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Our Home & Garden section provides inspiration for your next DIY or gardening project. Whether your looking to start designing your garden, or looking for the latest and trendiest homes to take inspiration from, have a look through the books we have on offer.
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.
Finding herself in a new home in Brighton, Kate Bradbury sets about transforming her decked, barren backyard into a beautiful wildlife garden. She documents the unbuttoning of the earth and the rebirth of the garden, the rewilding of a tiny urban space. On her own she unscrews, saws and hammers the decking away, she clears the builders' rubble and rubbish beneath it, and she digs and enriches the soil, gradually planting it up with plants she knows will attract wildlife. She erects bird boxes and bee hotels, hangs feeders and grows nectar - and pollen-rich plants, and slowly brings life back to the garden. But while she's doing this Kate's neighbours continue to pave and deck their gardens locking them away, the wildlife she tries to save is further threatened, and she feels she's fighting an uphill battle. Is there any point in gardening for wildlife when everyone else is drowning the land in poison and cement? Sadly, events take Kate away from her garden, and she finds herself back home in Birmingham where she grew up, travelling the roads she used to race down on her bike in the eighties, thinking of the gardens and wildlife she loved, witnessing more land lost beneath paving stones. If the dead could return, what would they say about the land we have taken, the ancient routes we have carved up, the wildlife we have lost?
Get inspired to give your home a natural make-over with this stunning book from award-winning interior landscape designer Ian Drummond and interiors editor Kara O'Reilly. Houseplants are hot, and creative interior planting is becoming increasingly easy to achieve. The new wave of unusual and dramatic indoor plants is as much about decor and statement as greenery. Used aesthetically, as a focal point and sculptural element in interior design, indoor gardening is not just about possessing or growing a plant, but about using it as an accessory combined with other objects to create a particular style and mood.
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.
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.
Flowers, and the fruits that follow, feed, clothe, sustain, and inspire all humanity. They have done so since before recorded history. Flowers are used to celebrate all-important occasions, to express love, and are also the basis of global industries. Yet, we know little about flowers, their origins, bizarre sex lives, or how humans relate and depend upon them. Flowering plants continue to serve as inspiration in our myths and legends, in the fine and decorative arts, and in literary works of prose and poetry. Flowers seduce us-and animals, too-through their myriad shapes, colours, textures, and scents. And because of our extraordinary appetite for more unusual and beautiful super flowers, plant breeders have created such unnatural blooms as blue roses and black petunias to cater to the human world of haute couture fashion. In so doing, the nectar and pollen vital to the bees, butterflies, and bats of the world, are being reduced. Buchmann explains the unfortunate consequences, and explores how to counter them by growing the right flowers. Here, he integrates fascinating stories about the many colourful personalities who populate the world of flowers, and the flowers and pollinators themselves, with a research-based narrative that illuminates just why there is, indeed, a Reason for Flowers.
This book is from the author of the Samuel Johnson Prize - shortlisted Sunday Times bestseller, A Sting in the Tale. In 2003, Dave Goulson bought a derelict farm in the heart of rural France, together with 33 acres of surrounding meadow. Over the course of a decade, he created a place for his beloved bumblebees to thrive along with myriad insects of every kind. In this book you will learn how a deathwatch beetle finds its mate, about the importance of houseflies, why butterflies have spots on their wings, about dragonfly sex, bed-bugs and wasps. But it is also a wake-up call, urging us to cherish and protect life on earth in all its forms. A Buzz in the Meadow is a captivating look at our natural world and a call to arms for nature-lovers everywhere. Glorious. (The Times). Captivating. (Independent).
Have you ever grown a batch of lovingly nurtured tomatoes only to be disappointed by the flavour when you harvest them? Best-selling gardening writer and botanist James Wong is convinced that the problem lies with current gardening practices which create bumper harvests at the direct expense of flavour. James's solution? Simply by growing the best-flavoured varieties and treating them just a bit meaner, you will not only get harvests with an intense flavour - but also slash the work involved. Combining cutting-edge science with overlooked traditional techniques, this ground-breaking book lays out a series of deceptively simple tips and tricks to measurably increase the flavour of grow-your-own favourites like sweetcorn, strawberries and tomatoes, while at the same time revealing exciting new foodie crops you never knew you could grow. James also provides 40 really simple recipes for delicious ways to eat what you've grown. With James Wong's RHS Grow for Flavour you can halve your labour and double your harvest - and be rewarded with flavour that simply cannot be bought. So what are you waiting for?
