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Garden Guru: 5 Best Books for Xmas

Last year I wrote about my favourite garden related books of the year in late December. Many people commented that they would have found it useful for buying Christmas presents if I had posted in November. So here are my 5 ...

Last year I wrote about my favourite garden related books of the year in late December. Many people commented that they would have found it useful for buying Christmas presents if I had posted in November. So here are my 5 best books for Xmas with something that will appeal to different age groups and levels of expertise. NB There are several brilliant books which I have greatly enjoyed which don’t appear here.

Life in the Garden – by Penelope Lively published by Fig Tree (2 Nov 2017) RRP £14.99
‘Penelope Lively has always been a keen gardener. This book is partly a memoir of her own life in gardens: the large garden at home in Cairo where she spent most of her childhood, her grandmother’s garden in a sloping Somerset field, then two successive Oxfordshire gardens of her own and the smaller urban garden in the North London home she lives in today. It is also a wise, engaging and far-ranging exploration of gardens in literature, from Paradise Lost to Alice in Wonderland, and of writers and their gardens, from Virginia Woolf to Philip Larkin.’
I loved this book but it will probably appeal more to an older person who likes reading.
Prick – by Gynelle Leon published by Mitchell Beazley (9 Oct 2017) RRP £15.00
‘Prick is a stylish, practical, modern guide to the world of cacti and succulents. Cacti and succulents are the plant of the moment, attractive, affordable and easy to care for.  They’re a short cut to creating brighter, calmer, more relaxing spaces in the home and office. In Prick, cactus and succulent expert Gynelle Leon gives you all the knowledge you need to help your plants thrive in a simple, easy-to-understand way. Featuring: A plant gallery, showcasing the many weird and wonderful varieties A chapter of styling ideas to show off your plants A care guide to help your cacti and succulents flourish. As an RHS-award-winning plant photographer and founder of London’s only shop dedicated to cacti and succulents, Gynelle is the perfect guide on your path to cactus know-how.’
This is one for the young and trendy. I am told that 20-30 somethings just can’t get enough of these plants and sales have outgrown supply. Young people are staying in a series of rented rooms these days and have a ‘curated’ collection of personal effects to make anywhere seem like home including a string of fairy lights, a gold pineapple and a potted cactus!
The Hidden Life of Trees – by Peter Wohlleben published by William Collins (24 Aug. 2017) RRP £16.99

‘Are trees social beings? How do trees live? Do they feel pain or have awareness of their surroundings? In The Hidden Life of Trees Peter Wohlleben makes the case that the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers. Wohlleben also shares his deep love of woods and forests, explaining the amazing processes of life, death and regeneration he has observed in his woodland. A walk in the woods will never be the same again.’

Mind blowing stuff, this- will delight tree lovers and the curious of any age.

Down to Earth – by Monty Don published by DK (5 Oct. 2017) RRP £17.99

‘Unrivalled gardening wisdom from Monty Don, including essential tips, knowledge and musings from his 50 years of gardening experience. Written as he talks, this is Monty Don right beside you in the garden, challenging norms and sharing advice. Discover Monty’s thoughts and garden ideas around nature, seasons, colour, design, pests, flowering shrubs, containers, and much more. Read about the month-by month jobs he does in his own garden that he hopes are relevant to you. Monty’s intimate and lyrical writing is accompanied by photos of his garden, showing areas rarely seen on television. This is the perfect gift for the gardener in your life.’

“I have written many gardening books but this is the distillation of 50 years of gardening experience. It has all the tips and essential pieces of knowledge that enable you to make your garden grow well, and it also shares my view that gardening is the secret to living well too.” – Monty

If there is someone in your life who is on the brink of discovering the joys of gardening, this one is for them. Of course, many Monty fans will also want a copy.

The Almanac: A Seasonal Guide – by Lia Leendertz published by Unbound (5 Oct. 2017) RRP £9.99
‘The Almanac revives the tradition of the rural almanac, connecting you with the months and seasons via moon-gazing, foraging, feast days, seasonal eating, meteor-spotting and gardening. Award-winning gardener and food writer Lia Leendertz shares the tools and inspiration you need to celebrate, mark and appreciate each moment of the year.’
Bit of a little gem this one – and you can get hold of it for as little at £3.99 so it makes the perfect little gift for all sorts of people in your life who deserve a ray of sunshine in their Christmas stocking. I am particularly fond of it as it is the kind of quirky title that would not have seen the light of day if it had been up to conventional publishes. This title was crowd funded through the excellent company unbound – worth taking a little look at them too if you are keen on books.




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