Good gardening reads

beancropGardeners are often happy to share..

Something I think gardeners have in common isn’t just a love of gardening itself, but a love of collecting gardening books! I’ve got more gardening books than I have room for. In my early days of gardening I went for ‘how-to’ books but now my collection ranges from 101 easy ideas for your veg garden to learning Latin plant names! So, when I heard that fellow garden blogger Ricki Grady had published a book, I jumped at the chance to add another one to my collection. I ‘met’ Ricki through Blooming Blogs community and downloaded her book Bebop Garden for my kindle.

Bebop Garden

Ricki starts her book with an interesting comparison between gardening and jazz and I must say I really had no idea what to expect at that point but I was happy that this wouldn’t be any ordinary gardening book! I thought it might turn out to be a full on novel but it’s not that and yet it’s not an instructional book either. Ricki glides her way through her past, blending stories from her garden with the things she’s learned. I particularly loved reading about her early days and how she made her garden into what sounds like a wild and creative artistic haven, inspiring her local community with her choice of plants, including some edibles.

Another thing I think gardeners have in common is that they love sharing. From the moment I started mixing with fellow gardeners on my allotment the seeds, plants, veg produce and advice came flooding. Whether gardeners are new and enthusiastic, or older and experienced the passion for their hobby comes across. This is the same for Ricki, she shares her experiences making this an interesting book for beginners and seasoned gardeners.

I could really sense how gardening has nourished Ricki’s life, from the plants she’s grown and collected, to the friends she’s made and even the animals who share her space. She emphasizes the fun of gardening over hard work, promoting gardening for pleasure which is a means for her to become lost in her own world for an hour or for an entire weekend. I would love to actually see Ricki’s garden back then and now, photos are missing from the kindle but I’m not sure if there are photos in the paperback version.

I really enjoyed reading Ricki’s book and I’m always happy to hear about fellow bloggers projects. So, on that subject my next read will be by garden blogger Out of My Shed, her book Veg Street comes out on March 7th and if you want an early insight then Wellywoman has just reviewed it and so has Veg Plotting.

Are you a ‘gardening book collector’ too?

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35 Responses to “Good gardening reads”

  1. gardeninacity March 4, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

    I have stacks and stacks of gardening books. I like garden books with personality, and it sounds like this would be one. The last one I finished was David Culp’s The Layered Garden, which was a real pleasure to read.

    • Anna B March 5, 2013 at 11:44 am #

      It definitely has personality. The layered garden sounds really interesting too. Thanks for recommending :-)

  2. crabtreegardens March 5, 2013 at 1:26 am #

    I have a library of gardening books from over 30 years of gardening and gifts from friends. I love them and won’t part with any~ enjoyed your post! Sandi

    • Anna B March 5, 2013 at 11:45 am #

      Hi Sandi! No I won’t part with any of mine either and even though I have tons I don’t want to stop collecting! Thanks so much for your comment :-)

  3. Christina March 5, 2013 at 7:14 am #

    Yes, I have a huge number of gardening books, I sometimes think, but not for long, that I would be better buying more plants instead of books, but then the books give pleasure when there’s nothing to temp you out into the garden. If you like novels about gardening too, have you read Elizabeth’s German garden? I think you’ enjoy it. Christina

    • Anna B March 5, 2013 at 11:47 am #

      Plants and gardening books complement each other, when my garden is nice I can sit and read!!! I’ve not read that book, I shall look it up. Thanks for your recommendation :-)

  4. Cathy March 5, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    I have loads of gardening books too! My choice of reading in the last few years has tended more and more towards plant-themed books, although I do love a good novel occasionally!

    • Anna B March 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

      Hiya Cathy, I have bought the ‘Weeds’ book you recommended for Adam and am intrigued to read that too as it sounds a little different. I wish I had more time to read, I’ve gotten much more into Novels lately. Thanks so much for dropping by!

  5. pianolearner March 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    I hadn’t heard of her blog. Nice to find new ones, thanks :)

    • Anna B March 5, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      Hello Piano learner! Hope the piano playing is coming along. Blooming blogs community has a lot of gardening bloggers on there and they usually submit their latest posts. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

      • pianolearner March 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

        No problem, I found your site via my wife wellywoman.

        • Anna B March 5, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

          Yes, I knew you were wellyman! I love your wife’s blog : )

  6. Jo March 5, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    I think you’re right, we all love gardening books nearly as much as gardening. I love the book shop at Harlow Carr, I could spend hours in there.

    • Anna B March 5, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

      Oh me too!!! I enjoy the shop nearly as much as the garden itself!!! Thanks so much for your comment Jo :)

  7. Cathy March 5, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Sounds an interesting read, Anna. I haven’t bought many gardening books recently, except for Gunter Waldorf’s ‘Snowdrops’, but I turn to my gardening bible ‘RHS Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers’ frequently. I also picked out Graham Rice’s ‘Hardy Perennials’ from my shelves the other week and reminded myself what an interesting and enjoyable book it is.