Charles Dowding draws on his years of experience, to show how easy it is to start a new vegetable garden. Any plot -- whether a building site, overgrown with weeds or unwanted lawn -- can be turned into a beautiful and productive vegetable area. Charles's no-nonsense and straightforward advice is the perfect starting point for the beginner or experienced gardener. The book takes you step-by-step through: * Planning and early stages * Clearing the ground * Mulch - what, why, how? * Minimizing digging * Sowing and planting across the seasons * Growing in polytunnels and greenhouses It is filled with labour-saving ideas and the techniques that Charles uses to garden so successfully, and is illustrated throughout with photos and tales from Charles's first year in his new vegetable garden.
The gardens at Highgrove evoke intense emotion. In January, the dramatic light and early snowdrops of the Stumpery are exquisite; the glistening emerald lawns and tree blossoms in Spring lift the spirits with a promise of what is to come; in Summer, the longed-for delphiniums in the Sundial Garden stand proudly to attention and dramatic leaf colours welcome Autumn to the Arboretum as the harvesting in the Kitchen Garden begins. In Winter the structural elements of the garden have their moment of glory as the year comes to a close and the cycle of the seasons continues. Lavishly illustrated with photographs that capture both the light and detail of this magisterial space, this beautiful book will delight and inspire gardeners of every level. It is an exquisite celebration of garden design, passion and inspiration.
First published in 1979, a welcome reissue of John Jackson’s description of life on a Kent small-holding. With his wife and three children (all more or less enthusiastic about the move), they buy a house high in the North Kent Weald. Almost immediately the animals started arriving revealing the family’s genius for naming them. They didn’t need to do the self-sufficiency thing, they wanted to and this account is all the more believable as we read of just as many successes as failures. The family manages to balance the financial side of farming with care and good management; they don’t always manage to keep the animals under control, their decision to breed animals like Jacobs sheep that are able to jump and evade fencing don’t make things easy. Why do we still not use odd corners of the land for crops and grazing as the Jacksons did, why not run sheep with a lone horse at pasture, a mutually beneficial practice, small ways that make the most of the land, this is an enjoyable read that we can still learn from. A 'Piece of Passion' from the author... 'This book tells a tale of how a family - my family - living in a sliver of countryside in Kent in London's commuter belt, came over some ten years, to make itself, in its 'spare time' self sufficient in its requirements for milk, meat, eggs, vegetables and some fruit.My then wife Ann and I had each grown up in the countryside and we had missed the connection with the land we had known then. As child, I had lived in a former fisherman's cottage in Dorset when self sufficiency was a matter of necessity. My father was on the dole, of which there was not much in the 1930's, and my mother was in poor health. We lived on what we could grow or forage and if the tide was right what we could get out of the sea. I remember how a conger eel caught by my father would provide us with fish cakes for a week! But the book is also about more than the activities of a family and their animals. It is an attempt to make a small statement about people's relationship with the land they live on and the importance of that relationship. I have long believed that the 'health' of a nation is better and its communities and their cultures stronger, the more it cleaves and values the land it lives on.' Like for Like Reading Spotted Pigs & Green Tomatoes: A Year in the Life of Our Farm, Rosie Boycott Tales of the Country, Brian Viner
This is not a book about French Gardens. It is the story of a man travelling round France visiting a few selected French gardens on the way. Owners, intrigues, affairs, marriages, feuds, thwarted ambitions and desires, the largely unnamed ordinary gardeners, wars, plots and natural disasters run through every garden older than a generation or two and fill every corner of the grander historical ones. Families marry. Gardeners are poached. Political allegiances forged and shattered. The human trail crosses from garden to garden. They sit in their surrounding landscape, not as isolated islands but attached umbilically to it, sharing the geology, the weather, food, climate, local folklore, accent and cultural identity. Wines must be drunk and food tasted. Recipes found and compared. The perfect tarte-tartin pursued. None of these things can be ignored or separated from the shape and size of parterre, fountain, herbaceous border or pottager. So this is a book filled with stories and information, some of it about French gardens and gardening, but most of it about what makes France unlike anywhere else. From historical gardens like Versailles,Vaux le Vicomte and Courances to the kitchen gardens of the Michelin chef Alain Passard. There are grand potagers like Villandry and La Prieure D'Orsan and allotments and back gardens spotted on the way. Monty celebrates the obvious French associations of food and wine and finds gardens dedicated to vegetables, herbs and fruit. It is a book that any visitor to France, whether gardeners or not, will want to read both as a guide and an inspiration. It is a portal to get under the French cultural skin and to understand the country, in all its huge variety and disparity, a little better.
