A Good Read and a Useful Tool

There is always too much to read and never enough time to read it.  During winter it is always my intention to make the most of the short, dark days by catching up on my reading.  Gardening books tend to be too large to accompany me on the commute to London; imagine trying to heave the RHS Encycolpedia of Garden Plants out of your bag and on to your lap and you get a picture of quite how absurd it would seem – not to mention adding considerable tonnage to the weight of the bag!

Some of my gardening books ...

Beth Chatto’s Garden Notebook is one of the few exceptions to the rule, being a light and relatively slim hardback; it’s brightening my morning commute no end.  As far as most of the other books are concerned I find that, having failed to plough through them during winter, they sit on the book shelf with their spines a constant reminder of my neglect; I tend to plunge in and out of these at moments of need, searching desperately for the essential nugget of information that will assist me in pruning, propagating, preparing and planting (and p words I’ve missed???).

… and some more.

Beyond reading, I’ve also been on a quest to find a supplier of Lathyrus vernus ‘Alboroseus’.  I was just entering the name into search engines to see what came up but I then popped on to the RHS website and found the Plant Finder tool.  I found this to be a really easy to use tool, I just entered the search criteria and was presented with a list of nurseries in my local area that stock the plant. Happy days indeed!


4 responses to this post.

  1. I do like to have a nosey at someone else’s book collection, even if it is only a photo. Though it’s very frustrating not being able to take down and leaf through things of interest.

    I use Monty’s The Complete Gardener (though I have to say it isn’t anywhere near!) quite a lot and I very much enjoyed his Ivington Diaries. I don’t know Matthew Wilson at all but The Well -Tempered Garden is a favourite, as is anything by Christopher Lloyd, and yes, I’ve read and enjoyed Beth Chatto’s ‘Notebook too and would recommend Vita Sackville-West’s Garden Book if you’re a fan of Sissinghurst (and indeed if you’re not). I also stumbled upon Margery Fish and her We Made a Garden and would love to visit her garden which has just been bought by new owners. Haven’t read any Sarah Raven but I was subscribed to her website. However I got irritated by the prices – so left. Her garden at Perch Hill is a worth a visit (though the cake portions are frankly stingey!).

    You’re really made me want to scramble up into the loft to retrieve the majority of my gardening books. But I think they’re safer up there for the time being, until the dust settles!

    Hope you enjoyed Cambridge and Ely – the latter is, I think, my favourite cathedral.


    • The Sarah Raven book is very good, she really enourages the use of big bold colours and I’ve found it a great inspiration. I know what you mean though about her website; the products are expensive but I have bought some interesting seeds through her company that I’ve not found elsewhere.

      I’ll have a look at the books you recommend (we love Sissinghurst, go a few times a year to enjoy all the different aspects as they grow and change, so I think I’ll pick up Vita Sackville West’s books next); it’s always good to get new recommendations. I hope you’re able to get your books down soon as there is nothing better than shelves full of books.

      Cambridge and Ely were enjoyable; the cathedral at Ely is stunning but I find it hard to pick my favourite. I’ve always found Salisbury cathedral to be very impressive but there are still cathedrals that I haven’t yet seen.


  2. Not sure if it is taboo to comment on ‘older’ posts, but on the subject of good books on gardening, I have one that I always turn to. ‘Dream Plants for the Natural Garden’ – Piet Oudolf and Henk Gerritsen. Don’t worry about the latter author’s name, it is unpronounceable, but my goodness did they produce a great guide to all things plants. My favourite section is ‘Tough plants’, many of which can be found in our borders!


  3. Hi Petra, thanks for the reading suggestion, I’ll look it up. I welcome comments on any post, old or new, so feel free to do so anytime. Jason.


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