Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Books for when you can’t garden!

Today I picked the first cucumber and it was quite a respectable size though not very thick! However it is a start! DSCF0007 I’m hoping the others will swell up with all this rain and make a reasonable size. The tomatoes are starting to show some colourDSCF0011 so hopefully they will ripen without succumbing to anything horrid! And the yellow courgette has two good sized courgettes which will soon be ready to pick. DSCF0010

Apart from that nothing new is happening and the weather has been too awful to do anything. I desperately need to weed, especially around the blackcurrants but I think we need a bit more sun first as the soil here can be very claggy when it’s wet.

So what does one do when one can’t garden? Among the things that I do is reading and often I’ll pick up a book on gardening to extend my knowledge and give me ideas. My favourite books are:

Your Kitchen Garden by Mitchell Beasley Publishers Ltd. This is an old book but I find it invaluable for all kinds of basic knowledge about fruit and vegetables.

The Complete Book of Herbs by Lesley Bremness. I love this book and it gives me a lot of insight into herbs and what one can do with them as well as cultivation.

Step by Step Container Gardening by Stephanie Donaldson. This is a really useful book for someone like me with a minute garden. Pots and containers are the answer to getting more space!

Crops in Pots by Bob Purnell which is a modern book and similar to the previous book. Good ideas!

The RHS book on Pests and Diseases. A very useful book but there is such a wealth of information that I usually end up confused!

The RHS Garnener’s Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers which gives me lots of ideas and makes me yearn for acres to plant in!

And last but not least. A very old copy of the Reader’s Digest book Food from your Gardening. Very basic, down to earth advice and the answer to lots of my problems.

So what gardening books do you recommend? Do you have a ‘bible’ that you wouldn’t be without? Do you find gardening books inspiring? I’d love to know!


  1. Your veg looks great, I'm eagerly waiting for my tomatoes to ripen, I think they're a few days behind yours, but I could be completely wrong as I don't have a clue what type they are meant to be or how large they're meant to get!

    Gardening Books... I'm afraid I don't have much time for them at the moment as I have other books to be reading but when I get the chance I do like to drool over my Piet Oudolf books and dream of the day my garden even remotely resembles his designs! :)

    I did use to regularly look at the RHS encyclopedia, but Piet has since replaced it ha ha!

  2. I enjoy reading gardening magazines rather than gardening books. I subscribe to Gardener's World and Grow Your Own.
    A little tip for anyone wanting to subscribe to Gardener's World. You can buy the subscription with your Tesco Clubcard vouchers, and it costs so much less than the usual subscription price.

  3. Jo that is a good tip. Thank you. I buy Grow Your Own which I think is great and I also get Kitchen Garden which is quite good too.
    Liz I don't read gardening books all the time! :-) There are other books to read such as murders, mysteries and history! I shall have a look out at the library for Piet Oudolf. Val

  4. Val - Piet has some borders/gardens at Wisley - I don't know if you've ever been, but he is quite well known for his use of Perennials and large drifts of plants, tall, short and uses plants for the Autumn and Winter interest too.

    It's quite 'natural' planting, so is often romantic, dreamy as he also incorporates grasses so things flow and shimmer in the breeze.

  5. Looking at the shine on the tomatoes, we know great harvest is coming... by the bucketful!
    ~ bangchik

  6. Val... I have been reading " Complete Home Landscaping" by Catriona Tudor Erler .. creative homeowner, upper saddle river, New Jersey. 2000.

    It covers a wide range of gardening/landscaping know how......

    Who knows, Catriona herself is one of blotanical blogger!!... and she dedicated the book to her husband Jim, and sons Nicholas and Ashton.

    ~ bangchik

  7. Thank you for the heads up Liz. One day I might get to Wisley!
    Bangchik I shall believe you! I hope for masses of tomatoes this year! And I shall look out for the book.

  8. Hi Valeri-a say late but here we are ;-) Summer Holidays-the most busy time of the year. And this year my children have nine weeks off!

    I hope my tomatoes will ripen. Not much sign of it as yet. The chillies are however storming away. We should be able to have a good spicy curry soon!

    I don't posses many "how to" gardening books. I Iike to read someone who possesses a good turn of phrase and is witty. One of my favourite writers of all time is Ursula Buchan. Her book "Gardening for Pleasure is witty and wise and one I give to newbie gardeners. The book I am reading at the moment is" A Gardeners Life" by the Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury. I've had it for a year and have been pouring over the photographs but now Im tackling the text. There is a lot of it and it is charming. But Ive not had much time to devote to it. Roll on winter evenings...but will they be any less busy?LOL

  9. Crumbs - what a daunting question! I've far too many gardening books and covet far more ;)

    I really belong in a library (with a garden of course) rather than a house.

    I'm having a bit of a problem with how my garden's progressing over the summer at the moment, so I'm anticipating returning to Christopher Lloyd's Succession Planting for Adventurous Gardeners and Tony Lord's Encyclopedia of Planting Combinations over the coming months to get some inspiration.

  10. Lots of titles that I'm not familiar with here. But I have both Mollie Salisbury's books and some Christopher Lloyd but not the Succession Planting. I will have to look for that. I'm like you — many gardening books on my shelves; most have been read but not all and yet I keep on looking and buying.