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Christmas Gifts for Gardeners

In this column I share my favourite gift ideas with you, these are the best products that I have personally tried and tested this year, as part of my quest to help you find quality presents for your loved ones this Christmas!

Vegepod

Vegepod is an award-winning container gardening system that is really quite marvellous!  This raised bed system has universal appeal, you don’t need access to the soil, so if you’re gardening on concrete but ache to grow vegetables, this is for you. 

Teaming with Fungi: The organic grower’s guide to mycorrhizae
Author: Jeff Lowenfels
Publisher: Timber Press
ISBN: 978-1-60469-729-2

Through his book Teaming with Fungi, author Jeff Lowenfels, aims to dispel the myths associated with fungi; this book informs and educates readers about fungi and their fascinating relationship with plants.  80-95% of all plants form symbiotic relationships with mycorrhizal fungi.  These relationships are incredibly beneficial to plants, so it makes sense for gardeners, horticulturists, and those working in forestry, agriculture, plant propagation, or indeed any career or hobby based around plants, to learn and understand more about mycorrhizal fungi species and the true nature of their relationship with plants. 

Teaming with Nutrients: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition
Author: Jeff Lowenfels
Publisher: Timber Press
ISBN: 978-1-60469-314-0

Teaming with Nutrients is the second book in a series of three books written by Jeff Lowenfels, for the publisher Timber Press.  Each book is focused on a different area of plant science; the other books being, Teaming with Microbes (written by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis) and Teaming with Fungi

Teaming with Microbes, the Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web  
Authors: Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis
Publisher: Timber Press
ISBN: 978-1-60469-113-9

In their book, Teaming with Microbes, authors, Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis, highlight the importance of a healthy soil food web, describing the benefits a fully operational and functioning soil food web has on plants.  Healthy soil is teeming with life! 

Essential Pruning Techniques for Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers
Authors: George E. Brown and Tony Kirkham
Photographs: Andrea Jones
Publisher: Timber Press

ISBN: 978-1-60469-288-4

The first edition of the reference book, Essential Pruning Techniques was written by George E. Brown (1917-1980).  George was the assistant curator at Kew and a founding member of the Arboricultural Association.  The original book was published in 1972; for over forty years this book was the go-to reference for pruning. 

Daffodil: The remarkable story of the world’s most popular spring flower
Author: Noel Kingsbury
Photographer: Jo Whitworth
Publisher: Timber Press
ISBN: 978-1-60469-318-8

Daffodils are one of the most recognisable, most popular, and most widely revered flowers.  If you love daffodils and want to hear their story, then may I suggest a lovely book, Daffodil, which was written by Noel Kingsbury, and is illustrated with beautiful pictures taken by photographer, Jo Whitworth.

The Chinese Kitchen Garden: growing techniques and family recipes from a classic cuisine
By Wendy Kiang-Spray
Published by Timber Press
ISBN: 978-1-60469-677-6

If you’re making a list and checking it twice…..of all the interesting and exciting vegetables and crops that you hope to grow next year, then you might be interested to read The Chinese Kitchen Garden, a charming book, written by Wendy Kiang-Spray.

The Book of Orchids: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from Around the World.
By Professor Mark Chase, Dr Maarten Christenhusz, and Tom Mirenda
ISBN: 978-1-78240-403-3
Published by The Ivy Press

Comprised of six hundred and fifty-six pages and weighing in at 2.3kg, The Book of Orchids is a substantial book that’s jam packed full of interesting information about orchids!

The English Roses
By David Austin
Published by Conran Octopus
ISBN: 978-1-84091-751-2

This is the third edition of this book, The English Roses by David Austin, to be published, having been updated to include some of the new rose introductions that David Austin Roses have made since the first edition of this book was printed in 2005.

David Austin begins The English Roses by introducing the reader to the history of the rose and rose growing, focussing on the history, breeding, and development of the English Roses, acquainting the reader with some of the roses David used in part to breed the English Roses – the Gallicas, Damasks, and the Albas.  

Hedera The Complete Guide
by Hugh McAllister and Rosalyn Marshall
Published by the Royal Horticultural Society
ISBN: 978-1-90705-773-1

Could there be a more wonderful Christmas gift than a book about ivy?

