If you’re new to gardening, there are thousands of books you can rely on to teach you everything you need to know; but where do you start? Here at Garden Answers we’ve narrowed your search and found 10 of the best books for gardeners; our selection is ideal for newcomers to gardening but also with hidden gems for those who’ve been gardening for years.
From inspirational garden designs to how to take cuttings and sow seeds, our picks of the best books for gardeners will make a great gift for birthdays or Christmas, or just to buy yourself to learn more about your new hobby.
Gardening Hacks by Dan Marshall
This pocketsize paperback is full of time-saving hints and tips. From using a funnel as a tangle-free string dispenser to germinating seedlings on top of the fridge, it’s a mine of useful gardening ideas. The tips are organized into 16 gardening categories including weeding, pest-control and lawn care. Some of the best revolve around easy DIY projects using everyday household items, such as how to make a DIY soil test kit with vinegar and baking soda, a milk bottle watering can and an ingenious way to keep your hands clean at the garden tap using soap and a pair of tights.
For newbies, this is a godsend.
Mini Meadows by Mike Lizotte
This colourful paperback is a real treat for anyone looking to sow their own meadow. Nicknamed ‘The Seed Man’ at age 18, American author Mike Lizotte is a seed merchant and passionate meadow maker with 27 years’ experience. His book is full of ideas and encouragement, taking you right from planning a mini meadow through to assessing the site and soil and how to smother existing grass. Useful plant lists come with a guide explaining how to calculate how much seed you’ll need per square foot.
There are helpful sections on sowing and how to manage your meadow in autumn, year two and beyond.
Crops in Tight Spots by Alex Mitchell
Small-space gardeners hankering for the chance to grow fruit and veg will love this book. Author Alex Mitchell explores the practical aspects of growing edibles on a small scale, whether it be a courtyard, rooftop, balcony, tiny veg patch or indoor windowsill. Chapter by chapter, she reveals her favourite tried and tested crops – from salads and herbs to aubergines and samphire – for each challenging space. Projects include growing mushrooms under the bed and creating a tin can trellis.
A beautifully presented reference book, it’s encouraging, informative and full of delicious ideas to try. It also proves we all have space to grow a handful of tasty crops, no matter how miniscule our garden.
Garden Answers magazine
7 Issues for £24.99, greatmagazines.co.uk
An essential read for all gardeners, whether you’re new to the hobby or have been green-fingered for years. Garden Answers is the inspirational gardening magazine that offers you planting ideas and practical advice to make the most of your garden. Each month the mag celebrates seasonal plants and achievable border schemes, feature beautiful reader gardens and 'cash clever' projects.
We make gardening easy by helping you stay on top of the main chores and answer all your gardening questions about shrubs, perennials, weeds and pests etc. Every issue is packed with ideas to try at home to help you discover your garden's true potential.
Subscribe today, whether it’s for yourself or a loved one.
Vegetable Gardening Wisdom by Kelly Smith Trimble
For those gardeners who didn’t enjoy the kindly mentoring of a gardening grandparent on their allotment, this little paperback is a mine of sage advice. Keep it in the potting shed or greenhouse for quiet moments of rumination.
Presented as a series of pithy quotes from experts, the book is one you can dip into at any page for ideas, observations and practical tips such as how to get celery to re-sprout and how ‘burpless’ cucumbers get their name.
You’ll have to forgive the odd Americanism (eg ladybug, eggplant); this doesn’t interfere with the book’s usefulness. And, in spite of its fragmented, bite-sized presentation, it’s actually a fascinating and very readable book.
The Climate Change Garden by Sally Morgan and Kim Stoddart
Any gardener concerned about the impact of climate change will be interested to read this very informative paperback. Authors Sally Morgan and Kim Stoddart take each of the major climate change challenges in turn – flooding, heat and drought, storm winds, late frosts and snow – and reveal ways to make your garden more resilient to them. They point out that the challenges bring opportunities too: the chance to grow more tender crops and exotics in the garden, and the use of gravel as a no-mow alternative to grass.
The book explains the value of mulch and compost to beat prolonged dry and wet soil conditions, and design tricks to offset damage wrought by volatile weather. A fascinating read and not too gloomy.
The Ten-Minute Gardener by Val Bourne
Few gardeners have the ability to combine their years of hard-won horticultural knowledge and a talent for writing, but Garden Answers contributor Val Bourne can do just that. This helpful hardback is her eighth book: a month-by-month practical guide to growing your own fruit and veg. if you fancy creating a productive patch at home, Val’s advice is second to none, filled with expertise delivered in a friendly and enthusiastic way. There are plenty of organic pointers based on hard-won experience of beating pests without resorting to chemicals.
Chapters are arranged in monthly order, with illustrations, to-do lists, secrets of success, cultivar advice and more. It’s a super book that’s easy to read and informative.
Pruning Simplified by Steve Bradley
Pruning plants can be a nerve-wracking activity. While some of us are just happy to hard prune everything in the hopes of it miraculously shooting back next spring, others are so cautious they leave plants to outgrow their space and become a congested tangle. Yet done properly, pruning can improve a plant’s health, vigour and appearance, encouraging both flowers and fruit.
In this useful paperback, author Steven Bradley explains exactly how and when to prune 50 of our favourite trees and shrubs, making the distinction between formative, routine and remedial techniques, depending on the age of the plant. Helpful illustrations make this a book you’ll reach for time and again.
RHS Propagating Plants by Alan Toogood
Growing your own plants from seed is such a compelling activity it often leads to other, more ambitious forms of propagation. Whatever your level of expertise, this expertly written beautifully designed hardback makes key propagation techniques clear and achievable, helping to boost your success rate.
Every type of propagation is detailed (grafting, layering, scaling and chipping), with clear step-by-step photos and explanations of how to get the best results. A-Z plant listings include all the popular shrubs, climbers, perennials, annuals and biennials as well as ferns, bulbs, cacti and other succulents.
Excellent DK design means all the info is instantly at your fingertips without having to trawl through reams of dull, bossy text. An indispensable reference book for every propagator’s bookshelf.
The Flower Garden by Clare Foster
Growing flowers from seed is one of the most satisfying aspects of gardening. In this delightful hardback, author Clare Foster explains exactly how it’s done, in terms that are easy to understand.
Chapters take you from choosing flowers to sowing and growing them, and finally how to use your flowers.
Each of the plant profiles is filled with useful information about their preferences and peccadilloes, explaining how to get the best results from every seed sown. It offers advice and encouragement for gardeners about to create their own cut-flower patch.
On every spread, exquisite photos by Sabrina Rüber bring the flowers to life. It’s an absorbing reference work for beginners and intermediates alike.