Embrace the optimism of Spring and reap the wellbeing benefits of gardening with our pick of the best new gardening books of 2021
After what has felt like a long Winter, the arrival of Spring has brought with it a renewed energy and optimism. As the weather improves, we are all looking forward to spending more time outside and, with the wellbeing credentials of gardening widely known, many of us are turning our attentions to our outside space. Whether you have a paved yard or a rambling garden, a generous allotment or simply a sunny windowsill, we can all reap the benefits of gardening and growing to suit our space. So we have chosen the best new gardening books of 2021 to help inspire you. Whether you’re looking to grow vegetables or flowers, maximise your small space or daydream over incredible sprawling plots, garden with children or with nature in mind; there’s something for every interest and level of gardener in our carefully chosen edit…
(LEFT) TULIPS AT AIRFIELD ESTATE NEAR DUBLIN, TAKEN FROM GARDENS IN MY LIFE BY ARABELLA LENNOX-BOYD. IMAGE: JONATHAN HESSION; (RIGHT) NATURAL SWIMMING POND AT ELLICAR GARDENS IN NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, TAKEN FROM THE NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL GARDEN BY KATHRYN BRADLEY-HOLE, PUBLISHED BY RIZZOLI. IMAGE: CLIVE NICHOLS
Indoor and Small Space Gardening Books
Green Home: The Joy of Living with Plants by Anders Røynberg. Published by Quadrille
Plants are good for us, and Anders Røynberg (aka @arcticgardener) should know. As the owner of 100 houseplants in his small Oslo apartment, he is on a mission to help others to enrich their surroundings by creating an oasis of green that is both good for your home and your head. His guide will help you to choose the right houseplants for your space, become confident in propagating and repotting, water and feed correctly, as well as styling plants to create an impact.
Wild Creations: Inspiring Projects to Create Plus Plant Care Tips and Styling Ideas for Your Own Wild Interior by Hilton Carter. Published by CICO Books
Director, Editor and stylist Hilton Carter shares 25 step-by-step DIY projects, plant hacks and favourite plants to create a stunning plant-inspired interior in this, his third book. Discover how to create air plant wreaths, moss walls, wall-mounted plants, propagation stations, plant chandeliers, terrariums and more. While his clever plant hacks cover everything from taking cuttings to creating your own potting mix. “While I’m a lover of plants, I’m just as much a lover of interiors and style, and my aim has always been to live in that space where the two come together,” says Hilton. “Therein lies the beauty of bringing the outdoors in.”
Books for Growing Fruit and Vegetables
The Urban Vegetable Patch: A Modern Guide to Growing Sustainably, Whatever Your Space by Grace Paul. Published by Hardie Grant
This accessible illustrated guide encourages you to make the most of your growing space, whatever its size, and grow sustainably. Whether on a windowsill, a balcony or an allotment, learn how to grow vegetables organically from seed or food scraps; make your own fertilizer; plant for wildlife; cook, store and share your harvest; and reduce your use of plastics and water. Filled with tips, advice, projects and recipes.
Grow Your Own Food: 35 Ways to Grow Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs in Containers by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell. Published by CICO Books
If you’ve ever dreamt of growing your own food but don’t have a huge plot, this book is the perfect guide. Author and gardener Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell shares her advice for growing organic vegetables, fruits and herbs in containers and pots. This book is bursting with tips, techniques and inspiration; from companion planting to deter pests, to selecting the right container for the right crop, as well as ideas for all types of space, from windowsills, to communal gardens or roof terraces.
Books for Growing Flowers
The Flower Yard: Growing Flamboyant Flowers in Containers by Arthur Parkinson. Published by Kyle Books
We’re avid followers of Arthur Parkinson’s beautiful Instagram account documenting his incredible town garden that is as lively and bountiful as it is small. His is a garden planted entirely in pots and, in this book, he shares his knowledge, flair and influences for creative planting and growing. From scatterings of crocus to flocks of parrot tulips, scented sweet peas and towering amaryllises to fill endless vases of cut flowers through the seasons.
The Flower Garden: Growing Cut Flowers on Your Windowsill by Jennita Jansen. Published by Quadrille
This beautifully illustrated guide is designed for anyone with a passion for growing flowers, without a garden. Approachable, practical and no-nonsense, Jennita Jansen shares her advice on starting to grow stunning flowers even in the smallest of spaces; including gardening essentials, growing from seed, the best flowers to grow throughout the year, maximising your space, understanding light and drying flowers.
