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I have been searching for great gardening books (also garden design etc., anything goes) but there are so many available and I don't know what to buy and what are the must-have books.

I've already ordered The essential garden book and I'm thinking of buying RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants next but I want more!

What do you recommend?

They're good reference books but I enjoy all of Christopher lloyds books.  They make a good "read" ...he has a style of his own that makes for compulsive reading.  Not too keen on books by the tv presenters etc though

I work in a charity shop where you can buy very cheap gardening books.  Worth a look.


The RHS encyclopedias  are good. If you can find an old readers digest encyclopedia of gardening thats good too. 

If you have plenty of time on cold winter nights, then the history of gardening, from William Robinson, to Gertrude Jekyll, to Marjory Fish, Vita Sackville West, anything by Beth Chatto, Christopher LLoyd. I also enjoyed the books by the plant hunters like Frank Kingdom  Ward,  Roy Lancaster 's book of Travels in China.

 The DVD set by Geoff Hamilton is still available, if you want basic gardening techniques. 

If you join the RHS you get a magazine every month which I keep  for reference. You can also take part in the seed distribution each year, which can throw up some rarities for you to try.


Just returned from holiday and my reading was Christopher Lloyds A Well-tempered Grden and one on clematis. Very readable, amusing yet you learn a lot. Only available 2nd hand. Mine were from Amazon



For design advice I can recommend the RHS book The Garden Designer by Robin Williams - (no not that one!) and Gardens through the Ages by Sir Roy Strong and anything by John Brookes. Depends also on the type of garden you prefer but the basic principles are really the same on design whether it's contemporary or traditional anyway. For me, anything referring to Ned Lutyens work would be a must have as I think he's a master of the scale and proportion of hard landscaping. For general plant reference the RHS books are hard to beat and I also have an excellent Reader's Digest book called the New Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and Flowers which is very informative.

flowering rose

readers digest gardening book (a very thick hard back) is surprisingly good and easy to refer to,may not be able to get it now except in second hand shop but it is very good for the beginner.


I use he Readers Digest Gardennig Year as a good basic reference point of what needs to be done then use other sources to find out more

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