Informative and entertaining sections will enlighten you on the nature to be found every month, all illustrated in the author's beautiful watercolour and ink paintings. Discover what's flowering and what else you might come across on a country walk each month, learn how to tell the differences between similar species, like frogs and toads, and transform the foraged finds from your walks into jewellery or decorations for your home, or even something tasty to eat. Each month includes did you know features on a selection of our most interesting species of bird, plant and animal, helpful tips on how to improve your nature detective skills, as well as interesting snippets of country lore. Celia Lewis reveals all this and much more as she uncovers some of nature's secrets in her latest captivating book.
After moving from the Barleywood garden where he hosted BBC Gardeners' World for seven years, Alan Titchmarsh set up home in an old farmhouse a few miles down the road, and went about planting his own private eden away from the public eye. In this horticultural memoir Alan finally reveals all about this secret garden, explaining with his trademark warmth the personal stories behind its design and evolution. Accompanied by beautiful photographs taken by Jonathan Buckley throughout the eight years in which the garden has been made, My Secret Garden allows us access to all of the successes and failures of this diverse and ambitious project. Comprising many different styles and spaces - from an acre of formal beds and ponds to wild flower meadows and a stunning winter garden - Alan's tales of development and cultivation will be applicable to all gardeners. With the plot encompassing fruit trees, a handsome greenhouse and wildlife-friendly plantings, gardeners of all styles and levels of expertise will find something to enjoy.
In this comprehensive and practical guide to the countryside, passionate and hugely knowledgeable countryman Alan Titchmarsh explores the heritage of rural Britain, its landscapes and wildlife, its traditions, customs and crafts. He'll look at the beauty of chalk downland, offer a checklist of British butterflies and where to find them and show how to make moth traps and wildlife ponds. He'll identify the best breeds of cattle for meat and milk, explain how best to look after a pig and the secrets of a successful small holding. From keeping chickens to dressing a stick, from dry-stone walling to creating a wild flower meadow.
'A flower is not a flower alone; A thousand thoughts invest it' All over the world, flowers are an integral part of human culture whether it is the perfect table centre for a wedding, a beautiful bouquet for a birthday, a message of thanks, or to pay one's respect at a funeral. But, while everyone knows that red roses signify love, few may realise that an entire language of flowers exists with every bloom, folliage and plant having a particular emotion attached, be it hazel for reconcilliation, wisteria for welcome or ivy for fidelity. This unique language was created by the romantic early Victorians who carefully planned every bouquet and posy so as to deliver a desired message.
