Garden

The Tropical Hothouse (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)

The Tropical Hothouse (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)

Author: Chris Thorogood Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/08/2019

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.

The Story of Gardening

The Story of Gardening

Author: Penelope Hobhouse, Ambra Edwards Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/09/2019

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.

The Road to Le Tholonet A French Garden Journey

The Road to Le Tholonet A French Garden Journey

Author: Monty Don Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/03/2014

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.

eBooks of the Month
The RHS Allotment Handbook - The Expert Guide for Every Fruit and Veg Grower

The RHS Allotment Handbook - The Expert Guide for Every Fruit and Veg Grower

Author: Royal Horticultural Society Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/03/2010

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

The Reason for Flowers Their History, Culture, Biology, and How They Change Our Lives

The Reason for Flowers Their History, Culture, Biology, and How They Change Our Lives

Author: Stephen L. Buchmann Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/07/2015

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.

The Rain Tree

The Rain Tree

Author: Mirabel Osler Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/05/2012

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.

eBooks of the Month
The National Trust School of Gardening

The National Trust School of Gardening

Author: Rebecca Bevan Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/04/2021

Written by Rebecca Bevan (Gardens Researcher for the National Trust, RHS Horticultural Adviser, and BBC Gardeners' World Researcher) in a spirit of wise accessibility, The National Trust School of Gardening strikes a brilliant balance between being a beautiful book to take inspiration from, and an unintimidating practical guide to designing and maintaining your own garden, with hundreds of colour photographs and clear step-by-step, how-to diagrams. Though the book showcases some of the grandest National Trust estates, among them Sissinghurst Castle and Packward House, the advice shared can be applied to more modest private gardens. Indeed, Bevan also refers to some of the Trust’s smaller cottage gardens as she unearths guidance on everything from borders, roses, lawns and meadows, to shrubs and trees, topiary and hedges, fruit and veg. The breadth of tips is impressively exhaustive, including, for example, how to choose the best lawnmower and greenhouse to suit your needs, how to create low-maintenance small-scale displays, and an excellent chapter devoted to sustainable gardening practices. As its charming cover states, The National Trust School of Gardening is indeed a treasure chest of gardening advice and inspiration - a book to give as a gift to green-fingered friends (or yourself).

The Morville Year

The Morville Year

Author: Katherine Swift Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2012

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.

eBooks of the Month
The Language of Flowers: A Miscellany

The Language of Flowers: A Miscellany

Author: Mandy Kirkby, Vanessa Diffenbaugh Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/10/2011

'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.

The Ivington Diaries

The Ivington Diaries

Author: Monty Don Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/10/2009

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 Grumpy Gardner's Handbook

The Grumpy Gardner's Handbook

Author: Ivor Grump Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2011

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).

The Gardener's Year Made Easy

The Gardener's Year Made Easy

Author: Ceri Thomas Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/03/2011

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.