Top Gardening Books for Christmas

By Alex N

Looking for the perfect gift for a gardening enthusiast?  You will probably find that they love books – and this time of year is perfect for armchair gardening.  This year has some particularly tempting gardening books.  Never mind about anyone else - I'll be sneaking a few of these into my own stocking!  If you want a more high ticket item  - you could also add one of these books as the perfect accompaniment to a MyGardenSchool gift voucher for an online gardening course.  Vouchers for online gardening courses  can be bought right up until Christmas Day if you haven’t decided by then.

Great Gardening Gifts
Contemporary Designers' Own Gardens
[caption id="attachment_6864" align="alignleft" width="87"]Contemporary Garden Designs Contemporary Garden Designs[/caption]


This is an inspiring look through the key-hole at gardens of the world's leading garden designers.  If you're an aspiring garden designer, or even just looking for ideas for your own garden this is a good christmas buy for any gardening enthusiast or professional garden designer.  The gardens featured belong to and have been designed by: Patrick Blanc, Fernando Caruncho, Kate Cullity, Jim Fogarty, Ludwig Gerns, Adriaan Geuze, Isabelle Greene, Bunny Guinness, Ron Lutsko, Shunmyo Masuno, Dan Pearson, Antonio Perazzi, Tony Smith, Ted Smyth, Tom Stuart-Smith, Andy Sturgeon, Jacques Wirtz, Ute Wittich, Made Wijaya and Stephen Woodhams. The book presents the gardens of designers from the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, The United States, Japan, and Indonesia.

The New English Garden
[caption id="attachment_6865" align="alignleft" width="95"]The New English Garden The New English Garden[/caption]

The first two sentences of the Introduction are:  The ‘new’ English garden?’  That’s a big claim.  Tim then goes on to explain what makes his selected gardens new: ‘flicking through the pages it becomes apparent that the trend over the past few decades has been towards a more naturalistic approach to garden making’. This has more to do with planting design than with the geometry or functionality of gardens.

A new palette of repeated grasses and large drifts of perennials (frequently tall or daisy-flowered) began to have an influence, in a movement initially known as the ‘Dutch Wave’, occasionally as ‘matrix planting’ but later more commonly as ‘New Perennials’.

As with Roman, Norman, Renaissance and Baroque design ideas, the new perennials trend started in continental Europe. It began with the work of Karl Foerster in Germany and Piet Oudolf in Holland. For Tim ‘The high watermark of the New Perennials-inspired naturalist planting movement in Britain might be considered Trentham, which includes the work of both Oudolf and Tom Stuart-Smith’.

Planting: A New Perspective
[caption id="attachment_6866" align="alignleft" width="94"]Planting a New Perspective Planting a New Perspective[/caption]

Piet Oudolf is probably one of the world's most acclaimed garden designer-plantsmen, based in the Netherlands but working and teaching internationally. He has recently been awarded an honorary fellowship by the Royal Institute of British Architects. Noel Kingsbury   is one of the UK's leading experts on naturalistic planting. 'Planting: A New Perspective,' is their third collaboration.  (Also See Noel Kingsbury's Online Planting Course)


RHS Encyclopaedia of Gardening

[caption id="attachment_6867" align="alignleft" width="93"]RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening[/caption]

Fully revised and updated edition of the world's finest and most authoritative source of gardening advice, from the experts at the RHS.  Marking 20 years since first publication, the updated edition of the RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening is the classic reference for keen gardeners. Packed with unrivalled gardening advice you'll find guidance and step-by-steps on everything from pruning to propagation. Plus new topics reflect current trends including how to grow fruit and vegetables in containers and green roofs.

Whatever your level of skill in the great outdoors, expert tips and guidance from editor Christopher Brickell and a team of specialist contributors, the RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening will help you create and keep your garden perfect all year round.

RHS Botany for Gardeners: The Art and Science of Gardening Explained & Explored

botanyClever... valuable introduction to the study of plant science.' - Gardeners Illustrated.  RHS Botany for Gardeners is more than just a useful reference book on the science of botany and the language of horticulture - it is a practical, hands-on guide that will help gardeners understand how plants grow, what affects their performance, and how to get better results.

Illustrated throughout with beautiful botanical prints and simple diagrams, RHS Botany for Gardeners provides easy-to-understand explanations of over 3,000 botanical words and terms, and show how these can be applied to everyday gardening practice. For easy navigation, the book is divided into thematic chapters covering everything from Plant Pests, and further subdivided into useful headings such as 'Seed Sowing' and 'Pruning'. 'Botany in Action' boxes provide instantly accessible practical tips and advice, and feature spreads profile the remarkable individuals who collected, studied and illustrated the plants that we grow today.

Aided by this book, gardeners will unlock the wealth of information that lies within the intriguing world of botanical science - and their gardens will thrive as a result. This is the perfect gift for any gardener.