I’m late writing this review, but I blame Anna Pavord; her wonderful prose, her wide range of garden related subjects, short independent pieces come together in one delightful whole and I am loath to finish it. As the garden year winds down this is just what the garden lover needs, wise words, sage advice, ideas and views on the garden. Seductive writing indeed, her wit and reflections have quite a galvanising effect for Anna Pavord takes gardening away from the “experts” and makes it something for everyone, we might fail but we never give up, next year, next Spring – then it will all go right - and - because we’ve been inspired by Anna Pavord’s passions, we will plant Tulips, great swathes of Tulips. Like for Like Reading The Morville Year, Katherine Swift My Roots: A Decade in the Garden, Monty Don
After food rationing was introduced in 1940, and German U-boats began threatening merchant shipping bringing in essential foodstuffs, the Ministry of Agriculture decided something had to be done to make the kitchens of Britain more self-sufficient. The result was one of Britain's most successful propaganda campaigns - Dig for Victory - encouraging every man and woman to turn their garden, or even the grass verge in their street, over to cultivating vegetables. By 1942 half the population were taking part, and even the Royal Family had sacrificed their rose beds for growing onions. Now Dan Smith tells the full story of this remarkable wartime episode when spades, forks and bean canes became weapons the ordinary citizen could take up against the enemy. It had tangible benefits for the war effort in that shipping could be reallocated for munitions instead of food imports, as well as for the health of the nation in encouraging a diet of fresh fruit and veg. The campaign threw up unexpected celebrities like C.H. Middleton, whose wartime BBC radio talks on gardening reached a vast audience, and it even sowed the seeds for the modern allotment movement. Ultimately it is a war story without fighting or killing, one that shows how even The Little Man with the Spade, in the words of the Minister for Agriculture at the time, did his bit for Victory.
June 2011 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. An inspiring book for both gardeners and cooks, which brings Italy to your table by growing your own produce. Simple gardening advice and delicious recipes. Whether you have a balcony, a patio, or space for a full kitchen garden, Sarah provides a wealth of easy-to-understand instructions and advice - tried and tested in her own garden. This is the perfect book for anyone who loves Italian food and would like to know how to grow it - even on a small scale.
I’ve hijacked this book for the Gardening section as I couldn’t bear to miss Mirabel Osler’s new book. She starts and ends with gardens and throughout plants, trees, fragrance and gardens are much in evidence so I feel I am somewhat justified. She is looking back on life, sorting through accumulations of letters, diaries and photographs with that sadness that comes from knowing that one day who will know that person in the photograph, their story and history. We are introduced to places and people, her beloved husband Michael who sadly died just before her classic A Gentle Plea for Chaos was originally published, her children, her friends, the places where she has lived – and loved. A jewel of a book. Like for Like ReadingA Little History of British Gardening, Jenny UglowA Gentle Plea for Chaos, Mirabel Osler
A natural boffin, Dave Hamilton’s cheery book is the outcome of his quest for free-as-possible food. And growing food the “free” way is good for your purse and good for the environment as you recycle, reuse, scrounge and make-do. Beside the hundreds of tips and ideas, there is some very good advice to be had on soil, compost and fertiliser in particular. It’s fun to read with useful tables and quirky step-by-step diagrams, the projects achievable, that almost free food eminently possible. Like for Like Reading The Self-Sufficient-ish Bible, Andy & Dave HamiltonThe Thrifty Gardener: How to Create a Stylish Garden for Next to Nothing, Alys Fowler
Following her theme of the Pure Style, Jane Cumberbatch presents a book of living, eating and gardening simply and stylishly. Arranged by season, the book is a great pleasure to read. Jane’s personal reflections and her ideas on living extend the cooking theme. To take one example, the Rose; there are excellent recommendations of what to grow and how to look after your plants, how to use flowers in cooking through to making pot-pourri and pressed flowers. It’s a very well-rounded look at the place of food in life, how you can cook well but simply, how to make your house into a home. Like for Like ReadingSarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook, Sarah RavenThe Kitchen Diaries, Nigel Slater
The son of two passionate gardeners, Antony Woodward was born with chlorophyll running through his veins. Unfortunately, growing up with Latin plant names took its toll, and he was ingrained early on with a profound loathing of both gardens and gardening. Buying Tair-ffynnon, a derelict smallholding 1,300 feet up in the Black Mountains of Wales, changed everything. Hooked by its beauty -- when not buried in cloud -- Woodward battles to meet the strict requirements of the famous 'Yellow Book' in this unlikely terrain. He finds himself driven by apparently inexplicable compulsions: wood chopping, hauling a 20-tonne railway carriage up a mountain, even beekeeping. Soon, his voyage along the rocky path to his own patch of paradise takes on a more personal tenor as he unearths the deep roots linking gardening and his childhood in this warm, funny and unlikely memoir. Beautifully written and effortlessly engaging, 'The Garden in the Clouds' is a compelling read for anyone who has ever gardened -- or ever dreamt of doing so.
