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  • Gardening Books

    First a confession, I'm a much better reader and book-collector than I am a gardener - too lazy and inconsistent to do well in that practical art. I have however read and bought a lot of gardening books over the years, so I thought I'd share few names of my favourite writers with you all, together with the subject areas I think they cover best. So in order of the ones I've reread and value the most :-

    Lawrence D. Hills - fruit and veg
    Raymond Bush - fruit
    Gertrude Jekyll - garden design and flowers
    Christopher Lloyd - country gardens and ornamental plants in them
    Edward Hyams - Ornamental trees and shrubs
    Frances Perry - Scented plants
    W.E. Shewell-Cooper - a series of books, some of which are targeted at beginners.

    Obviously I've failed to name innumerable really good authors, but these are the writers I return to most often.

    As the eagle-eyed may have noticed most of these writers are far from recent. All I can say is that I do read the occasional new book, but it doesn't seem that they catch and hold my attention - probably I've always been a bit of an aged person and this trait has got more pronounced over the years. I've got a newish book on poly-tunnels on order, so that may buck the trend :-)

    Happy reading and gardening

    PS sorry mods - wasn't too sure where to post this, so please shift it if you feel it should be else-where.

  • #2
    The book that I enjoyed reading and would recommend is The Self Sufficient Gardener by John Seymour, for some reason being able to produce things relatively cheap appeals to me.
    it may be a struggle to reach the top, but once your over the hill your problems start.

    Member of the Nutters Club but I think I am just there to make up the numbers

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    • #3
      Yes I'd second that recommendation - I read and reread a few of his books, and certainly they gave me some good ideas at the time and were enjoyable. The only reason I didn't add his name to my list is that I'm a bit doubtful if I'd return to reading any of his books again now.

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      • #4
        My first book and the one I go back to most often is

        Grow Your Own Vegetables by Joy Larkham.

        A great mass of information, sometimes a bit dense. The veg recommendations are probably a bit out of date (in my edition anyway).

        This is a useful thread, as even with access to this forum and the internet, I think books are a great source of information. Invaluable to me when I was starting out.
        Living in north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep.

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        • #5
          My favourite garden writer is not published....my old pops....love reading his garden diaries

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Greenleaves View Post
            My favourite garden writer is not published....my old pops....love reading his garden diaries
            Ever thought it might be possible to digitize these, and get them on the Internet ?

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            • #7
              I have considered it but all hand written and not the easiest to decipher, plus there are increadably personal to me
              Last edited by Greenleaves; 30-03-2018, 06:18 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by rary View Post
                The book that I enjoyed reading and would recommend is The Self Sufficient Gardener by John Seymour, for some reason being able to produce things relatively cheap appeals to me.
                My first gardening book was the Complete Food Garden by John Seymour. I still return to it first if I want to look up how to deal with a crop I haven't grown before.

                I also regularly use several of the series of books by Dr D G Hessayon and for sheer practical helpfulness, Charles Dowding's Gardening Myths and Misconceptions.
                A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Greenleaves View Post
                  I have considered it but all hand written and not the easiest to decipher, plus there are increadably personal to me
                  There's some pretty good digital cameras around now - be a good idea to make copies you can pass to relatives, even if for understandable personal reasons you decide not to put them out for public viewing.

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                  • #10
                    I too have more than I need, The Vegetable Expert by Dr DG Hessayon is one I use a lot along with anything the late Geoff Hamilton wrote.
                    If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.

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                    • #11
                      Any chance this thread could be a sticky for new gardeners looking for recommended material?
                      Last edited by Snoop Puss; 30-03-2018, 07:41 PM.
                      Living in north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by burnie View Post
                        I too have more than I need, The Vegetable Expert by Dr DG Hessayon is one I use a lot along with anything the late Geoff Hamilton wrote.
                        Oops, I forgot Geoff Hamilton His Ornamental Kitchen Garden is a fabulous book that I would not be without.
                        A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy

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                        • #13
                          I borrowed Charles Dowding's Vegetable Course from the library, twice. It's an excellent read.

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                          • #14
                            For the last few days Iíve been thinking about posting this very thread; so happy someone did this! I have ďAllotment: month by monthĒ by Alan Buckingham. Iím a complete beginner (just starting now), so I like the fact it tells me what I should be doing each month. The last third of the book gives me basic information on how to grow different crops and some information about pests and diseases.

                            What it doesnít do is:
                            (1) tell me which fertilisers plants need, e.g. high nitrogen for leafy veg;
                            (2) give enough information on specific veg, e.g. Brussels sprouts need to be in firm soil to avoid wind rock and loose buttons; and
                            (3) tell me anything about propagation, and leggy seedlings.

                            I do have another book, I believe by the RHS regarding container growing. But itís not been unpacked yet and Iíve no clue where it is.
                            Last edited by mysteryduck; 30-03-2018, 09:03 PM.

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                            • #15
                              I've got the Joy Larkcom one. Actually, I have her Creative Vegetable Gardening one as well, which is prettier, but has less information.

                              The book I find myself coming back to most though, is a '77 Reader's Digest 'Food From Your Garden' book. I got it free, as unsaleable, in a charity bookshop I worked in, but it's remarkably comprehensive, not only including stuff like how many seeds to sow, ground preparation, cooking tips, but it has plants like cardoons and scorzonera. And, importantly, it assumes you don't want to spend a lot

                              It is a bit outdated in some ways, but it's a good 'ol standby for traditional techniques.
                              My spiffy new lottie blog

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