Be inspired by a book and share the feel-good power of plants this National Gardening Week

National Gardening Week 2022 runs from 2-8th May and this year, for your delectation, we have created a collection of books to inspire you to be more green fingered.

Ever since the first celebration in 2012, the annual event has grown in popularity. and each National Gardening Week sees thousands of people sharing their love of gardening. Whether you are uplifted by seeing local blooms or find your own joy in gardening we have curated here a selection of books to inspire, enthuse and entertain you.

The theme for 2022 is "the joy of gardening" thus named to celebrate the opening of the new RHS Community Gardens, each of which is designed to be a space where groups, families, organisations and individuals can discover, share and grow their joy of gardening. The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity which aims to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.

So whether you’re gardening to eat, saving our planet with your gardening intiatives, gardening for joy and to support your mental health, sowing seeds with the little ones in your life or getting on top of the pruning, find some books here to complement your gardening journey.

Gardening for Mind, Body and Soul

Gardening for Mind, Body and Soul

Author: Annie Burdick Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/02/2022

This is a joyful and handy book which focuses on guidance for finding happiness and living in tune with your own personal piece of the great outdoors. Over the past few years we’ve found ourselves at home more than we might normally wish to be, and for those of us lucky enough to have them, we have grown to love our gardens even more. Gardening for Mind, Body and Soul cuts to the chase, zooming in on anything and everything in the garden that can bring you fulfilment, calm and well-being. Turning the traditional gardening book on its head this comes from the point of view of why gardens are good for us and includes sections on everything from mood-boosting and fitness to sensory experience and spiritual wellness. I particularly liked the pages dedicated to creativity and the ideas around music, art and writing in the garden - a far cry from facing up to the chores of weeding or mowing the lawn! This book has given me all sorts of inspiration for turning my garden into a stress-busting source of energy and has opened me up to the possibilities of its healing gifts. If you ever find yourself wanting to run away and escape the stresses of modern living, you may discover through this book that the answer is closer to home than you thought.

The National Trust School of Gardening

The National Trust School of Gardening

Author: Rebecca Bevan Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/04/2021

Written by Rebecca Bevan (Gardens Researcher for the National Trust, RHS Horticultural Adviser, and BBC Gardeners' World Researcher) in a spirit of wise accessibility, The National Trust School of Gardening strikes a brilliant balance between being a beautiful book to take inspiration from, and an unintimidating practical guide to designing and maintaining your own garden, with hundreds of colour photographs and clear step-by-step, how-to diagrams. Though the book showcases some of the grandest National Trust estates, among them Sissinghurst Castle and Packward House, the advice shared can be applied to more modest private gardens. Indeed, Bevan also refers to some of the Trust’s smaller cottage gardens as she unearths guidance on everything from borders, roses, lawns and meadows, to shrubs and trees, topiary and hedges, fruit and veg. The breadth of tips is impressively exhaustive, including, for example, how to choose the best lawnmower and greenhouse to suit your needs, how to create low-maintenance small-scale displays, and an excellent chapter devoted to sustainable gardening practices. As its charming cover states, The National Trust School of Gardening is indeed a treasure chest of gardening advice and inspiration - a book to give as a gift to green-fingered friends (or yourself).

The Hedgerow Apothecary Forager's Handbook

The Hedgerow Apothecary Forager's Handbook

Author: Christine Iverson Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/04/2022

Before picking up the Forager’s Handbook, the practice of ‘foraging’ seemed to me something of a dark art or perhaps even an act of desperation. Having spent a few evenings with this book, I now find myself planning trips out of town to hunt for beech nuts that I can make coffee with, or elderflower to create my own cordial. It’s so obvious, of course, that the countryside is packed with wild plants that provide remedies, health foods, and hold secrets that can be put to other uses in the home. We're just not looking anymore. Over the past centuries our knowledge of foraging has slipped away, like so many things, as we’ve sacrificed simple and sustainable living for mass manufacture and distribution. Author Christine Iverson writes, “When I go foraging in the hedgerows I feel I am following in the footsteps of our ancestors.” There is no doubt an emotional, or perhaps even spiritual benefit to be gained from ‘living off the land’ as much as possible, and discovering the gifts that nature has tucked away for us in the hedgerows. Helpfully, this apothecary focuses very much on the practical. It is arranged by season so you know what you have a chance of finding when you venture out, how to identify what you are looking for, and of course what the common uses are for what you find. The Forager’s Handbook is a wonderful companion to inspire a fun day out, but also to slip into your pocket as you stroll along should the opportunity for some spontaneous foraging arise.