Aimed at those looking to navigate the maze of gardening advice and sort out the imperative jobs from those that can wait, this guide is perfect for new gardeners or those looking to make their time in the garden really count. This invaluable gardening guide shows you how to care for your garden month by month. From large-scale ornamental gardens to pot plants on your patio The Gardener's Year Made Easy will take you through the essential tasks to keep your plants in tip-top condition. Find out the most important jobs to do each month for all aspects of your garden, from vegetable plots to lawn care and large trees to herbaceous borders.
Superfoods from the Garden is the latest - and most important - book by Michael van Straten, the best-selling author and one of the most respected names in the world of complementary medicine and natural health care. A lifelong believer that good health comes first and foremost from the food you eat, here Michael brings together his three passions - spreading the word on good health the natural way, organic gardening and producing fantastic meals from freshly harvested food. With chapters devoted to each fruit and vegetable family, Michael begins by detailing the different health benefits of each food - for example, did you know that a generous serving of fresh peas supplies all the vitamin B1 you need for a day, or that leeks have a strong antibacterial effect and offer protection against stomach cancer? Once you have decided which crops to grow, Michael explains how to cultivate and nurture your plants. As a dedicated organic gardener, Michael offers tips, techniques and shortcuts to help you to achieve the best harvest ever. Finally, each chapter concludes with a collection of recipes, all devised to capture the goodness of the ingredients.
Whether you're lucky enough to have your own garden, run an allotment or only have enough room for a few pots and containers, you can successfully grow your own fresh vegetables to feed your family. John Harrison's practical guide gives you all the information you need to prepare the soil and start sowing your seeds. Learn all about: preparing the vegetable patch; getting the most from your land; tackling weeds and pests; benefiting from greenhouses and polytunnels; making your own compost and organic fertilizers; successional growing; and, saving and sowing your own seed. It includes a month-by-month guide to help you plan your gardening year. The Complete Vegetable Grower contains, in one comprehensive volume, all John's tips and tried-and-tested methods for successful vegetable growing. It includes an indispensable A to Z guide to vegetables, month-by-month advice to help you plan your gardening year, and an easy-to-follow sowing and harvesting chart. And, for the first time, his practical advice is illustrated with hundreds of beautiful colour photos.
When Kay Sexton becomes the proud holder of an allotment, she hopes it will be her first foray towards self-sufficiency for her family. Instead, she finds herself in a strange and hostile world of arcane rules and regulations, and hosepipe standoffs. She finds her mud-caked Wellingtoned feet and successfully navigates her way through allotment-keeping: battling Biblical-scale pest invasions; learning the dark arts of the competitive vegetable grower; and, practising ninja-like disappearing acts to avoid yet another free cucumber from a neighbouring gardener.
Devotees of The Morville Hours will need to be patient for the sequel, there is one coming but for now we have the bonus of The Morville Year, a collection of Katherine Swift’s columns from The Times. Taking us through the seasons, a gorgeous bran tub of a book that goes beyond gardening into the delights of land, the plants that make up a garden, the people, animals and insects that visit. Just about the ideal bedside book for any gardener, a chapter of Katherine Swift’s meditations on Morville and its garden will sooth even the most savage breast. Like for Like ReadingThe Morville Hours, Katherine SwiftThe Jewel Garden, Monty Don
'With passion and commitment thousands of 'small' people built Eden as a symbol of hope in action...We may all have feet of clay, but that shouldn't stop us trying to make a difference...We say, 'Demand the impossible . So said Tim Smit and thus was the impossible delivered: a living theatre of plants and people and their interdependence, housed in a disused china clay pit and featuring the world's largest greenhouses. Since Eden opened in 2001, well over ten million visitors have made their way to Eden, drawn by the astonishing, visionary ambition of its founders, the everchanging horticulture and new developments on-site. More have discovered it as an extraordinary music venue, attending Eden's sessions. But Eden is far more than a visitor attraction. It has mutated into an organisation with projects and partnerships all over the world concerned with rehabilitation (physical and social), community education, biodiversity, sustainable construction, green employment and town planning. Marking the 10th anniversary, this edition is the extraordinary, fully updated story of Eden complete with stunning new photographs.
