Always in Bloom: 7 Gardening Books Everyone Should Read Before Getting Their Hands Dirty

March 26, 2019

The gardening industry is worth over $30 billion! And it's still growing. This is hardly surprising when you think of the benefits of gardening. It's good for the environment, and it's good for your mental health. It can even save you money! 

You might be thinking about starting gardening, or you might be a seasoned pro. Either way, there's always more to learn about the garden that you're working in. And gardening books are a great place to learn from.  But with so many books out there, how are you meant to pick the right one for you? 
You're in the right place. These are the top seven books that anyone who gardens should have! Read on to find out more.

1. One of the Best Gardening Books of All Time: The Well-Tempered Garden by Christopher Lloyd
The Well-Tempered Garden is a staple book for any gardener or for anyone about to start gardening. When it comes to understanding your garden, this is one of the best garden books of all time. And don't confuse the author with the star of Back to the Future! Christopher Lloyd was a British gardener and created the amazing gardens in Great Dixiter. 

He worked extensively with the Royal Horticultural Society on the Floral Committee. As well as his own gardening, he promoted the importance of gardening to others. And in 1979 the RHS awarded him their greatest trophy: the Victoria Medal of Honor. His work also gained him an OBE in 2000. Lloyd uses his years of gardening experience to focus on the intricate details of the garden. These lay the foundation for good gardening. For example, he'll give you tips on how to get your lawn in perfect condition and keep it that way. And he uses his column-writing experience to keep the writing entertaining throughout. Lloyd admitted he wasn't a designer, he was a gardener. So if you're looking for tips on how to design your garden, you might want to look elsewhere. But this gardening book will help you understand how your garden works. So you can only benefit from reading it. Treat it like your gardening encyclopedia, and you can't go far wrong!

2. A Great Guide for Beginners: RHS Step-by-Step Veg Patch by Lucy Halsall
This is another book that the Royal Horticultural Society supports. This charity dedicates its time to inspiring and encouraging great gardening. So their advice is always worth listening to. This guide to starting a vegetable patch is perfect for transforming a small space. It even shows you how to create a vegetable patch on your patio. Halsall focuses on growing 60 vegetables and 15 fruit crops. She also goes on to look at what grows best in certain locations. This means you can tailor your vegetable patch to yourself.  

Home-grown produce is becoming extremely popular. It works as a hobby and as an investment. One woman found that she saves at least $75 a month from growing her own vegetables. And in an eco-conscious climate, the benefits of growing your own food are two-fold. If this is something you're interested in starting, then Halsall's book is a great place to begin. 

3. If You're Looking for Variety: How to Grow Stuff by Alice Vincent
Like Halsall's book, How to Grow Stuff is perfect for beginners who want to grow their own produce. Vincent taught herself, and this perspective is helpful if you're starting out. She transformed her balcony in New York into a flourishing garden. This even had its own vegetable patch, which featured fresh herbs like basilBut Vincent goes a step further than Halsall's book. She looks at growing your own flowers as well as vegetables. She believes finding the balance of these two things creates a thriving garden. And this is something you can enjoy all year round.

4. The Award-Winner: Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway
Like The Well-Tempered Garden, Hemenway's book focuses on creating harmony within your garden.  He feels a big part of this is choosing plants what will work together within the space you have. After all, a garden is an ecosystem, so everything within it has a role to play. This even includes encouraging particular insects within your garden. The classic gardening book features beautiful maps of which plants work best together. This is great if you're trying to figure out the best growing patterns for plants. So Hemenway manages to fuse practical advice with design tips. This means that this book is helpful both for beginners and experienced gardeners. But you don't just have to take our word for it! In 2011, Gaia's Garden won the Nautilus Gold Medal Award. It has also been in the Washington Post's top ten gardening books.

5. All About Urban Gardening: Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City by Dan Pearson
This gardening book provides specific useful advice for growing a garden in the city. And gardens in cities can provide a plethora of benefits for those who use them.  They support storm water collection and reduce the urban heat island effect. They also contribute cleaner air in their areas. And they protect natural eco-systems that might otherwise not survive.

We can reap the benefits of these spaces too. A garden creates a community because they provide a communal space for activities. And this is mentally beneficial for everyone involved. But creating a garden in the city isn't easy to achieve. Designer Pearson shares his experience of doing just this in South London. He transformed an unused, overgrown site into an urban oasis. And this book contains the trials and tribulations of this process. It's a must-read for anyone about to embark on a similar venture or looking to try something new!

6. Creating Something from Scratch: We Made a Garden by Margery Fish
Here is another story about building a garden out of nothing, but in quite a different setting to Pearson!  In 1937, she and her husband bought a run-down cottage in the English countryside. Together they overhauled the overgrown mess to create their own country garden. But this task wasn't without its challenges!  In We Made a Garden, Fish outlines the ups and downs of this experience. Unlike other books about gardening, this provides an insight into sharing your garden. She shares tales of battling over different gardening goals. This also has the advantage of being a slim read. So if you're short on time this could be the book for you!

7. A Love Letter to Gardening: Down the Garden Path by Beverley Nicols 
This unique tale is more of an ode to gardening than a practical guide. But its engaging voice will inspire you. So it's a great book to turn to when you're feeling ready to throw in the towel (or trowel!)
Beverley Nicols was a newcomer to gardening when he bought his countryside cottage. And so began his hilarious account of trying to wrangle the garden while living in a new home. This is a book for anyone who wants to ignite, or reignite, a love for the process of gardening. Nicols worked as an author and playwright before writing this book. So the story is hilarious and engaging, which makes for easy reading.

The Bottom Line
If you're looking for something specific, you won't struggle to find a gardening book on it! But whatever you read, make sure these seven gardening books are on the list. For more great lifestyle tips, check out our blog!

*contributed post*

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