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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.
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
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).