Christopher Lloyd (Christo) was one of the greatest English gardeners of the twentieth century, perhaps the finest plantsman of them all. His creation is the garden at Great Dixter in East Sussex, and it is a tribute to his vision and achievement that, after his death in 2006, the Heritage Lottery Fund made a grant of GBP4 million to help preserve it for the nation. This enjoyable and revealing book - the first biography of Christo - is also the story of Dixter from 1910 to 2006, a unique unbroken history of one English house and one English garden spanning a century. It was Christo's father, Nathaniel, who bought the medieval manor at Dixter and called in the fashionable Edwardian architect, Lutyens, to rebuild the house and lay out the garden. And it was his mother, Daisy, who made the first wild garden in the meadows there. Christo was born at Dixter in 1921. Apart from boarding school, war service and a period at horticultural college, he spent his whole life there, constantly re-planting and enriching the garden, while turning out landmark books and exhaustive journalism. Opinionated, argumentative and gloriously eccentric, he changed the face of English gardening through his passions for meadow gardening, dazzling colours and thorough husbandry. As the baby of a family of six - five boys and a girl - Christo was stifled by his adoring mother. Music-loving and sports-hating, he knew the Latin names of plants before he was eight. This fascinating book reveals what made Christo tick by examining his relationships with his generous but scheming mother, his like-minded friends (such as gardeners Anna Pavord and Beth Chatto) and his colleagues (including his head gardener, Fergus Garrett, a plantsman in Christo's own mould).
Nothing is more delicious than food grown at home. The Vegetable & Herb Expert, The Fruit Expert and The Greenhouse Expert show you how to get the very best from your garden or allotment. Now The Garden to Kitchen Expert completes the story, explaining how to prepare all the produce you have grown for the table. The Garden to Kitchen Expert shows you: classic recipes for preparing each fruit and vegetable; new ideas for making the most of a glut; trusted methods for everyday cooking; how to serve your produce where no cooking is required; how to store, preserve and pickle what you grow before serving; and, exciting kitchen uses for flowers and weeds from your garden. It offers reliable, easy-to-follow advice and information from best-selling EXPERT books.
An ideal introduction to the delights of gardening for fragrance, I found this guide very useful as it gives suggestions for scented plants in every season even in the depths of winter there can be fragrance in the garden. It’s easy to use and quick for reference, every plant illustrated in colour and beginners will find all the planting, care and propagation tips they need. Alongside the obvious – the roses, honeysuckles and lavenders - there are more unusual plants – and trees to try and I, for now, am on the hunt for an Eriobotrya Japonica a tree that flowers from November to March and has “extravagantly scented blossoms” just what’s needed to get through a long winter. Like for Like ReadingThe Rose, David AustinFlowers in the Garden: A Practical Guide to Planting for Colour and Fragrance All Year Round, Andi Clevely
In this revised and updated edition of her book The New Kitchen Garden, bestselling gardening writer Anna Pavord tells us all we need to know about growing fruit and vegetables.
Following in the curmudgeonly footsteps of The Grumpy Driver's and Golfers Handbooks, is a compilation of all things frustrating about maintaining the average domestic garden. Grump's attempts to improve his extra room outdoors are thwarted at every turn. His lawn develops alopecia, his fruit trees are shunned by all pollinating insects, his veg is a big hit with slugs and his Indian sandstone patio becomes an ingenious sunken garden. Chapters include Pruning, Weeding, Compost (Ivor is convinced that cryogenics fan Walt Disney could be happily accommodated in his non-decomposing compost bins), Sheds, Pond-Life, Oh, I Simply Adore Lobelia (people who talk too loudly in show gardens), TV Gardening, Pests and Living With 'Leaf Lady', a woman hell-bent on identifying every foreign leaf that is swept into their garden - and returning it...There is a Grumpy Calendar of seasonal jobs in the garden and how best to avoid them, plus advice on how to impress people with a Slacker's Veg Patch (vegetables that look after themselves more or less).
