Gardening - pick up a real page turnerBy Linda Fort
December 04, 2009
The weather is simply too wet to get outside at the moment because even when the rain stops the ground remains waterlogged.
The only sensible thing to do is stay indoors and read a gardening book – and at this time of year – you can think of your gardening friends and relations too and buy them a book for Christmas.
A surprisingly good read comes from Alys Fowler – the pretty redhead with the grating voice on Gardener’s World – and it is called The Thrifty Gardener (£16.99, Kyle Cathie).
Although I can now scarcely bear to watch the programme – with its tacky tips – this book catches the spirit of the age. Young Alys worked in New York after qualifying at Kew and learned about inner city gardening and scrap art.
There are tacky tips but for the gardener on a budget there is also inspiration.
Dan Pearson, the ethereal garden designer, also offers a less materialistic view of horticulture with Spirit: Garden Inspiration (£28, Thames and Hudson).
This book finds the stimulus for garden design in art, in nature, in the landscape.
It is not about gardening but a sense of place and where the inspiration for design comes from. It is a beautiful book and expensive and not so much for the allotment holder as for the artist.
The RHS has published two new books this year which would make ideal gifts for someone who has got the gardening bug and is ready to get more seriously involved.
They are Gardening Through the Year and Garden Plants & Flowers Through the Year, both by Ian Spence. (Both £16.99 DK) The pair will provide handbooks for a lifetime.
Nostalgia lovers will be delighted by Allotment & Garden Guide, A monthly guide to better wartime gardening by Twigs Way (£9.99, Sabrestorm Publishing).
It is a fascinating piece of history that speaks to our present economic state and to every veg gardener’s heart.
Monty Don’s The Ivington Diaries (Bloomsbury, £25) is a good read for fans for the horticultural hunk now on gardening leave after a stroke.
Another expensive tome is Ann Pavord’s lavishly illustrated Bulbs (£30, Mitchell Beazley). This is a beautiful book which is well and lovingly written with photographs to die for.
For a real bedtime book, Back To The Garden by Ursula Buchan (Frances Lincoln, £16.99) is a series of amusing essays on gardening that are a joy to read.
And may I recommend, as I often do, my favourite gardening book of all time – which you can still buy if you look around – called We Made a Garden by Margery Fish first published in 1956. It is the story of a garden and a marriage by an elderly childless woman whose plants were her babies and who became the leading plantswoman and horticultural writer of her time.
Her love of gardening glows from every page.