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
'Every time he appears on the programme we feel that life is worth living. He has that power to lift your spirits.' - Jeremy Vine Terry Walton has kept an allotment in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales for over fifty years. He started when he was four, helping on his father's plot on the side of the mountain, cutting bracken and collecting sheep manure to feed the vegetables. He was farming his own plot at eleven and he went on to build an allotment empire, selling his vegetables and flowers to local customers. The proceeds paid for his first car, a canary yellow Ford Popular, when he was just seventeen. Then, in 2006, after half a decade of happy gardening, Terry's allotment was adopted by the Jeremy Vine Show and he became an unlikely media star. In this absorbing and entertaining memoir, Terry documents how the valley has changed over the years, his own conversion to organic gardening, and the colourful characters he meets; interspersing his anecdotes with topical tips, family recipes and quirky line drawings. My Life on a Hillside Allotment is the perfect read for gardeners, allotmenteers and anyone who loves the great outdoors.
One of the most admired gardening writers of her generation, Katherine Swift returns to describe a year in the life of her garden she created over twenty years in the grounds of the Dower House at Morville, Shropshire, meditating on everything from the terrain and its history, to the plants and trees, and the odd habits of the animals and humans who inhabit the garden. Following the turning wheel of the Morville seasons, from the green shoots of spring, through summer and autumn, to the stark beauty of winter, and back to spring again, The Morville Year is a journal full of surprises and enchantments that will appeal not only to gardeners, but to all who enjoy the natural world.
A host of vividly caught characters are here: Mirabel's extrovert, free-spirited mother Phyllis; Aylmer Vallance, who with extraordinary love letters would rescue her mother from a twilight life; Stella Bowen, Phyllis's lifelong friend and fellow student under Ezra Pound, their introduction to the London literati, notably Ford Madox Ford. Throughout Mirabel's childhood, it was Stella who would be the one fast colour amid her mercurial mother's love affairs. Turning closer to the present - to new friendships, the paring away of previous assumptions and conventions and the serendipities of chance acquaintance - we encounter Michael, Mirabel's late husband, who's barbaric public-school childhood contrasted so dramatically with Mirabel's own, affectionate and carefree; whose repressed father so adored roses; their childhood meeting; their delight in their children and beloved Shropshire garden, a character in its own right, full of the joy of the unexpected. Celebrated author of A Gentle Plea for Chaos, Mirabel Osler's meditation on the profound pleasures of writing, gardens, travel and food is both graceful and deeply affecting.
'Wonderfully intense and honest - a poignant manual of how to grow hope against the odds.' Chris Packham, TV presenter and author of Fingers in the Sparkle Jar 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?
WATERSTONES NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH BOOKSELLER BOOK OF THE MONTH: 'It is beautifully, persuasively written - and what's more, it works.' 'Barnes describes the wonders of nature with an infectious enthusiasm' Guardian 'Such a good idea' Chris Packham 'Barnes, a passionate writer on wildlife...is an endearingly boisterous guide' Daily Mail We're not just losing the wild world. We're forgetting it. We're no longer noticing it. We've lost the habit of looking and seeing and listening and hearing. But we can make hidden things visible, and this book features 23 spellbinding ways to bring the magic of nature much closer to home. Mammals you never knew existed will enter your world. Birds hidden in treetops will shed their cloak of anonymity. With a single movement of your hand you can make reptiles appear before you. Butterflies you never saw before will bring joy to every sunny day. Creatures of the darkness will enter your consciousness. And as you take on new techniques and a little new equipment, you will discover new creatures and, with them, new areas of yourself that had gone dormant. Once put to use, they wake up and start working again. You become wilder in your mind and in your heart. Once you know the tricks, the wild world begins to appear before you. For anyone who wants to get closer to the nature all around them and bring it back into focus, this is the perfect read.