The Forager Chef's Book of Flora

The Forager Chef's Book of Flora

Author: Alan Bergo Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/09/2021

Alan Berger’s The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora serves a creative, flavoursome feast of recipes focussed on wild plants. One person’s weed will often be Berger’s delicious delight, and this book invites readers to pay attention to, and forage, the wonderful wealth of wild plants that flourish in fields, forests and gardens. The chapter divisions say it all - Verdant, Abundant, Aromatic and Nourishing - each of them rich in inspiring, easy-to-follow recipes, from the familiar (soups made with watercress, for example) to the unexpected - who would have thought sunflowers could have so many uses and be so tasty? With 180 recipes in all, plenty of photographs, tonnes of tips on techniques for preparation and storage, plus in-depth detail on plant families, this is encyclopaedic in scope, and is sure to bring fresh wild wonder to tables.

Rebugging the Planet

Rebugging the Planet

Author: Vicki Hird Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/09/2021

Imbued with infectious personal passion as it shares expert information and plenty of practical guidance, Vicki Hird’s Rebugging the Planet is a brilliant book for bug-lovers of all ages and, given bugs’ vital importance to the upkeep and well-being of Planet Earth (let’s pause for a moment to acknowledge the fact that bees contribute more to the UK economy than the Queen), it deserves to be enjoyed and implemented far and wide - at home, and in classrooms too. In fact, this is perfect for reading and implementing during longer holidays from school, or over the course of a term, especially chapter four which presents an extensive range of how-to ideas for re-bugging your own patch of the world. But back to the beginning. The book sets out its inspirational stall in the opening chapters by explaining all the vital things bugs do for us, among them pollinating plants, feeding birds, feeding humans, defending our food crops, cleaning our water, controlling pests, and healing us. Maggots, for example, can remove (munch) and disinfect rotting flesh, leeches can stop clots, and the honey made by bees has anti-inflammatory properties. To play a role in the author’s re-bugging initiative, readers might find themselves inspired to build a bug palace, buy bug-friendly food from bug-buddy farmers, and much more. This is packed with plenty of ways to live a bug-better life, which in turn means living on a better planet. The LoveReading LitFest invited Vicki Hird to the festival to talk about Rebugging the Planet.  The digitally native, all year round, online literature and books festival, with new content released every week is a free-for-all-users festival. What are you waiting for? Check out a preview of the event and sign up to become a member.  

The Story of Gardening

The Story of Gardening

Author: Penelope Hobhouse, Ambra Edwards Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/09/2019

Beginning with the origins of gardens, this gloriously illustrated expedition through time and place begins in ancient Mesopotamia and explores the luscious gardens of the Sumerians, Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians. From here we move to Ancient Greece and Rome, to the beginnings of botany and Roman topiary. The coverage of the gardens of Islam is especially gratifying with the authors’ description of them as being “among the most sublime in the world - soothing, refreshing and deeply spiritual” borne out by the accompanying photography and images of ancient art, tiles, textiles and scripts. Later we enter the complex formalised gardens of 17th century France, celebrated as expressions of “French rationalism”, and then comes an unearthing of the founding of Kew Gardens, before we discover the history and charms of gardens of the Americas, China and Japan. Written by gardening history doyenne Penelope Hobhouse and celebrated writer Ambra Edwards, this is a dazzlingly informative labour of love.

The Tropical Hothouse (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)

The Tropical Hothouse (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)

Author: Chris Thorogood Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/08/2019

This is a stunning beauty of a book, which would be perfect either as a present for yourself or someone else. It is contained within lovely packaging with the gorgeous book cover peeking out at you. Author Dr Chris Thorogood, the Deputy Director and Head of Science at Oxford Botanic garden and Harcourt Arboretum, has chosen over 50 topical plants, with detail of their origins and special features. The book tells us that: “Two of the most extraordinary Victorian glasshouses in the world are the Palm House and the Temperate House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, from whose archives the images in this book have been selected”. What really sets this book apart is that the top part of the illustration can actually be pressed out of the page, so that each plant stands out and creates, when the book is opened, a stunning visual spectacle. The instructions are clear and concise, and I took great enjoyment in pressing out the pages to discover my own hothouse. This is truly delightful, and you really do have to see it to truly appreciate the beauty. Do take a look at our competition page, as until 31 August 2019, you can win a copy of The Tropical Hothouse and two tickets to Kew Gardens.

