We have quite a selection of gardening books so it’s been hard to choose just a few to review but these four have been invaluable in helping us to create our garden. All books are available from uk.bookshop.org/ and www.amazon.co.uk/
When we moved here two years ago we found ourselves facing a blank slate, as the garden was mostly lawn and a few established shrubs and smaller trees. So the first book in this review couldn’t have been any more appropriate. Adam Frosts’s How to Build a Garden has been really useful, especially for the practical aspects of creating a garden. The front garden was mostly just bare earth, with an established privet hedge. This was probably the only part of the entire garden where we actually made the planting area smaller but we used the advice in How to Build a Garden to create the gravel paths with reclaimed stone that was found in the back area of the garden. This book gives great advice on hard landscaping projects, even if you’re novices like we were. Frost also recommends getting to know your soil, aspect and which plants would work in your garden conditions.
Monty Don’s The Complete Gardener is exactly what it says on the tin, a thorough guide to gardening with all types of plants including edibles. We did have the previous version of this book, but as that one was published in 2003, this is definitely worth getting as there have been a lot of changes in horticulture since then, not to mention the increasing importance of gardening with the climate and in a wildlife friendly manner.
Which brings me to, The Wild Garden by garden designers the Butterfly Brothers. This duo have been on Gardener’s World and we both really chimed with their approach of organic gardening in order to create natural ecosystems in your garden so that pests and diseases are dealt with in a natural self sustaining manner. The Wild Garden also proves that wildlife friendly gardens are both beautiful, low maintenance and better for both ourselves and the wider environment.
The final book on the first part of this series is the stunning Planting the Natural Garden by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury. We are both fans of Oudolf and have tried to incorporate some of his techniques and preferred plants into our own garden. As the majority of our plants are now perennials, we follow the advice of Oudolf in leaving the dead growth over Winter which can look a bit scruffy come January time but by doing this, it helps to protect the new growth from frost and also provides homes for overwintering invertebrates. It’s also so satisfying to have a big cutback in the Spring and see all the new growth coming through.
These are the first four in a mini series of gardening books that have influenced our own style and helped us to create our new garden.