The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies. Gertrude Jekyll

Annie's Little Plot

Annie's Little Plot

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Books, Books Books.

Wild windy weather has returned to Huddersfield today, its been very windy with frequent showers. A day when even I'd prefer to be indoors. Although I love gardening I actually quite enjoy the lull that you get in winter, I definitely go into a type of hibernation. Its a time to recharge your batteries and to reflect and plan your garden/plot for next year. Over the winter my fellow garden bloggers have been writing about things they do to keep busy when we can't be where we'd most like to be, out in the garden. There have been posts on soup making, baking, crafts, seed catalogue studying, allotment planning and lawn lounging! It seems some of us relish a bit of downtime from gardening, though whether we'll still be saying the same thing in February I'm not sure!
For me its a time to catch up on reading. I've been sorting out my gardening books, if I can't do any gardening I can still read about it, so this is the time of year when I go back to some of my old favourites.
 I've just realised how many I have, from kitchen garden books, organic gardening, cut flowers, garden design,  you name it I have it. My favourites though, are those written about a persons garden experiences, such as Mirabel Osler's 'A gentle plea for chaos' and Beth Chatto's 'Garden notebook' but here are my two of my favourites. Elizabeth von Arnim 'Elizabeth and her German garden' which I reread frequently. I love her wit and passionate descriptions of her garden. She also wrote one of my favourite novels 'The Enchanted April', for any one who loves Springtime and Italy, the descriptions are enough to make your mouth water.
But the one book that I've read so many times its now falling apart and has so many pages marked for reference is by Elspeth Thompson 'Urban Gardener' which is in diary form and was about her garden in the centre of London and her allotment. I love it, its what inspired me to get my first allotment years ago and gave me loads of hints and tips about growing in a small space. I was heartbroken when I heard that she had died at the very young age of 48 after a struggle with depression. She was such an inspiring woman to me.
I've recently been buying a few gardening classics, I read Vita Sackville West's 'In Your Garden' which is a collection of her newspaper column articles that she wrote for the Observer. Her descriptions of her gardens are legendary and her gardening knowledge so extensive its scary. I need to go to Sissinghurst to visit very soon. She'd have been an amazing blogger!
On my holiday last September I found a brilliant book shop in Lyme Regis where they sold a few great gardening books, I bought Eleanor Perenyi 'Green Thoughts', Gertrude Jekyll 'Colour schemes for the flower garden' and Margery Fish 'Cottage Garden Flowers'. I didn't realise until it was too late that when we were on holiday in Dorset, we were near Margery Fish's famous garden East Lambook Manor, Somerset. We want to go back next year so that will be on the itinery. Anyway these books will while away the winter months for me.
For practical gardening books I love Carol Klein, Alys Fowler, Sarah Raven and of course Alan Titchmarsh. I have noticed that there aren't too many male gardeners in my list of favourites, I do enjoy reading Monty Don and Christopher Lloyd but I seem to veer to ones written by women. For Christmas I got Monty Don's 'Ivington diaries' and Carol Klein's 'Life in a Cottage Garden' both of which are also in diary form and are easy to dip in and out of.
Anyway my armchair is calling I'm off to do some reading.


  1. Lovely post. I spotted some of my favourite books on your shelves. I love Philippa Forester's book The River and am I big fan of Elspeth Thompson's books. I too was massively inspired by her and was incredibly sad to hear of her death. I haven't actually read her books since maybe I should dig them out. I also love anything by Alan, Monty, Sarah and Carol. I'm hoping to get to Sissinghurst this year too. Happy reading. Hope the weather is better soon.

  2. I have quite a few of the books you mentioned and am always adding to my collection - I have only seen the film Enchanted April but the book is definitely on my list - I also have Mirabel Oslers books waiting to be read. There just doesn't seem to be enough reading time to fit everything in.

  3. As Welly' says a lovely post! I'm a lifelong book buff but don't actually keep too many books. My favourite gardening book is The Natural Gardener by Val Bourne and I'm presently enjoying Our Plot by Cleve West. Flighty xx