The team and I love a good gardening book. We’ve stockpiled quite the library at Lazy Susan HQ. We pick them up on a regular basis, they make for great inspiration, they influence our product development, and they help to keep us in touch with garden design trends that could directly influence our business. Plus we are passionate about what we do. We love our gardens as much as you do. So at the end of the day, we enjoy reading them. A good book also makes for a great gift for any green fingered friends and family members. It is always nice for the team and I to sit down with a cup of tea and compile our favourite gardening books from the previous year. Not all of these were officially published in 2019 I may add, although most were. Our criteria for our favourite gardening books is simply books the team and I purchased and read last year…
Gardening trends have influenced our favourite Garden books
Two of the big gardening trends this year have included Climate Change Gardening, and the continued drive to bring the inside out and the outside and in, both of which feature in some of the books we’ve selected. From designing gardens that allow us to be more mindful, to growing your own, gardening in 2019 has shifted heavily towards creating a space that brings you health, happiness and relaxation. The books we’ve enjoyed have most definitely ticked all those boxes. And I must stress these books aren’t in any order of preference too. This was simply a general consensus amongst the Lazy Susan team and I as to which books we enjoyed the most. These are the books are what we feel we drew the most inspiration or practical information from. Books that we’re more than happy to recommend to friends of Lazy Susan.
The Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach to Garden Design by Jinny Blom
After the team and I selected this one the thought crossed my mind that this might have come out in 2018. However, we only picked it up a few months ago. Either way, it is a relatively new book, and has proven to be incredibly insightful. Most definitely one that is on trend for 2019/2020 too. Over the years prolific garden designer Jinny Blom has embraced a wide variety of garden design styles, from large spaces to formal walled gardens and contemporary backyard installations. However, for me, what defines her work is her attention to detail and knowledge of the planting schemes she chooses. Creating gardens that respond to the history of the site and the wider landscape. In this book she gives a great insight into her creative process. Split into six sections – Seeing, Understanding, Structuring, Harmonising, Rooting, and Liberating – this is a book that will give you an understanding on how she sets about gardens that’ll stand the test of time all with consideration for the wider environment. This book contains plenty of wit and quirkiness alongside Jinny’s expert knowledge, and her ability to merge her artistry with functionality. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It is beautifully written and contains some fab photography.
Japanese Gardens: A Journey by Monty Don & Derry Moore
As a big fan of the TV show, this was a must have for us. Published to complement last years BBC2 series of the same name, this book has been written by Lazy Susan’s favourite gardener Monty Don. Beautifully compiled and printed, with over 200 original photographs from Derry Moore. We’ve written about traditional Japanese gardens many times on this blog. Myself and the team love them, they are a celebration of the natural world, the perfect combination of beautiful aesthetics with strong ethics. A Japanese garden is basically the natural world made miniature: rocks represent mountains, ponds represent seas etc. In this book, Monty explores all those traditional and the more modern aspects of Japanese gardening, looking in fascinating detail at the traditions and culture which inform some of the countries most beautiful gardens such as Kenroku-en, the Zen gardens of Tokyo and the historic beauty that is Kyoto. From the cherry blossom celebration of hanami to the autumnal hues of momijigari, this book ticked all the boxes for the Lazy Susan team and I. If the TV show passed you by, I would keep an eye out for the BBC repeating it. Unfortunately, as I sit and type this, it is currently not available on iPlayer.
Cambridge College Gardens by Tim Richardson and Clive Boursnell
This is an odd one for us to choose I suppose. None of us have any affiliation to Cambridge or its many Colleges. The book was pitched for students and alumni, their families, Cambridge locals and for lovers of private gardens, so I suppose we fall into the last category. Something just drew us to this one. We’re not even sure who ordered it and brought it into the office, but it captured our imagination. Taking a close look at the many exquisite gardens in and around the university of Cambridge’s colleges, I suppose the fact we didn’t know they even existed also played a big part. Of course we know they’d have university gardens, what I mean is we didn’t appreciate the history, horticulture excellence and the wonderful atmosphere that these hallowed gardens have created. The gardens are as rich and varied as the colleges themselves, often set within stunning architecture, and include formal quadrangles, naturalistic planting, walled gardens, rooftop terraces, productive plots and water meadows as well as the private spaces enjoyed exclusively by the college masters, porters and fellows. This is a beautiful coffee table book that we’ve enjoyed thumbing through and admiring the stunning photography by Clive Boursnell.
