10 books to inspire your love of gardens and gardening

10 books to inspire your love of gardens and gardening

It’s National Gardening Week and with the weather warming up it’s the perfect time to celebrate the grassy, leafy, humble and much-loved garden. Whether you’ve got a balcony, an allotment, or acres of land, spending some time cultivating a few plants can be a brilliant pastime.

So for novices and experienced gardeners alike, we’ve put together a great bunch of books that feature gardening and gardens in all their glory. There’s something here for everyone.

1. Gardeners, Gurus and Grubs by George Drower

garden potting shed

Intriguing stories of fifty inventions, innovations and discoveries that have transformed gardening techniques, from the ancient world waterscrew to the modern day gro-bag. Dig into the past and future of gardening (pun completely intentional, of course).

Available for Listening Books members to borrow on MP3 CD.

2. An Evening with Alan Titchmarsh by Alan Titchmarsh

Alan TitchmarshAlan talks about his life and career, tells behind-the-scenes anecdotes, reads some of his favourite stories and poems – and, of course, gives useful advice about gardening. It’s also worth checking out Knave of Spades, Alan Titchmarsh’s memoir, which takes you from his time in the greenhouses of his local nursery to being broadcast nationwide as a gardening presenter.

Available for Listening Books members to borrow on MP3 CD.

3. Gardeners’ Question Time

Gardeners Question TimeOf course you can find this weekly on BBC Radio 4, but should you need an extra fix, this exclusive Gardeners’ Question Time compilation offers all-year round advice on everything from plants and planting to pests, diseases, design and seasonally topical tips.

Available for Listening Books members to borrow via stream and download.

4. Awaiting Development by Judy Allen

crocusIn this humorous and heartfelt novel, Jo’s secret haven has been the beautiful garden of the big house nearby. But the site has been sold to a property developer, who plans to cover it with new flats and houses… and she plans to stop them. An ode to the gardens which we love so much.

Available for Listening Books members to borrow on MP3 CD.

5. A Handful of Earth: A Year of Healing and Growing by Barney Bardsley

allotmentA story which shows how important gardening can be for the mind. When Barney Bardsley’s husband died of cancer, she felt anxious, alone and exhausted. During this dark time she took to tending her small, scruffy allotment and she slowly began to find comfort in nature. This is the diary of her year in the garden, and as the seasons unfold, she charts how her own life is slowly restored under the garden’s healing influence.

Available for Listening Books members to borrow on MP3 CD.

6. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

garden gateFor anyone who’s read The Secret Garden (or seen the film) it’s hard to forget how good Dickon is with the plants and animals – it’s also impossible to forget what the garden means to so many of the characters. This book is brilliant to revisit and essential to discover if you’ve never read or listened to it before.

Available for Listening Books members to borrow on MP3 CD and via stream and download.

7. Daisy Dalrymple Book 2: The Winter Garden Mystery by Carola Dunn

daffodilIf you like a bit of cosy crime, then this one is for you. In this second installment of Carola Dunn’s mystery series set in 1923 England, plucky Daisy Dalrymple embarks on another assignment for Town and Country magazine and discovers that daffodil bulbs aren’t all that’s buried in a country estate’s flower bed. This is less about gardening and more about the secrets that can be hidden beneath the soil!

Available for Listening Books members to borrow via stream and download.

8. Cool as a Cucumber by Michael Morpurgo

garden diggingCool as a Cucumber is a delightful story about a boy called Peter who at first seems a little reluctant to help dig up a garden patch for his school project to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. He then starts to dig up some interesting things – a huge worm, a big beetle, bits of china, an old coin and what looks like a giant cucumber, but turns out to be something a lot more exciting.

Available for Listening Books members to borrow via stream and download.

9. Guide to British Garden Birds by Stephen Moss

garden robinThis one is invaluable if you’d like to know more about the birds you hear when you’re out in your garden. Recorded on location in the Somerset Levels, this audiobook is a helpful, practical guide to help you sort out your Blue tits from your Great Tits and your hedge sparrows from your tree sparrows. Plus, sound recordist Chris Watson, armed with an array of microphones, allows listeners to eavesdrop on the songs, calls and alarm cries of the birds in this Somerset garden.

Available for Listening Books members to borrow via stream and download.

10. Your Planet Needs You! by Dave Reay

garden compostShould your children need any convincing of why gardening is so great, why not bring in the importance of the environmental factors at play. This book contains all sorts of great energy saving tips, but you can always skip to the bits about composting!

Available for Listening Books members to borrow on MP3 CD.

 

We hope you find something for you and your family among these books featuring gardening, gardens, and great gardeners. Maybe they’ll inspire you to get out in the great outdoors, or perhaps bring you a little bit of garden-like calm to take with you wherever you are.

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This post was written by Holly Newson

Picture credit: jo-h (Celeb Gardener), Flickr; Kew on Flickr, Flickr

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