A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year

A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year

Author: Jane McMorland Hunter Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/10/2018

Wake up to the wonder of our countryside with this gorgeous book containing a nature poem for every day of the year. I adore this idea, in a world that is changing and becoming endangered in our lifetime, reading a poem a day about nature through the seasons helps to open our eyes to the importance of simple natural beauty and pleasures. The cover is a stunner, bold, simple colours catch the eye, the illustrations by Tatiana Boyko effectively highlight the introduction to each month contained within. The poems range from old to new, the poets from the well known such as William Blake, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, to those I hadn’t heard of, all of the poems connect with love to the natural world that surrounds us. Jane McMorland Hunter explains in her introduction that the poems are either in their entirety or reduced to an extract. The natural world is what is on show here, and an extract can, in essence, highlight the beauty of that with just a few simple lines such as Thomas Lovell Beddoes “A Lake Is a river curled and asleep like a snake”. Any extracts are explained, so you can easily search out the rest of the poem. A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year is going to sit on my bedside table, I can’t wait to open it up each day, to reaffirm and celebrate my love for nature.

A Nature Poem for Every Night of the Year

A Nature Poem for Every Night of the Year

Author: Jane McMorland Hunter Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/09/2020

Companion to A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year and Friends: A Poem for Every Day of the Year, A Nature Poem for Every Night of the Year is an exquisitely curated collection that induces calm contemplation as it evokes nature in all its awe-inspiring forms - frozen lakes, majestic trees, creeping autumnal twilights, disquieting night winds, multitudes of birds, and much more besides. It’s a book to reach out to before bed, for pondering each poem will instil a sense of slowing down before sleep sets in, nurturing gentle focus and moments of natural respite.  As the book progresses through the year, there’s a tangible sense of nature budding, blooming and abating through the shifting seasons. We walk with Oscar Wilde by the “withered leaf of the moon”. We pass through the “door of spring” with Ethelwyn Wetherald. We revel in springtime birdsong beside William Wordsworth. We’re dazzled by Christina Rossetti’s blossoming “golden glories”. And then comes Betjeman’s harvesttime hues, Tennyson’s September dew, and Sara Teasdale’s “feathery filigree of frost”. Alongside such esteemed names, lesser-known poets are included too, which means it also serves as an excellent springboard to discovering hitherto unknown voices.

Star Books
RHS Gardening Through the Year Month-by-month Planning Instructions and Inspiration

RHS Gardening Through the Year Month-by-month Planning Instructions and Inspiration

Author: Ian Spence Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/09/2018

A new edition of this best-selling, easy-to-follow guide for beginner gardeners. Let BBC Gardener's World writer Ian Spence tell you month by month what to do when in your garden, and show you exactly how to do it too. This fully illustrated book takes you systematically through the year, each chapter looking in-depth at one month at a time. A handy To Do list, along with Last Chance reminders and Get Ahead tips, gives you an overview of the month's tasks, followed by an inspirational gallery of Star Plants to showcase the visual highlights of the month. The rest of each chapter is packed with advice on plant care, maintaining garden features such as lawns and ponds, what to prune when, and illustrated step-by-step projects and gardening ideas. A photographic A-Z appendix of nearly 350 plants provides detailed information on growing habit and care. This updated edition features brand-new visual galleries that showcase a gardening year at-a-glance, with inspirational ideas for achieving colour, scent, or eye-catching foliage in your garden for every month of the year. Each month has updated Weather Watch and plant care information. Packed with essential gardening advice, RHS Gardening Through the Year is the must-have book for new gardeners and a trusty reference for old hands.

A Little History of British Gardening

A Little History of British Gardening

Author: Jenny Uglow Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/04/2017

Coloured by Jenny Uglow's own love for plants, and brought to life in the many vivid illustrations, this book deals not only with flowery meads, grottoes and vistas, landscapes and ha-has, parks and allotments, but tells you, for example, how the Tudors made their curious knots; how housewives used herbs to stop freckles; how the suburbs dug for victory in World War II. With a brief guide to particular historic or evocative gardens open to the public, this is a book to put in your pocket when planning a summer day out - but also to read in your deckchair with a glass of cold wine, when dead-heading is simply too much.

eBooks of the Month
How to Grow A Guide for Gardeners Who Can't Garden Yet

How to Grow A Guide for Gardeners Who Can't Garden Yet

Author: Hollie Newton Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/02/2017

This is the gardening book reimagined for a new generation. A book for people who want to learn how to grow things, but haven't got a clue where to start. With the average person now spending an enormous 8 hours and 41 minutes in front of a screen every day, gardening is an easy way to escape for half an hour. Whether on a rented balcony or a sunny kitchen windowsill, it turns out growing something with your own two hands can make you feel better. Which is where HOW TO GROW comes in. Irreverent and inspiring, this book will equip you with all the know-how and confidence you need to take your first steps into a lifelong gardening love affair - trowel in one hand, drink in the other.

eBooks of the Month

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