Giving a gift is such a special thing to do, if you’re buying a present that you’ve seen online or in the shops, it’s not easy to tell how useful, wonderful or lasting the gift will be in reality, when you haven’t tried it yourself. With this in mind, I have sought out some super gift ideas, which I have reviewed and tested, so that you can hopefully find the perfect presents for your friends and family this Christmas.
The Cabaret of Plants Botany and the Imagination
By Richard Mabey
Published by Profile Books
Throughout The Cabaret of Plants, Richard Mabey’s eloquent and detailed descriptions illuminate the beauty of the plant world for the reader. With reflections from Richard’s own lifetime of experiences of the plant world, together with references and information about the findings and studies of other botanical researchers through time, Richard Mabey has gathered together stories of interest and fascination to delight every reader.
Garden Design Solutions: Ideas for Outdoor Spaces
By Stephen Woodhams
Published by Jacqui Small LLP.
Stephen Woodhams is an award winning garden designer, he has over 25 years experience of designing gardens in the Mediterranean, the USA, the Middle East, Mauritius and in the UK, including two Gold, and three Silver Medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Garden Design Solutions: Ideas for Outdoor Spaces is Stephen’s latest book where he shares some of his most recent designs for outdoor living, featuring gardens from different countries and climates, together with advice to help the reader plan their outdoor living space.
The Crafted Garden
By Louise Curley
Photography by Jason Ingram
Published by Frances Lincoln Limited
The Crafted Garden is a book full of ideas of flowers, seed pods, twigs, pinecones, and other lovely things, that you could find (and grow) in your garden or at your allotment, and use in simple craft projects. The activities are arranged according to the season, to help you find craft ideas and inspiration for every time of year.
The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood
By Kathryn Aalto
Published by Timber Press
Winnie-the-Pooh holds a special place in most of our hearts; the ‘silly old bear’ and his band of friends brought their own special, heart-warming charm to many of our childhoods, thanks to the stories of their adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood, written by A.A.
The Indestructible Houseplant – 200 beautiful plants that everyone can grow
by Tovah Martin, photographs by Kindra Clineff
Published by Timber Press
Tovah Martin describes her house as alternating between chilly and stuffy, not sufficiently bright, and cramped. While this might not be a feel you’d be rushing to try to recreate in your own home, it provides Tovah with the necessary challenging conditions required to grow and thoroughly test out houseplants for their resilience and staying power; this together with Tovah’s knowledge and experience equip her perfectly to write this comprehensive and informative book about the varieties of houseplants that are (almost) indestructible.
In The Just Retirement Book of Gardening, Tracy Foster highlights how gardens can be reclaimed and redesigned, so that with careful planning, you can get the most out of your garden in retirement. Retirement provides an opportunity to take a fresh look at the garden and make any changes, so that your garden suits both your present, and your future requirements.
Book Review – Straw Bale Gardens Complete by Joel Karsten
Published by Cool Springs Press
This is Joel’s second book on Straw Bale Gardening; it’s an updated version of his 2013 edition containing additional information for potential straw bale gardeners. Straw Bale Gardening (SBG) is a revolutionary gardening method which Joel has enthusiastically perfected and trialled over the last 15 years; his passion for the subject, as well as the many benefits of gardening using this technique are truly inspiring and exciting to read.
Epic Tomatoes, how to select and grow the best varieties of all time by Craig LeHoullier
The author of this book, Craig LeHoullier, is a tomato adviser for Seed Savers Exchange, an American non profit organisation, established to save and share the seeds of heritage varieties of seed with the aim of conserving and promoting America’s culturally diverse, but often endangered, garden and food crop heritage through future generations.
The One-pot Gourmet Gardener – delicious container recipes to grow together and cook together
By Cinead McTernan, with photographs by Jason Ingram
Published by Frances Lincoln
Cinead McTernan has devised 25 container recipes for her book, ‘The One-pot Gourmet Gardener’, so you can grow the ingredients you need for one dish, in a single pot, on your front step, in your garden or at your allotment.
Book review – Small-Space Vegetable Gardens: Growing Great Edibles in Containers, Raised Beds, and Small Plots by Andrea Bellamy
Published by Timber Press
Andrea Bellamy, the author of Small-Space Vegetable Gardens, wrote this book to create a helpful resource and inspiration for new gardeners; it’s the book she wished she had read as a beginner gardener. I love this sentiment and Andrea’s desire to encourage others to garden and grow food, in the smallest of spaces.
Grow A Little Fruit Tree by Ann Ralph
Publisher: Storey Publishing
‘Grow A Little Fruit Tree’ extols the virtues of growing smaller fruit trees, advocating the use of pruning, rather than relying on rootstocks, to keep fruit trees small. The author recommends growing fruit trees that are a manageable height and size, around the height of the tree’s owner or guardian, so that all parts of the tree are within reach and the tree is accessible for both pruning and harvesting without the need for a stepladder.