you want to add deeper meaning to the plants in your garden and if you want to contribute to a great tradition. This guide is a comprehensive survey of plants native to the British Isles. He gathers over 1,000 species of plants that have had a significant meaning in British folklore for hundreds of years.
This merging of gardening and folklore is unique in its descriptions of our historic relationships with plants in culture, domestic life and social meaning. For the retail price of £40 you get a sense of meaning behind plants and flowers that will add character to your garden.
Armed with any of these five books you will be set to start planting seeds, fill up the watering can and watch your garden blossom.
Can you recommend any other great gardening books? Share in the comments.