Ivy is such a valuable garden plant, evergreen, hardy, and native to the UK, whatever your garden’s style, ivy can enhance it.  Hedera The Complete Guide, really is just that, a complete and wonderful guide to this fascinating plant genus. 

No Dig Organic Home & Garden:
Grow, Cook, Use & Store Your Harvest
By Charles Dowding & Stephanie Hafferty
Published by Permanent Publications
ISBN: 978-1-85623-301-9

I have included the No Dig Organic Home & Garden book by Charles Dowding and Stephanie Hafferty in my recommended 2017 Gifts for Gardeners article, as this is simply a great gardening book, which clearly explains the principles of the organic ‘no dig’ method of gardening.

Blue Ribbon Vegetable Gardening: The Secrets to Growing the Biggest and Best Prizewinning Produce
By Jodi Torpey
ISBN: 978-1-61212-394-3
Published by Storey Publishing

Blue Ribbon Vegetable Gardening begins with an introduction to the history of showing and exhibiting vegetables in America, noting how this area of horticulture has developed and changed over the years.  In the following chapter, tips on how to fully understand the show schedule, as well as tips that will ensure you present your vegetables at their best are given.

Gardening for Butterflies: How you can attract and protect beautiful, beneficial insects
The Xerces Society
ISBN: 978-1-60469-598-4

Published by Timber Press

I live in the UK.  I very much enjoyed reading Gardening for Butterflies, I found it very interesting to read about the butterfly species that live in America, their preferred nectar and larval host plants, and the challenges that these butterflies are facing.  

Gifts for Gardeners

I feel such an uplifting, happy sensation when I find the perfect gift.  I have been busy testing out products, searching for special gifts for gardeners.  Here are my recommendations:

Horticultural Society Membership

Membership of a horticultural society would make a super present.  There are many local gardening societies who meet regularly across Surrey, where you can learn about gardening and make new friends.  

Botanicum
Curated by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis
ISBN: 978-1-78370-394-4
Published by Big Picture Press/Bonnier Publishing

Please note – I make no apology for the frequency, or the extent of my gushing over Katie Scott and Kathy Willis’s book – Botanicum – I love this book, I hope you will love it too.

I sat back in sheer awe and wonder as I read Botanicum, this is a truly beautiful book,  filled with the most captivating and enchanting art work, which perfectly depicts the fascinating information about the plant kingdom that’s given in this special book.  

Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales, Easy Planting, Less Weeding, Early Harvests
By Craig LeHoullier
ISBN: 978-1-61212-614-2
Published by Storey Publishing

Craig LeHoulier outlines many useful considerations for straw bale gardening, in his book Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales.  From tips and advice to consider whilst you’re planning where to site your straw bales, to ideas on staking your plants, and even advice on how to improve the aesthetics of your straw bale garden.  

Building Raised Beds
By Fern Marshall Bradley
ISBN: 978-1-61212-616-6
Published by Storey Publishing

In some gardens or allotment sites, raised beds can be a necessity.  Whether you want to create raised beds to help improve drainage in areas prone to water logging, or to visually improve the appearance of your garden or allotment, I am sure that the Building Raised Beds by Fern Marshall Bradley will help you.

Gardening With Less Water – Low-Tech, Low-Cost Techniques – Use Up To 90% Less Water In Your Garden
By David A. Bainbridge
ISBN: 978-1-61212-582-4
Published by Storey Publishing

The author of Gardening With Less Water, David A. Bainbridge, has taken inspiration from a number of different irrigation techniques and methods that were used in ancient times; these historic techniques have formed the basis for David’s own research into the irrigation methods which feature in his book.  

High-Yield Vegetable Gardening: Grow More of What You Want in the Space You Have
By Colin McCrate and Brad Halm
ISBN: 978-1-61212-396-7
Published by Storey Publishing

“This book is for people who are intent on getting as much food as possible out of their gardens no matter the size of their plot”,  is how authors Colin McCrate and Brad Halm introduce High-Yield Vegetable Gardening.