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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.
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.
This really is the most gorgeously scrumptious book, showcasing some truly beautiful and awe-inspiring skies. 365 photographs and paintings, information, science, poetry and quotations all sit inside this rather lovely cover. The book is a great size, not too unwieldy, and after the introduction, which also gives some handy page numbers of some of the highlights, every single page is adorned with clouds. Did you know there was a Cloud Appreciation Society? I didn’t, but of course it makes complete sense! Gavin Pretor-Pinney started the society and says: “Having your head in the clouds, even for just a few moments each day, is good for your mind, good for you body and good for your soul. This book aims to show you why.” It certainly does show you why, you can open it at random, return again and again, and just soak up the images. The next time you head out, you can look up and know a little bit more about our beautiful skies. A Cloud A Day is a stunner, visually and mentally stimulating, it has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book.
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
For as long as Zoe Sugg can remember she has loved welcoming friends & family into her home, whether it's to celebrate someone else's big day or just being with friends, there is nothing she enjoys more than putting her energy into making any occasion special. In Zoe's eyes the best thing about getting people together is there really is no right or wrong way: maybe you want to plan a throw-everything-at-it shindig, or simply make a special effort for one guest. Mostly it's about how people feel when they're in your company. How the smallest of gatherings can feel momentous, and the biggest of parties can feel intimate. Over the years Zoe has shared glimpses of this side to her in her videos, with millions of viewers taking daily inspiration from her life. In Cordially Invited she shares her best and never seen before ideas in print. Divided into seasons, and woven through with Zoe's own stories and memories, this book reveals her favourite events - big or small - throughout the year and how to celebrate them in style. From practical ideas for how to feed your guests and hacks for unexpected get-togethers to simple but impressive DIYs and those personal touches people will remember, Cordially Invited is Zoe's blueprint for making an event and a memory out of each day.
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
'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.
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
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
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).