    • Anna B March 5, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

      Ah yes, I have the RHS bible too!! A lot of people seem really fascinated with snowdrops lately, I’ve enjoyed reading a lot of blog posts about them and seen some great photography. I bet that would be a good book for snowdrop fans. The Graham Rice book sounds like it could be as invaluable as hardy perennials themselves. Thanks so much for your recommendations and chat :)

  8. djdfr March 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    I never thought to count my gardening books but there must be several. :-) I have issues of Organic Gardening magazine from the 70′s and several binders of The Herb Companion.

    • Anna B March 5, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

      Wow I would love to see those 70s magazines!! I bet they’re really cool. Funny how organic gardening is so popular now but has obviously been around for some time. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  9. Janet/PlantalisciousJ March 5, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    I love books, full stop, so yes I have way too many gardening books, you can chart my evolution as a gardener with them! Today I had the pleasure of discovering a book that I thought I had wasted my money on may come in to its own (it is about gardening in polytunnels but I can apply a lot of it to a greenhouse). I also, very rarely, read a book I was disappointed by. Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden. Your latest read sounds rather interesting, I am more and more intrigued by the deeply personal side of creating a garden, and gardening itself.

    • Anna B March 10, 2013 at 10:13 am #

      Hello Janet! Haha! That’s brilliant. I think I could chart my evolution too :) That’s why I enjoyed Ricki’s book so much, it was her personal story about gardening and that’s what made it so interesting. Thanks for dropping by and for your comment :)

  10. Ricki Grady March 6, 2013 at 12:03 am #

    Thank you, Anna, for the lovely and insightful review. It really is great the way we gardeners support one another. I wanted the book to be a picture in words, so there were no photos other than those on the cover. Then along came blogging, where photos are the driving force behind the narrative. What I love about blogging is the give and take that takes place in comments and getting to know fellow gardeners from far-flung places (like you), and maybe now, thanks to this post, some of your followers.

    • Anna B March 7, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

      Hello Ricki! I certainly did picture your garden many times when I was reading so it definitely was a picture in words :) I’m really pleased you liked me review!

  11. VP March 6, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    Hi Anna – my collection of gardening books is reaching crisis point! It’s a very nice ‘problem’ to have though ;)

    Perhaps a Kindle might be the solution…

    • Anna B March 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

      Haha!! Crisis point would be a good way to describe mine too! My mother-in-law loaned me her kindle when I was commuting and it was brilliant but I still love it now too. It’ hasn’t stopped me buy real paperback books too though as there’s something nice about having a proper book. I’d recommend a Kindle if you read & travel a lot as it really does cut down on the weight of your bag! Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  12. thesneakymagpie March 6, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    Always love book recommendations so thank you, I was actually lucky enough to win Naomi’s book and it arrived today – it looks beautiful and I can’t put it away. My other books are A Gardener’s Nightcup and The Victorian Kitchen Garden along with the TV series. I also love Nigel Slater’s Tender but my biggest thing must be some gardening blogs.

    • Anna B March 7, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

      Hello Sneaky Magpie!! Great news about the prize!! I can’t wait to read it too, it looks ace! Thanks for your recommendations, I’ll check them out! :)

  13. Nadezda March 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    Anna, I have some gardening books, not a lot, but often read them, many times and find some new thoughts and ideas. I’m sure your new book will be useful to you.

    • Anna B March 7, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

      Hello Nadezda! You know, you’re absolutely right about being able to read gardening books many times. They are timeless aren’t they – as are our gardens. Thank you so much for your comment :)

  14. wellywoman March 7, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    What an interesting book that sounds. I agree gardening and reading seem to go together as shared pastimes. My bookshelves are groaning under the weight of so many books, I need to purchase another bookcase. ;) Thanks for the mention by the way. :) I’m a big fan of Richard Mabey.

    • Anna B March 7, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

      Hello Wellywoman! it sure is a very interesting read. I like your style – don’t get rid of the books, just get a new bookcase!! Brilliant! No problem about the mention, I really enjoyed your review and look forward to reading Naomi’s book too. The ‘Weeds’ book by Richard Mabey arrived today, it looks cool! Adam was chuffed with his present. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  15. Anna March 8, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    A timely reminder Anna that I downloaded this title on my Kindle a while ago but have still to read it. Have always enjoyed reading but trying to restrain myself now from buying more gardening books difficult though it is as the bookshelves are buckling – now the Kindle is a different matter :)

    • Anna B March 10, 2013 at 10:01 am #

      Hi Anna! Yes, electronic format means we don’t have to cut back on books when the shelves can take no more!!! I hope you enjoy Ricki’s book too. Thanks so much for dropping by :)

  16. Hannah March 9, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    I’m a gardening book monogamist, ever loyal to Monty Don’s ‘The Complete Gardener’!

    • Anna B March 10, 2013 at 10:02 am #

      Hi Hannah! Well you’ve picked a good book there! Probably covers everything you need :) Thanks so much for your comment.


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