Coffee Table Garden Books
Floriography: The Myths, Magic and Language of Flowers by Sally Coulthard. Published by Quadrille
Filled with magical stories of the folklore and ancient mythology of flowers and their meanings, as well as wonderful illustrations by Clover Robin, this is a beautiful reference book that would make the perfect gift – to yourself or others! Featuring 50 much-loved flowers and plants, from peonies to sweetpeas, foxgloves to buttercups, it offers a fascinating insight into the language of flowers.
Gardens in My Life by Arabella Lennox-Boyd. Published by Head of Zeus
This beautiful book, by one of the most accomplished garden designers of our time, looks back over Arabella’s extraordinary career and the gardens that have had particular interest or meaning to her. She describes her inspiration for each design and planting combination and shares her wisdom and practical advice on planting and landscaping. Alongside breath-taking photography are Arabella’s fascinating sketches and planting plans.
Charlotte Moss Flowers by Charlotte Moss. Published by Rizzoli New York 2021
Celebrated interior designer Charlotte Moss encourages us all to bring the garden indoors with her inspiring ideas for floral arrangements. Here she documents her elegant floral compositions from over a decade; from a welcoming cluster on the bedside table in a guest’s room, to a beautiful single stem in a quiet corner of a room and lavish celebratory floral displays. She also discusses the iconic use of flowers by past tastemakers; from Constance Spry’s artistic arrangements to Pauline de Rothchild’s fantastic tablescapes.
The Naturally Beautiful Garden: Designs That Engage with Wildlife and Nature by Kathryn Bradley-Hole. Published by Rizzoli
This beautiful book demonstrates that visual impact and creativity in the garden doesn’t have to be compromised by using ecologically-friendly garden design principles. Featuring more than 30 elegant gardens from across the world – from urban green spaces to clifftop gardens, sprawling country plots and modern cottage gardens captured by leading garden photographers including Clive Nichols and Marianne Majerus – Kathryn Bradley-Hole shows how they have been created by working with, rather than against, nature.
Wildlife-Friendly Gardening Books
Gardening for Bumblebees: A Practical Guide to Creating a Paradise for Pollinators by Dave Goulson. Published by Square Peg
Bumblebees are among the most important of our insects, ensuring that wildflowers set seed and grow year after year and that we get bountiful harvests from our fruit and vegetable crops. Yet the numbers of these pollinators are in decline. This book shows you how to create a refuge for bumblebees to feed, breed and thrive, no matter the size of your outside space. Learn the best trees, shrubs and flowers for pollinators to thrive; how to create the perfect nest and breeding site; and the best ways to control pests.
Grow Green: Tips and Advice for Gardening with Intention by Jen Chillingsworth. Published by Quadrille
Market gardener, author and blogger Jen Chillingsworth shares her practical guide to organic gardening and growing sustainably. Her easy-to-follow tips will show you how to create a wildlife haven in your garden and reduce your environmental impact as you grow your own cut flowers, fruit and vegetables. Aimed at gardeners of all levels of experience, learn how to make your own fertilizer using leftovers, conserve water, reduce energy consumption, deal with pests and diseases and more in this fun and accessible guide.
Books for Gardening With Children
Gardening for Kids by Dawn Isaac. Published by CICO Books
Chelsea Flower Show award-wining garden designer Dawn Isaac shares 35 fun and rewarding projects to ignite a love of gardening and nature in children. Whatever the size of your outside space, learn how to make cress caterpillars, build an insect hotel, plant a sunflower alley using everyday objects and more. There are also inspiring chapters on creative containers, from teapots to wellington boots, growing food on windowsills and beautiful nature-inspired crafts for both outdoors and indoors.
The Little Grower’s Cookbook: Projects for Every Season by Ghillie James and Julia Parker. Lettuce Publishing
Don’t be fooled by the title, this lovely book is as much about gardening as it is about cooking and is filled with simple and sustainable gardening projects, fun weekend activities and, of course, recipes for your edible crops. You don’t need a big garden or a big budget to help to bring children aged between four and 12 closer to nature with these environmentally-friendly ideas, from making magical flower potions, to planting your own packed lunch and hosting a butterfly banquet.
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