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Gardener's delights - which books do you treasure ?


Just thought this would be an interesting topic to start.

My own personal favourites are by Will Giles (Exotic Gardening) and Christopher Lloyd – all with lush photos- but an invaluable little paperback, if dull, is an RHS “Pruning Guide” – which is like a bible for me!

Now I have also discovered Beverley Nichols (previous blog) and can see many more winter days reading about gardens when I can’t get out there to DO it..and forgetting all the chores …slummy housewife me.

More blog posts by ClaireFifi

Previous post: Beverley Nichols - an extraordinary man.

Next post: Hard slog - digging up the front "lawn"....



Exotic gardening by Christopher Lloyd, and The Elements of Organic gardening and Highgrove by H.R.H The Prince of Wales are three of our favourites.

4 Oct, 2008


I couldn't possibly narrow my burgeoning library of garden books down to just one. But if I was cast away on a desert island, the one I would take with me is the
RHS A-Z Encyclopaedia of Garden Plants.
I'm currently reading Buried Treasures by Janis Ruksans (about hunting for, and growing, choice bulbs in the former Soviet Union). Then I will start on Plantsman's Paradise, Travels in China by Roy Lancaster. By the time I have finished these two, I am going to have a lot of additions to my 'wants' list :-)

4 Oct, 2008


"The First Principles of Horticulture" by R.P.Faulkner.1947.
I picked this book up several months ago for a few pennies at an old book shop. It has been invaluable to me whilst studying my RHS level 2.

My second is as like David an "RHS Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers".

My third Readers Digest "Your gardening Questions Answered".

I have loads more but narrowed it down to three really useful books. Second hand book shops/fairs are great, as not a lot really changes. Apart from the weather.

4 Oct, 2008


Readers Digest Enc of garden plants and flowers,The Hillier guide to Trees and Shrubs .RHS Gardeners Ency of Plants and Flowers. And exotic planting for adventurous gardeners Christopher Lloyd, to name but a few.These are the ones I refer to most of all.

4 Oct, 2008


Absolutely agree about the RHS Encyclopaedia and the A-to Z - it's a must. I also have 'Right Plant, Right Place'. Trouble is that my Gardening book library is growing steadily and I use them all on occasion. I also love reading them - browsing through and drooling at the photos of plants I'd love to grow. Beth Chatto books are also well-thumbed....

5 Oct, 2008


May I ask all you great gardeners out there ... have you ever come across a gardening book about gardening at altitude or gardening on mountains? I pick up tips from driving around and nosing into other villages here, but it's so much a farming community that all effort is put into growing veggies in any small flattish rock-free piece of ground with flower growing confined to endless pots of red pelargoniums, balconies swathed in surfinia petunias and only the occasional carefully tended foot-wide strip by casas or by the roadside showing the odd hollyhock (in the lower valleys) or marigolds. We're lucky in having a largish piece of land attached to our casa in which we have two 10' x 8' flower beds but so many seeds I have sown have not germinated , and I don't want to spend out on packets of seeds that wont grow here.

5 Oct, 2008


"The New Greener Thumb-the Classic Guide to Gardening in Canada" by Mark Cullen-who I find very amusing and knowledgeable.
I absolutely love Canadian Gardening Magazine, as well.
During the winter I love to get in the bathtub and just go over and over my books, they are highlighted to pieces and stained with bathwater (and some beer stains, haha)..

5 Oct, 2008


Hi Nariz. You are a lucky girl - the possibilities are endless! I would suggest that you have a peek on Amazon, there are so many books on mediterranean gardening. Loads of herbs such as rosemary and different types of lavenders would grow in the mountains.

5 Oct, 2008


Beside my chair I have a book called Perfect plant Perfect calls out at the bottom of the cover "The surest way to select the right outdoor and indoor it... I also love my library of herbal books. I studied herbs in the wild for a few years when I lived in the woods and found it so amazing how every plant has a herbal use and which are terribly poisonous and which are old Indian medicines as well as ancient european medicines...I will drag them out when I see something that I want to know what its use could possibly be. They used to call me the Hippie Herb Lady...although I have never been a Hippie a day in my life...I am far to intense for learning though.

5 Oct, 2008


Hi Marguerite and Clairefifi. Thanks for your responses - sorry I knicked your blog Clairefifi! Yes, I guess I shall have to trawl through Amazon for something quoting "Alpine" in the title. It's about the best bet, particularly as amongst the local wild flowers are several varieties of gentian, eidelweiss and Alpine daffodills. We don't live in the sunny south, Clairefifi, but 25 kms inland from the northern coast and at 700 m high - the Costa Verde. So called because it's green and rains a lot! In fact the climate here, apart from being a few degrees higher and with a longer summer but harsh snow-laden winters, is not dissimilar to Britain. I already grow herbs, rosemary and lavender but have had no success at all with hollyhocks (although they grow down in the valley), red hot pokers, salvia - although sage is bursting with health, delphiniums, poppies, wallflowers, nemesia and many more. The ground is VERY stony, but our area, the Liebana Valley, is renowned for its fertile soil. The mountains are mainly limestone, so I suppose the soil is "limey." Thanks again.

5 Oct, 2008


Would bringing in mulch help? There must be books on dealing with such sweet soil...I would love to have more of it here. I have to amend for acid soil.

5 Oct, 2008

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