The Super Organic Gardener: Everything You Need to Know About a Vegan Garden by Matthew Appleby
The mantra for this book really struck a chord with us, if you care about what you eat, then you should care about how you grow it. As gardeners we are at the forefront of this shift towards organic produce and veganism. Not only eating a plant based diet, but also growing without animal input. I don’t want to preach too much, as I too could do more. However, this book really inspired me personally, as it did several of the team. It gives you all the tools you need to grow without harming the planet and animals, and explains why moving beyond organics towards super organic vegan gardening is the way truly tackle the environmental and industrial issues we’ve created. From advice on natural fertilisers and compost, to putting nutritional values on what you grow, and to how to cook it, to how to share our plots with wildlife, this book covers all the bases and some. Of all the books in this list, this was my favourite. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It makes for the perfect gift for anyone who cares about the environment, or simply loves gardening. A real eye opener from which I have garnered some wonderful tips.
RHS Design Outdoors: Projects & Plans for a Stylish Garden by Matthew Keightley
Good garden furniture design books just don’t really exist in their own right. We take much of our inspiration from general garden and patio design books. So as you can imagine, this is a book that got the Lazy Susan team really excited. The RHS books rarely disappoint, and anything that is pitched at helping to make your outdoor space look as stylish and as well designed as the inside of your home was always going to get a big double thumbs up from us. In it, award-winning designer Matt Keightley compiled a collection of 35 stunning gardens, either created by him or by other leading contemporary designers, to provide the inspiration to transform our outdoor spaces. Gardeners featured include the likes of award-winning designers Jo Thompson, Tom Stuart Smith, Tony Woods, Charlotte Rowe and Andrew Wilson. For each case study there is an in-depth plan, information on the plants and materials used and page after page of beautiful photography. However, what really impressed us the most, was the wide array, and prominence, of some truly inspiring garden furniture in those photographs and designs. I mean, just look at the cover. And much more of it I say!
Urban Garden Design by Kate Gould
This book is a great guide for those who want to transform a small and awkward space into beautiful and practical outdoor oasis. From courtyards to rooftops, Kate Gould draws on her experience as an award-winning garden designer to provide tailored solutions and some truly inspirational ideas. It covers a wide variety of helpful topics such as how to design and measure the perfect garden, choose and use the best materials and maintain a lush garden all year round. However, what piqued the interest of the Lazy Team was Kate’s passion for doing this with limited space. Size doesn’t matter, and a small urban garden can deliver just as much wow as a big plot. Creating a personal and unique space is clearly at the heart of each project, and Kate’s way of looking at ways we can integrate each design with the inside of our homes was the highlight for us.
RHS Your Wellbeing Garden: How to Make Your Garden Good for You – Science, Design, Practice by Royal Horticultural Society
And last but not least. Well last for a reason. This book just came out a few weeks ago, and we’ve not had our copy long. I’ve only had a quick flick through, but it is one I can’t wait to read. Those in the team that have read it have loved it. And as I said before, the RHS books never disappoint. My copy of their Gardening Through The Year book is heavily thumbed and annotated with my scribbles. However, I also wanted to include this book as this is a big trend we’ve seen emerge in 2019, and we expect this to only get bigger in 2020. As gardeners, we all know that our gardens can enhance our wellbeing. However, have you ever thought about the ‘why’? Well this book looks at the science behind it. And with better understanding comes better opportunity to get the most from our gardens. Covering design, plants, and the act of gardening itself, this book explains why our gardens are good for us, and how we can use that knowledge to best optimise our outdoor spaces. The best plants to grow and garden layout to help relaxation, boost our cardio system, and enhance mood. How we can minimise pollution, reduce noise, and improve household energy and water consumption. And of course gardening itself definitely improves flexibility and fitness. This book covers it all and is full of ideas to help improve our overall wellbeing.
So that’s our favourite garden books from 2019. Anything, you think we’ve missed or that the Lazy Susan team and I would love to read, please drop it in the comments below.