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Books vs. videos


By ange2


I’m interested to know the answer to this!

I have amassed a large number of gardening books over the years and they were the first go-to source for my information on plants and their requirements, garden planning, queries and questions that needed an answer. I even had enough interest to take a short RHS course on the basics 20 or so years ago.

I would say I am not a ‘natural’ gardener. Some people are instinctive, but, like many, I am not blessed with green fingers and need instruction. And I lack the insight that makes for satisfying design.

Just recently I find myself neglecting the books and turning increasingly to watching videos where there is such a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. It seems an especially useful outlet for gardeners and anyone with an interest in plants or garden design. Witness my burgeoning interest in houseplants which was sparked by videos usually made by enthusiastic amateurs. (In fact I find the amateurs easier to relate to than the professionals!)

So I wonder if the gardening press is on its way to becoming obsolete? All the magazines and books disappearing from our shelves… I am considering giving away most of my gardening books now. Is that sacrilege after 40 years of collecting, or have I finally caught up with the times at last? I’d love to know your thoughts on this and from where you get your own information.

Something to look forward to:

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Books for me all the way. Not a fan of you-tube etc.
Books don't need electricity to run them and I enjoy reading them in bed just before sleep. I only buy those that are factual and family know to either give me book tokens or take me shopping for them.

11 Jan, 2023


Mixed, I find books handy for a quick look up or reference but more & more it's videos these days, I find it much easier to follow techniques seeing them rather first hand than reading how

For instance last year I started out into cape primroses [steptocarpus[], my first time ever-growing and since then have successfully propagated from leaf cuttings just by watching videos

12 Jan, 2023


I enjoy sitting by my big window with a coffee and browsing leisurely through a gardening book. I find videos and youtube etc very irritating. I find the people on them annoying, and the shiny screen gets on my nerves after a while. The 21st century is definitely not for me.

12 Jan, 2023


I also have a massive collection of gardening books, and am in the throes of organising a lending/swapping scheme with my gardening group. I do enjoy a leisurely browse, often coming across something useful that I hadnโ€™t known I needed. Interesting blog Ange ๐Ÿ™‚.

12 Jan, 2023


Looks like we're divided over this one. I'm not surprised.

Meadow, I rarely look at the RHS magazine without becoming frustrated. I can't relate to much of what they say when they spend so much time reporting on the enormous gardens of wealthy owners. I have no interest in vegetable growing so that bit gets ignored. I suppose they can't please everyone but it takes me a maximum of 10 minutes to read before it's cast into the recycling.
I understand what you say about art videos. I've used videos too for any knitting queries I have.

I don't suppose I could give up all my books, Sbg, and I understand what you mean. But I think a fair number will go! I am on a mission to clear from my house a lot of what is 'superfluous to requirements'!

Agreed, Gg, I totally agree about the visual aspects of videos. Sometimes it's much easier to watch techniques being illustrated rather than described. And I also enjoy looking at enthusiasts' garden designs and planting. Some of them are really helpful to galvanise me into decision-making.

You have a lot of people in your cosy corner with you, Hywel. I understand about what you mean about irritating presentation. I find that particularly true of TV gardening programmes now where I can barely manage to watch many of the presenters with their over-florid verbal style, constant gesticulation or condescention.

I think we might be lending out quite a few wildlife gardening books here, too, Sheila. Not sure if it will be needed/wanted yet!

12 Jan, 2023


I have a huge collection of gardening books, I wouldn't get rid of any of them even though some are now that old that some of the information is not really relevant to how we all garden now, I still like to browse through them, I have some on the shelf next to my bed, I never sleep very well and sometimes a fiction book is not what I want to read...As to your query, I wouldn't dream of buying a gardening magazine unless I saw one with some seeds on the front that I'd like, its a lot of years since I even did that, think if I remember correctly I was on holiday at the time and lacking in reading material at bedtime, lol, they are to my way of thinking on the way out, I'm into saving the planet, and every little helps, in this day and age I do not need a load of glossy paper adding to my non recyclable wasteage, if I have something I want to find an answer for or want ideas for my garden, I turn on my laptop, there is always an answer for me on there, I rarely end up on Youtube though, I belong to lots of gardening groups, people from all walks of life with all styles of gardens and interests in many different plants/trees/ shrubs , water gardens and garden designing, you name it I can find it, after all these years I also know whom I need to contact if I do need advice, I'm afraid some of my books are feeling sadly neglected Ange but I do still love them and they are there if I want to open them, plus the fact that if the power went off around here, (very rarely happens but I do remember well the miners strike..) I only need a candle, my book and I can still read, lol............

