When we are engaging with our gardens, the experience is one that awakens all of the senses. We feel the earth and the seeds when we plant, we prune the branches or pick the vegetables, fruit and herbs. We smell the earth, the zingy freshly cut lawn and the aromatic leaves of rosemary. We bite into an apple and taste the sweet, slightly tart fruit on our tongue and we hear the sounds, so many sounds of bees buzzing, birds singing and the leaves crunching underneath our feet. These books all encompass aspects of the senses in gardens in different ways and are available from uk.bookshop.org/ and
The Scentual Garden by Ken Druse is a book full of beautifully scented plants. The book itself is like a work of art and makes for relaxing reading. I prefer scented plants and the vast majority of the roses we have in the garden are scented varieties. It’s quite incredible just how much more scented we found that our garden roses are than supermarket ones. Aside from their gorgeous scent and colour, garden roses are also much better for the environment too as they’ve not been intensively grown and flown in from abroad.
Piet Oudolf in Landscapes is a brilliant book that showcases the main gardens that Oudolf has designed and includes his original plans so you can see his thought processes and just how the gardens themselves were thought out. His planting plans look like works of art themselves and you also see a consideration of the colour palettes and how they change throughout the seasons.
In The Thoughtful Gardener, designer Jinny Blom, examines a series of gardens that she has created, all of which have a beautiful naturalistic feel to them. The gardens seem to blend effortlessly into the landscape beyond. This book is a balm on a day when you wish to be outside in the garden but the weather is preventing you otherwise. You can just imagine waking barefoot through the stunning gardens shown here.
The Modern Cottage Garden by Greg Loades is a stunner of a book that incorporates both practical advice through plant lists at the end and inspiration through the different modern cottage gardens that he includes. We decided that our new garden most closely resembles what Loades defines as a modern cottage garden. in that it is not an entirely 100% perennial naturalistic garden but that it is also not a traditional cottage garden that relies on a potager effect with mostly biennials, annuals and a few roses. Instead, we have a perennial heavy garden that also has roses, sweet peas, some vegetables and fruits (which Oudolf would not have). This new approach can be sustainable, beautiful and allows those of us who don’t have a huge amount of space to maximise what we do have and use it to its full potential.
These are books that provide a feast for the gardening senses. There will be many more too, so let us know on Instagram