8 gorgeous new gardening books
Bountiful borders, striped lawn and artfully placed sculptures here we come, but first, sit down, grab a coffee and get lost in the sublime pages of these beauties (those weeds can wait another hour or so)
This is the year I’m going to ace the garden. OK so maybe I say that every spring, but it’s happening and I’m going to start – not by fixing the wheelbarrow tyre – but by reading some fabulous books. What better way to get me upping tools then getting inspo from the pros, thanks to this selection of beautiful and practical books.
From Seed to Bloom: A Year of Growing and Designing With Seasonal Flowers by Milli Proust
Milli Proust started growing her own flowers six years ago and despite having a plot of less than an acre, has gained a huge following for her floristry business (not least because of her blooming gorgeous insta). Her book is arranged by season, highlighting what to sow, harvest and arrange, alongside gorgeous photography and practical info on aspects like soil health, composting and sustainable growing. Who knows, some of that genius could rub off. Published 9 June, £20.
The Land Gardeners: Cut Flowers by Bridget Elworthy & Henrietta Courtauld
Another darling of the cut flower insta world, The Land Gardeners are garden designers, film-makers and educators who also run a cut flower business. Impressive then that they managed to find time to put together this gorgeous book about how they restored the neglected walled garden at Wardington Manor near Banbury and turn it into a productive and sustainable flower farm. This book covers everything they learned and how you could apply it to any space you have to grow flowers all year to cut and bring into the house. Dreamy! Published 9 June, £25.
Diary of a Modern Country Gardener by Tamsin Westhorpe
This just published ‘a-year-in-the-life-of’ style narrative will have many relatable moments as you follow the triumphs and failures of Tamsin in attempting to tame a four-acre plot in the middle of a working farm. You’ll take from it advice (how to avoid chilblains), seasonal reminders (so no empty beds!) and lots of giggles (the joys of being a public speaker at local gardening club events). Out in paperback 2 June, £9.99.
Gardener’s Palette: Creating Colour Harmony in the Garden by Jo Thompson
Jo Thompson has a gardening pedigree as long as your arm, from garden designer to RHS judge to Chelsea Flower Show medal winner, so it’s no surprise that the RHS (The Royal Horticultural Society to the garden luddites among you) engaged her to write its latest publication about how to use colour in the garden. It’s cleverly done, with 100 colour palettes drawn from different gardens, with photos and plant lists. It’s a literal paint-by-numbers for garden design. There’s gorgeous photography and Jo also explains how to grow each plant – Genius!
The First-Time Gardener by Frances Tophill
The Gardener’s World and Love Your Garden presenter, author and horticulturalist has a knack for plain speaking and demystifying – especially handy for those recent rural arrivals (Welcome!) who may be feeling a touch overwhelmed by their outdoor space. This book starts with how to basically survey your garden, its soil and conditions, then design your ideal space and finally execute the design with hard and soft landscaping and planting – a one stop shop for beginners. Published 19th May, £22.
How to make a wildflower meadow: Tried-And-Tested Techniques for New Garden Landscapes, James Hewetson-Brown
Flowering meadows have been all the rage for a few years now on the back of no-mow May, re-wilding and the like. They’re notoriously difficult to establish, however, so a book like this, with tried and tested techniques gathered from 30 case studies on various scales, is a real gem. James discusses using seed, plug plants, bulbs or roll-out turf in spaces from containers right up to several acre fields. Also a love letter to the wildlfower meadow. Published 19 May, £17.95.
Grow 5: Simple seasonal recipes for small outdoor spaces with just five plants by Lucy Bellamy
We’ve had the cookbooks with five ingredients – now here’s the garden guide. Using five plants at a time, Lucy (former editor of Gardens Illustrated ) offers 52 planting ‘recipes’ that will give you a garden that’s pretty, productive and sustainable. From options like the micro-meadow in a city space to the urban garden inspired by an ancient woodland or colour in a tiny courtyard, she’s covered all bases. Published 5 May, £22.
The Plant Rescuer: The book your houseplants want you to read by
Who hasn’t killed a houseplant? Whether it’s neglect or over-enthusiastic watering that’s at fault, this book will help you save your ailing ferns and monsteras and also teach you how to better look after houseplants in the future. There’s intel on how to spot the first signs of unhappiness in a plant and understand their needs. The book is basically a lesson in treating them like pets, and comes off the back of Sarah’s zeitgeisty @theplantrescuer handle. A perfect gift for the indoor gardener (and plant killer). Published 28 April, £16.99.