12 Jan, 2023


Interesting point about recycling, Lincs. All our books are recycled to the Oxfam Bookshop and so hopefully a bit of money is raised and some the books pass on to a second pair of hands. I think they do something useful with those that aren't sold, too.
Our magazine is a freebie because OH is a member of the RHS. I wouldn't buy magazines otherwise. We don't miss newspapers anymore, except for their usefulness in wrapping up chicken carcasses after Sunday lunch, so I don't think I'd miss any magazines.
Believe it or not, I do have a sentimental attachment to some of my books but not many!

12 Jan, 2023


I too like Lincs have lots of garden books which I would never part with!
Some are very large books and also have one by Geoff Hamilton, Alan Titchmarsh and Monty Don.
When I first started to garden many many years ago, these books were very useful giving ideas and what to plant where.
Now.. I just use my imagination when I am landscaping a garden and have the idea in my head and then just carry on forming it.
But , still like to look at all my books now and then!

12 Jan, 2023


Books are great but they lack the unspoken knowledge and experience one gets by directly watching and hearing others-and I emphasize the plural- do the task and their explanation of it. You pick up a little bit here and a little bit there to build up your own best practices in gardening. Case in point but not about gardening.....I read many chapters with illustrations about how to remove an appendix and with only that knowledge I might as well have done the procedure blindfolded. Watching them done, gave me the sense that there are a thousand untold things to learn that can be only imparted to one through the experience of watching others do it. This is the first part of the surgical triad...see one....teach one. Now back to gardening, today you can pick out any gardening subject or task and actually watch it in a video presentation made by hundreds of people who are generous enough to show you how they do things in their own unique way developed from years of experience and you can gain this without ever leaving your home. I consider this one of the blessings of our new age of information technology.

12 Jan, 2023


Another vote for books, Rose. I don't have a good enogh imagination to design what I want without help. This goes for interior design or gardens. Nothing inside or out ever seems to look how I expected it to.. (or grow as I wanted it to!)

Well put, L'strife. I think you make a very convincing case for the benefits of video, especially in gardening. You are right, (and it is something I hadn't considered) the makers of these are generous with their time and expertise, and often talented and painstaking. Something to be grateful for.

12 Jan, 2023


I would say I like both, love looking through my books for inspiration but also watch videos too, I love looking at other people's gardens more than anything else really for inspiration which is how I found this site and most of my motivation and inspiration when i first found it :-))

13 Jan, 2023


Well balanced, D'lily!

14 Jan, 2023


usually a bit of each Ange , do like to watch more though these days as it's quicker and at hand easily with Youtube

14 Jan, 2023


Agreed, Paul.

15 Jan, 2023


Ange, Iโ€™ve bought the odd gardening magazine, but never a book. I rarely look at gardening videos either. The only books I read are the thriller or psychological thriller type ๐Ÿ˜‚
Iโ€™ve learned from my maternal grandfather about gardening since I was little. He sadly passed over a decade ago now. Thereafter, it was from patients and laterally from you lovely, experienced bunch, with gardens to aspire too!

15 Jan, 2023


I love an occasional gardening magazine too, but donโ€™t subscribe so that I can try different ones. Currently enjoying Modern Gardens ๐Ÿ™‚.

15 Jan, 2023


Kate, I hate to think how much I have spent on books generally over the years, but a lot went on gardening ones. They made me more knowlegeable, as I had no-one to show me at home, but I'm not sure they improved my often unsatisfying outcomes. My grandmother was of the old cottager skills. She could put a stick in the ground and it would grow for her!
Don't frighten yourself too much with those psychological thrillers...

15 Jan, 2023


Good idea, Sheila!

15 Jan, 2023


Thanks Ange. Magazines really can be a source of good ideas! Up to date knowledge too ๐Ÿ™‚.

16 Jan, 2023

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