Here is our selection of best books for gardeners. Perfect for a last minute Christmas present. We hope you enjoy the collection as much as we did.
This book introduces Planting Design as 'Designed Plant Communities'. Taking inspiration from naturally occurring planting communities, the Authors systematically explain their approach to recreating those communities in designed spaces. Their approach of using 'Structural Layers', 'Seasonal Theme Layers', and 'Ground Cover Layers' to planting design gives the reader a clear method of laying out the necessary parts of a garden.
The book also goes into the idea of 'Post-Wild', which is their pragmatic acceptance that the vast majority of our environment is irrevocably changed from it's pre-human wild state. We cannot go back to this state, so what is the best way for humans to live with nature now? Highly recommended.
Wilding by Isabella Tree
The Knepp Estate is world famous for its Rewilding project over the last 20 years. Such an inspiring read.
The Garden Jungle by Dave Goulson
Reading books like this give us the knowledge that leads to a greater understanding of the wildlife that lives all around us. Re-Wilding a 3500 acres estate like Knepp is fantastic, but as a project it's slightly out of reach for most of us. Dave Goulson gives us the tools for us to apply the care and sense of awe we all have towards the natural world to the spaces we have outside our windows.
Natural Selection by Dan Pearson
Dan Pearson is a garden designer and writer with a depth of knowledge about plants and gardening that comes from his life long fascination with plants. He started gardening when he was about 10 and hasn't stopped. He wrote a weekly column for The Observer about his own gardens and this book collates those articles to span the course of a calendar year. It covers the time he was living in London but had recently bought a house in Somerset and because it covers a full calendar year, it reminds the reader there is no down time in a garden. There is beauty and interest and work to be done all year. Also, it reminds the reader that each year is very different from the last, an 'ongoing process and enlightenment', and that the central core of gardening is that the joy is in the journey, not the destination.
The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
There is a new and fundamental study of soil and everything that lives underground that is proving to be critical to our understanding, and healing, of the planet. The underground network of Mycorrhizal fungi and the bacteria that exist in the soil, a teaspoon of productive soil generally contains between 100 million and 1 billion bacteria, is only just beginning to be understood. This book concentrates on trees and their relationship with the soil and each other and is completely amazing.
Beth Chatto's Green Tapestry revisited
The original book was written by Beth Chatto as a way to explain her planting choices and experiences in making her famous garden. This is fully updated by the team who worked alongside Beth for many years and since her death have continued to work for the gardens. They have added new text where areas have been remodelled including the now famous gravel garden. Her well known adage of 'Right Plant, Right Place' is the best gardening tip bar none.
The Wild Garden was first published in 1870, evolving through many editions throughout the author's lifetime. It was William Robinson's 'forceful challenge' to the prevailing rigid Victorian planting style of his day. His ethos was one of the key ingredients in the mixed border and cottage garden styles we have seen so much of in the last 100 years. In its original form it's a classic of garden design history. In this edition Rick Dark has expanded it to become relevant to todays gardens, 'placing wild gardening in modern context, underscoring Robinson's importance in the evolution of ecological design'.
Essay on Gardening by Henk Gerritsen
Henk Gerritsen wrote this book about his thoughts and feelings of what a garden is, could be, should be and shouldn't be after a lifetime studying plants in their natural habitats and creating a garden called Priona in The Netherlands. He created it with his partner Anton Schlepers over many years, and together they have changed they way we garden and changed they way we think about beauty in gardens. He had a huge influence on Piet Oudolf in his early years as a plant nursery owner and garden designer. His introduction says; 'Thanks to Henk, my ideas about how to create a garden altered drastically. My discussions with Henk, my get togethers with Rob Leopold, and later with others completely changed my vision of what an ideal garden should look like.' He also says; 'This book.. is an appeal to think about our relationship with nature and about how we help to give our gardens something of this nature, even if it's only emotion and a desire for beauty.'