The Allotment Almanac

Lovely month-by-month guide of what to do as a full-time, almost self-sufficient allotmenteer... full of tips to keep on growing"

The Allotment Almanac

(Bunny Guinness Sunday Telegraph)

"With all the charm that shone through in his Saga blog, Terry's brilliant guide to organic vegetable growing and allotment life takes you through the gardening year dispensing technical help, quick tips, reassurance, and plenty of entertainment along the way." (Saga)

"A practical month-by-month guide to allotment growing and life, written in Terry's unique and personal style. The book provides things to do this month, key crops, main tasks and top tips of varieties shot through with distilled hard-won experience of 50 years... Terry also regales readers with tales of life on his allotment to keep you entertained as well as informed." (Garden News)

"The perfect companion for any allotmenteer, and with Terry Walton, you can't go wrong. His friendly advice will guide you each month, with exactly what you should do on your plot." (English Garden)

"Plenty of Walton's colourful stories alongside solid advice borne out of his 50 years on the plot." (Grow Your Own)
Virginia Woolf's Garden: The Story of the Garden at Monk's House 
Vigrinia Woolf


This intriguing book takes the reader on a visually sumptuous tour of the property's famous grounds, uncovering its enchanting patchwork of 'rooms' and offering a fascinating glimpse into the Woolfs' daily lives.'

(Landscape)'her embroidered plans of the gardens add a delightful extra dimension to the book.'
(House & Garden)"an indispensable treasure for any Woolf fan, Anglophile, or gardener"
(Blogging Woolf)'an unusual and affecting book'
(The Lady)'a glorious amalgam of biography and gardening'
(The Independent)"a beautifully presented book ... visual pleasure ... uses [language] engagingly. Gardeners and Woolf readers will much enjoy her book"
(Robin Lane Fox Financial Times)'Zoob's admirably passionate approach to the house and garden as an artistic whole has produced an extraordinary book, full of quiet images that exactly capture the beauty of the place...Buy it!'
(The Independent on Sunday)'Zoob's book is enchanting and full of excellent excerpts from the Woolfs' letters and diaries'
(Anna Pavord The Independent)'touching account'
(The Sunday Times)

About the Author

CAROLINE ZOOB is an embroiderer and textile artist, and is the author of The Hand-Stitched Home and Childhood Treasures. Caroline, together with her husband Jonathan, tenanted Monk’s House from the National Trust from 2000-2011. Apart from Leonard and Virginia, no-one has lived in the house for that length of time since the house was acquired by the Woolfs in 1919.
A Year in the Life of Beth Chatto

[caption id="attachment_6871" align="alignleft" width="104"]Beth Chatto Beth Chatto[/caption]

If you can't make the trip to Beth Chatto's famous Essex garden, looking at A year in the Life of Beth Chatto's Gardens  is the next best thing... Rachel Warne is someone to watch, with a feeling for how things grow and the way light falls. Add words by Fergus Garrett and you have a book that is useful as well as beautiful.

(BBC Gardens Illustrated)  Rachel Warne has trained her lens on the vivid foliage and flowers that dominate these beautiful spaces. Fergus Garrett's words are a perfect companion and really help to bring out the character of the images.

(Amateur Photographer)

For visual food for thought, A Year in the Life of Beth Chatto's Gardens is a sumptuous photographic guide to her Essex gardens.

(Guardian)  An excellent coffee-table book with stunning photographs of individual plants and views of the garden, this is the story of a garden's year told in pictures, and a tribute to an inspirational gardener… A visual treat for gardeners of all abilities.
(We Love This Book)  An important visual record of a garden that has become one of the most notable of the twentieth and twenty first centuries.
(House and Garden)  Once you have seen this book you will want to visit the gardens.
(Suffolk Norfolk Life)  The perfect gift for gardening friends.
(Four Shires)  Warne's close-up and macro flowers are gorgeous, and it will make you want to explore the world at a slower pace, appreciating colours and playful light
(Outdoor Photography)  If ever you needed proof that a garden can have year-round interest, this book provides it...We're given the chance to take a walk through a one-off garden, guaranteed to fill us with admiration for Chatto's achievements and renewed enthusiasm for our own plots
(Scotsman Magazine)  captured beautifully
(Emma Townshend Independent on Sunday)  The most desireable gardening book of the year and it repays long and careful attention, not just a quick browse
(Evening Standard)  This beautifully assembled tribute to one of England's most influencial and wonderful gardens will delight anyone who has ever tried to make things grow
(Good Book Guide)  About the Author.  Rachel Warne was the International Garden Photographer of the Year - Portfolio and RPS gold medal winner in 2010. Her work has appeared in magazines including Gardens Illustrated, Country Living, House and Garden, Home and Garden, Garden Life and The English Garden. This is her first book. She lives in London.

Alex N

I'm passionate about online learning, and lucky enough to work for Learning with Experts. Most recent course: The Pie Shop with River Cottage's Tom Morrell. Next course: Container Gardening with Chris Beardshaw.

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