My 10 most useful and inspiring gardening books

May 22nd, 2016
Posted In: Shop

Are gardening books dead? Can’t we get all the info we need free off the internet?

The best gardening books are the ones you go back to again and again. You don’t need to recharge their batteries.

Their glorious photography isn’t shrunk down to the size of your mobile phone.

And you can put them back on the shelf, leave them for a couple of years and simply pull them out again. You won’t get an ‘error 404’ message because the link has gone somewhere else. You will simply have a beautiful, inspiring informative book in your hands.

My 10 best gardening books

So I’ve rounded up the books I’ve read again and again over the past 10 years. They’re still in print – which means lots of people agree with me.

We’ve also had a bit of a tweak here at Middlesized Garden. We’ve added a shop to make it easier to buy some of the things you read about in our posts (note: there are affiliate links which means we may receive a fee – possibly even the price of a cup of tea – if you buy something). So here are the books (click on either the title or image for prices or to buy):

Gardening books

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18 comments on "My 10 most useful and inspiring gardening books"

  1. Scott D. says:

    I’m a proud bookaholic and by far the best recent design book I have is New Americana!

  2. So sad neither of mine made your list. Xxxx

    1. I haven’t actually read either, but have now bought Outwitting Squirrels.

  3. Interesting post Alexandra, I have quite a large collection of gardening books, but a few have really grabbed me. Helen Yemm’s first book Gardening in your nightie was an early inspiration as was Andy Sturgeon’s Planted. The yellow jacked Reader’s Digest A year in the garden kept me going for a long while as a reference book, but my absolute fave is Christopher Lloyd’s last book Exotic planting for adventurous gardeners (not quite finished when he died and finished off with contributions by his friends). It’s just a book of joyful and exuberant planting with the mighty Dixter as a backdrop – simply brilliant.

    1. I must hunt it down – I have ‘Colour for Adventurous Gardeners’ (could ‘Exotic Planting for Adventurous Gardeners’ have changed its name, too?) and I absolutely love it, but it’s no longer in print (although people can find used copies, and Great Dixter also seem to be able to supply some of Christopher Lloyd’s out of print books. Haven’t read Andy Sturgeon’s Planted, but will find a copy. And so glad you remember Helen Yemm’s Gardening in Your Nightie – when I looked it up and discovered it had changed to ‘Pyjamas’, I thought my memory was at fault, but indeed ‘Nightie’ is an earlier edition of ‘Pyjamas’.

  4. I’m a relative newbie to gardening and have found the RHS The Urban Gardener by Matt James invaluable for design ideas and practical advice. Also Garden Design by Heidi Howcroft and Marianne Marjerus for inspiration.

    1. Really good suggestions, Marianne Majerus/Heidi Howcroft’s book is wonderful.

  5. Matt says:

    The first book to strike me was the Essential Garden Book by Terence Conran and Dan Pearson – it was some time ago now but opened my eyes to a world beyond the ‘Heritage garden’. I still have it, and still find it inspires me.

    1. I’ll see if it’s stil in print – Terence Conran did some revolutionary homes books, too.

  6. Kim says:

    Two types of books I always buy in print format: cookbooks and gardening books.

    1. I so agree with you on cookery books – trying not to get flour or something wet over an iPad is a nightmare but books seem to put up with a remarkable amount of dropped bits of ingredient.

  7. Julianne says:

    I LOVE gardening books and have a growing collection. I’m particularly fond of ‘vintage’ ones with beautiful illustrations and timeless advice! I reach equally for a book and for Google when I need advice – and I also glean a lot from reading various gardening magazines.

    Thanks for the book recommendations – I will add some of these to the wish list :)

    1. The papers are fond of proclaiming that such-and-such a medium is ‘dead’ but I don’t think any of them ever die, they just evolve to occupy a niche, so there will always be gardening books and gardening magazines – I hope.

  8. I do love gardening books though I have to admit I don’t buy many books. I read lots of gardening magazines and blogs, like yours. If I had to add a book to your list it would be Grow your own cut flowers by Sarah Raven. I am a Sarah Raven fan and I love flowers!

    1. I agree with you on Sarah Raven’s Grow Your Own Cut flowers – it is certainly a good one.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    It was a really strange coincidence reading this today. Earlier I had been wondering whether to deadhead a particular plant and my initial reaction was, “I must google that” and then I paused and thought to myself, time was when I would have reached for a book! Note to self – remember to start using my gardening books again!

    1. That’s reminded me – another advantage books have is that I go to the internet for specific information, like deadheading a particular plant. But I browse through books and often pick up information I didn’t know I needed. Thank you for commenting.

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