Gardening Books: Elly West’s Top Picks

If you’re looking for Christmas presents for green-fingered loved-ones, or an excuse to curl up indoors
with a good read, choose from these new books full of gardening inspiration.

RHS Garden Almanac 2024
Frances Lincoln | £14.99

Everybody needs a gardening almanac and although the idea is not new, this is the first one published by the Royal Horticultural Society. The logic and order to each chapter is also appealing – every month features a what-to-do guide, practical projects ranging from building a terrarium to creating a winter wreath, tables of information showing sunrise, sunset, moon times and phases and average rainfall, plus timely information about the edible garden, a recipe, wildlife to look out for, and challenges, such as prevalent pests and diseases. A practical guide, but also a beautiful gift.

The Winter Garden
by Naomi Slade
Dorling Kindersley | £25

Ignoring the garden in winter is not an option for garden journalist Naomi Slade, who thoroughly and convincingly sets out to demonstrate the multiple delights to be found during these quieter months. This is a book that is easy to dip in and out of – take time to enjoy the detail and you’ll never look at your garden in winter the same way again.

Resilient Garden
by Tom Massey
Dorling Kinderley | £27

Multi-award-winning garden designer Tom Massey provides a guide to future-proofing our gardens against climate change and the problems it poses, such as summer drought, winter waterlogging, high winds, erratic frosts and frequent pests. It’s a call-to-action combined with an instruction manual, full of ideas and projects that can help to make any outdoor space more resilient, backed up by plenty of research, facts and stats.

Secret Gardens of Somerset by Abigail Willis
Frances Lincoln | £22

This beautifully photographed coffee-table book is the perfect guide for those who love visiting gardens. Most are privately owned yet open to the public some of the year, from a large working farm garden to personal private retreats. Somerset has a rich history of fine gardens, with its varied landscape and mild climate. This is definitely a book that makes you want to get out and about.

What Makes a Garden
by Jinny Blom
Frances Lincoln | £35

Jimmy Blom’s approach to garden-making is split into three sections: Humanity, Alchemy, and Time. The book defines a garden as a space civilised by humans, as well as concentrating on the physical elements of the garden, and the ways in which seasonal changes may influence its development over time. It’s a coffee-table book for flicking through, but delve further and it’s also a really good read.

How Plants Can Save Your Life
by Dr Ross Cameron
Greenfinch | £25

The book contains 50 ideas to encourage us to engage with plants and gardens, with separate sections explaining the associated benefits, such as healthy eating, exercise and stress reduction. This would make a great gift for newbies to gardening, and can be picked up and put down as needed. More a source of inspiration than a detailed how-to guide.