Lazy Susan's favourite gardening books of 2021

With Christmas fast approaching, the Lazy Susan team have got our heads together and compiled our favourite gardening books of 2021.

As avid readers, we love a good gardening book, it fuels both our passions...

The Lazy Susan team have got our heads together and compiled our favourite gardening books from the last 10 months or so.

With Christmas fast approaching, these would all make for a great gift for that special green-fingered someone in your life too. 

These are our top 5 gardening books of 2021:

1. The View from Federal Twist by James Golden

The View From Federal TwistFirst up is a book hot off the press. We only got our copy late last week but it is definitely one that’s got the team talking.

The premise of James’s book is a new way of thinking about gardens, nature and ourselves, and many of us were sold from the title alone, primarily because it's a style of gardening/location that is very different to what we know.

His Federal Twist garden is set on a ridge above the Delaware River in western New Jersey, USA. A ‘naturalistic’ garden has little to no boundaries and is fully integrated with the natural world that surrounds it.

This book charts the author's journey in making that garden. How he made the conscious decision to not try and improve a land already planted with large, competitive plants. And he achieved this by experimenting with seeding to develop sustainable plant communities.

Part experimental horticulturist and part philosopher, James has written an important book for those interested in a more natural and ecologically sound way of creating a garden that aligns nature and wellbeing. Very pertinent in the times we are living if you ask us!

The View from Federal Twist is available to buy from amazon.co.uk

2. Humphry Repton: Designing the Landscape Garden by John Phibbs & Joe Cornish

Designing The Landscape GardenAs we’ve mentioned on this blog a number of times before, the Lazy Susan team are big ‘Capability’ Brown fans, and John Phibbs book on his work is a big office favourite.

So, a book on Humphry Repton (by the same author) was always going to be on our wish list because of that, but also for Repton’s inspiration of, and opposition to, many of Capability’s design traits.

Widely acknowledged as the last great landscape designer of the eighteenth century, Repton created works that survive as a bridge between the picturesque design theory of Capability Brown and the pastoral philosophy of Frederick Law Olmsted.

This wonderful book looks in detail at 15 of Repton’s most celebrated landscapes from the early maturity of his gardens at Courteenhall and Mulgrave Castle to the more adventurous landscapes at Stanage, Brightling, and Endsleigh.

With some truly beautiful photographs by Joe Cornish, the book also includes some excellent reproductions of key illustrations and design plans from his famous red books to shed some light on Repton's vision and process.

Designing the Landscape Garden is available to buy from amazon.co.uk

3. Pure Style in the Garden: Creating An Outdoor Haven by Jane Cumberbatch

Pure Style In The GardenWe loved Janes’ Pure Style in the Home book, so this was another must-read for us. In fact, we were sold before we even read the following blurb for this one:

“Increasingly, outdoor spaces are becoming our haven – somewhere to breathe again, heighten our senses and escape the onslaught of noise, clutter and technology. This book offers ideas and inspiration for making the most of any outdoor space we might have – whether it is a garden, a patio, balcony, or even just a window box – and for bringing touches of nature indoors for mindful enjoyment.”

The Lazy Susan team are big fans of the 'Pure Style' philosophy full stop. Making the most of what’s around you and finding beauty in the simple and every day as an achievable alternative to the stressful demands of the consumer society in which we live. 

Drawing on the inspiration of her own home and garden, she has some fab ideas for life-affirming colour, scent and texture, and she shows us how even the most unpromising outdoor space can be a source of great joy.

Viewing the garden as an extension of the home, a philosophy we fully endorse, this beautiful and inspiring book is illustrated with glorious photographs and enchanting paintings by the author herself.

Gardens Illustrated said the following in their review of Pure Style in the Garden:

“The rich tapestry of garden journaling, horticultural advice, nature-inspired recipes and home-styling tips, illustrated with photographs and Jane's own paintings...will strike a chord with those of us who turned to gardening, journaling, art or cooking as therapy during uncertain times.”

Pure Style in the Garden is available to buy from amazon.co.uk

4. How to Design a Garden by John Brookes MBE

How To Design A GardenThe late great John Brookes MBE is another who has been a great source of inspiration for many of the Lazy Susan team on our own horticultural journeys.

Widely considered as the godfather of modern garden design, he started his career in the 1960s and quickly set about revolutionising the industry with a new philosophy and methodology that was rooted in the notion that gardens are about the people who live in them. 

He recognised the demands of the contemporary lifestyle and shifted things away from previous labour-intensive garden design traditions with their emphasis on showcasing plants. Instead, he promoted (possibly the first to do so?) the concept of the garden as an extension of the home with his must-read book, A Room Outside.

How to Design a Garden is an informative and practical collection of his thoughts and advice on garden design. Taken from countless writings and lectures, it is a fascinating insight into the man and his design theories/concepts.

How to Design a Garden is available to buy from amazon.co.uk 

5. Gardens Under Big Skies: Reimagining Outdoor Space, the Dutch Way by Noel Kingsbury

Gardens Under Big SkiesAnd last on our list is a book we are eagerly awaiting; our copy should be with us in the next week or so...

This is a book that appeals to our philosophy, our preferred way of gardening, so we know it will make a great Christmas gift.

The Netherlands is a country steeped in horticultural history and its gardens have long been a place for innovation and progressive thinking. This is exemplified by iconic figures such as the landscape architect, Mien Ruys, and naturalistic plant pioneer, Piet Oudolf.

Noel explores how the particularities of landscape, history and culture in the Netherlands have given rise to distinctive gardens and he demonstrates how a new generation of Dutch designers are reimagining outdoor space in revolutionary ways.

This book promises to showcase some inspiring examples of sustainable, modern, liveable outdoor spaces, and it will definitely appeal to any forward-thinking green-fingered friends or family!

Gardens Under Big Skies is available to pre-order/buy from amazon.co.uk

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