Opens the door to a whole new way of growing food – and don’t be put off by the word Forest in the title, this form of gardening can easily be adapted to back gardens by lowering the tree canopy and limiting the number of plants you grow. A lifetime’s experience is distilled here, beautifully presented, it shows how to grow using perennial plants, the most sustainable form of gardening. As well as a new form of gardening, Martin Crawford is introducing new and unusual plants making this a stand-out choice.Like for Like ReadingPlants for a Future, Ken FernOrganic Gardening: The Natural No-Dig Way, Charles Dowding
For anyone starting out on the grow-your-own route it can all seem like hard labour with very little pleasure. To find out what joys are to come, New Urban Farmer is recommended as a first-class introduction to the delights of growing to eat. It’s a journey through the growing year, partly a diary, partly a manual and very much to do with eating with delicious recipes to follow. A visual treat, the photographs are superb, the advice good and inspiration on every page for both lucky allotment holders and tremulous beginners with just a window box and a few pots. Like for Like ReadingTender, Vol One: A Cook and his Vegetable Patch, Nigel SlaterSarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook, Sarah Raven
A really good guide to allotment basics - from first picking up your spade to harvesting your crops. Written in an encouraging style – the novice won’t feel overwhelmed by technical detail and should find plenty of inspiration in the fruit and vegetables, herbs and flowers recommended for growing. I liked the information boxes recommending varieties and the “at a glance” section, the choice of illustrations and how easy it is to use. Would make a lovely gift for anyone starting out with an allotment. Like for Like Reading The Allotment Book, Andi ClevelyOne Man and His Dig: Adventures of an Allotment Novice, Valentine Low
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 15 April 2010. The seasons in Monty Don’s hands are equally blessed. Capturing15 years of creative gardening at his farmhouse home in Ivington (in Herefordshire), Monty makes milky winter-sun pruning just as pleasurable as the heady thrills of summer gardening. It is an everyday diary but each entry comes from different years within the span – so there’s a story of Weeds on 9 January 1999 followed by Moles on 10 January 2004. But it all reads seamlessly, as seasons do in memory. His writing, like his gardening, is rigorous, solid, honest, beautiful, whimsical. His happiest experiences include being in the garden with his wife Sarah, each on their own patch, simultaneously working out their dreams for the place.
The book is arranged by month, great for someone who has some growing experience, absolute beginners might need a little supplementary reading! The information provided tells you what to do each month and extra charts give a week-by-week guide. Then there’s what’s ready for eating and - to get the busy gardener to look up and observe from time-to-time, notes on what you can see around you. Add in some projects and recipes and this is a lovely guide for daily use and winter fireside dreaming. Like for Like ReadingVegetable Growing Month-by-Month: The Down-to-Earth Guide that takes you through the Vegetable Year, John HarrisonGrow Your Own: Fruit and Vegetables in Plot, Pots or Growbags: The A-Z Guide to Growing and Cooking Farm-Fresh Food, Steve Ott
This is the chap who has been giving advice to allotment holders on the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 since 2003. Even if you are not a keen gardener there is something in this delightful book for everyone. Not only does Terry give us an entertaining memoir he also throws in recipes and handy gardening tips too.
In Bed & Out
Whether you’re a ‘look at the pictures and see how other people do it’ kind of person, a “that’s a nice flower, I wonder what it’s called?” type, or a ‘well-worn gloves and boots, all-weather, green-fingered gardening guru’ (or a bit of all three for that matter), then there’s something for you here in our lovingly tendered gardening section.
There are books for reference (the RHS’s ‘A-Z Encyclopaedia of Plants’) books to help inspire: winter gardens, summer gardens, spring planting, urban gardens, small gardens, (Small Garden by John Brookes) kitchen gardens and allotments (A Taste of the Unexpected by Mark Diacono), and gardens that support wild life (Fragrant Plants by Lucy Summers). There are books about famous gardens (Bunny Guinness’s ‘Highgrove, A Garden Celebrated’). And when you just want a good read by the fire after a long day in the potting shed, there are the more anecdotal tales of ambition, achievement and planting passion (‘Spade, Mightier than the Sword: The Story of World War Two’s “Dig for Victory” Campaign’ by Daniel Smith).
Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you’re never too far away from your next great read, great events, competitions and discounts? Sign up for our free emails and let the passion of our experts guide you to some wonderful new reading.