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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 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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
'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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).