Gardening books: Herbs, houseplants, horticultural design and practical tips are all covered by these festive reads
Would you like to give your loved ones a gardening book for Christmas? Whether it’s practical skills, coffee table inspiration, organic methods or sustainability, there is a book that is perfect for gardening lovers.
Here’s our pick of the harvest for festive flora and fauna leafing through some of the best …
1. Winter Gardens: Reinventing the Season by Cedric Pollet (Frances Lincoln, £ 20)
Curl up with a hot teddy bear to enjoy the icy beauty of the winter gardens at their best. The book contains fantastic photos that show how gardens can be transformed into fairytale hideaways with the right plants. The book sheds light on 20 gardens in the UK and France and the plants and landscaping they used to create a cornucopia of bright colors when everything else in the garden looks bare.
2. “The Eighth Wonder of the World”: Exbury Gardens And The Rothschilds by Lionel de Rothschild and Francesca Murray Rowlins (Exbury Gardens Limited, £ 30)
Anyone who has visited Exbury Gardens in Hampshire and has admired its stunning 200 acre woodland garden and its lush, beautiful rhododendrons will appreciate this coffee table knocker of a book whose themed gardens recently celebrated their 100th anniversary. It all started in 1919 when Lionel de Rothschild indulged his love for woody plants by creating a garden where they would thrive. The gardens were first opened to the public in 1955 and this book, written by his grandson and namesake, traces the history of the garden to the present day. The reader can wander through the collections of rare plants, shrubs and trees that are still on display today. If you’ve never been to Exbury Gardens and are reading this, it will be high on your list.
3. Easily Arrange Flowers: A Step-by-Step Guide from Judith Blacklock (The Flower Press Ltd, £ 18.99)
Your loved one may know how to grow flowers, but does he know how to arrange them? You could find help in this easy-to-follow guide from a top flower arranger who comes up with some really inspiring ideas. How you can create eye-catching displays when you’re entertaining or even when you fancy quirky flower shapes, Blacklock has the answer, for both modern and classic homes.
4. Herb by Mark Diacono (Quadrille, £ 26)
If you have a foodie in the family who has decided to grow their own herbs, this excellent discovery tour from food writer and gardener Mark Diacono provides inspiring ideas and information. He shares techniques that are at the heart of growing and explains how to prepare and use herbs well so you can cook up delicious foods that are worthwhile in both the process and bottom line. Providing a compendium of recipes and techniques for growing herbs and changing the way you cook with them at home, the book enables aspiring gardeners and chefs to capture and use flavors.
5. Thirteen Ways to Smell a Tree by David George Haskell (Gaia, £ 12.99)
Ever thought about how a tree smells? Or how could a tree evoke childhood memories or a specific time in a specific place? This dip-in-dip-out offering would be perfect for a quiet moment to read during the holiday season. Written by biologist, award-winning author and academic David George Haskell, it contains 13 beautifully written essays exploring the evocative scents of trees, from the conker tree that takes us back in time to the pine that hangs from the rear view mirror .
6. The Green Indoors by Maddie and Alice Bailey (Hardie Grant, £ 16.99)
So we all know the popularity of indoor plants that rose during the lockdown, and this book will inspire those who may not have had a lot of luck with indoor plants in the past. Not only will the authors find the perfect houseplant for you, but they’ll also show you where to put it and how to move plants to improve their growth and help them thrive. The book is broken down by environment – extreme sun and heat, dry air and central heating, deep shade, high humidity and drafts – each chapter offers tips for redesigning your living space and improving the longevity, growth and vibrancy of your plants.
7. Republishing the Planet by Vicki Hird (Chelsea Green, £ 12.99)
Even if your beloved gardening friend has an insect phobia, given its importance to the planet, this fascinating little tome can transform them into a new leaf about creepy crawly animals. After all, a world without beetles would mean no flowers, no trees, no crops and no food. More than 40% of insect species are critically endangered while a third more are critically endangered, warns environmental activist Vicki Hird, who says it is up to us to revise our attitudes. It delves into the solutions to troubleshooting, offers tips, advice and activities including re-wilding, makes beetle-friendly choices with food and clothing, and learns how to make a variety of spaces flawless.
8. Grow Organic Salad Leaves And Greens by Charles Dowding (Green Books, £ 14.99)
Charles Dowding has long encouraged gardeners to grow their own the easiest way, using “garden without a dig” so you won’t break your back in the process. No matter how big the plot or small the windowsill, budding growers can learn to master the secrets of the seasons so they can get a tasty harvest whatever the weather. In addition to traditional favorites, the book includes lesser-known lettuce leaves as well as recipes to get the most out of them. It’s an ideal gift for anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint and cut the cost of their shopping bills.