Gardening books are a must-have for everyone who cares for an outdoor space. Whether you have a tiny terrace or a large yard, they’ll provide advice and inspiration, helping you choose the right plants for every situation. They can offer guidance for growing food for your table, too. Our top picks include books that both experienced gardeners and new starters will enjoy. Take a look.
Work with nature
Be inspired to garden ecologically. In the second edition of his book, Toby Hemenway describes how you can create a backyard ecosystem. This can be achieved by including plants that maintain soil fertility, catching and conserving water, and encouraging beneficial insects, birds, and animals to reside in your outdoor space. You’ll also find out how to grow seasonal fruits, nuts, and other foods.
If you’re a new gardener or suffer from a brown thumb, this reference book is for you. It’ll give you all the know-how you need to create a great garden with clear explanations and advice. You’ll find out how to solve common gardening problems, too, including keeping pests at bay.
Grow your own food even if you have the smallest of yards or live in the city with ideas from this book. Covering containers, raised beds, growing vertically, and balcony and rooftop situations, this book will teach you how to use your space to produce food for your table. You’ll also find out how to stop bugs from snacking on your edibles and prevent common plant diseases.
Want to improve an existing garden? This book is packed with strategies to bring out the beauty in yards of all sizes. You’ll discover over 130 illustrated landscape design and planting suggestions in its pages. Both gardening newbies and the already experienced can benefit from the design ideas.
Take the guesswork out of finding the right plant for a particular situation with this brilliant reference book. The book covers 30 different possible locations and conditions, such as sunny borders with clay soil or soggy pond perimeters. There’s also a special effects section that allows you to select plants with specific attributes like fragrance, color, or architectural properties.
Want a garden full of blooms? This book will give you the lowdown on growing and caring for both common flowers and more unusual and challenging choices. The book is organized by seasons to allow you to maximize the color and loveliness of your garden through many months of the year.
Why you can trust Gardeningetc
For fresh inspiration for your yard and easy reference, nothing beats building a gardening library of your own. Our number one choice is Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. It’ll give you the impetus you need to garden ecologically, showing you all the benefits and beauty it can bring.
To solve the problem of which plant will thrive in which position and soil conditions, the Encyclopedia of Garden Plants for Every Location is a super-useful addition to your bookshelf. It’ll also enable you to look up plants by quality, such as bringing fragrance or color to an outdoor space.
Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes and gardens and loves investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper.
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