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15 of the best gardening books

The BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine and GardenersWorld.com teams share their favourite gardening books.

Whether you’re looking for inspiration or want practical advice for the vegetable plot, there’s a gardening book out there for you. But with so many books to choose from, how do you find the right one?

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To give you a nudge in the right direction, the BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine and GardenersWorld.com teams have recommended their favourite gardening books. Below, you’ll find books to help you grow cut flowers, vegetables, herbs and exotic edibles. There’s advice for beginners and experienced gardeners alike, thoughtful reflections on gardening, and a few coffee table books we think would make fantastic gardening gifts.

If you’re looking for somewhere to put your feet up and dive into your new gardening book, we’ve rounded up the best garden hammocks, best deck chairs and other garden seating ideas.


15 of the best gardening books

Browse our pick of the best gardening books below:

1

The Gardeners’ World Almanac: A month-by-month guide to your gardening year

The Gardeners’ World Almanac: A month-by-month guide to your gardening year - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
The Gardeners’ World Almanac: A month-by-month guide to your gardening year

Organised by month, this book is an indispensable guide. It includes lists, monthly reminders, recipes, step-by-step guides, expert instruction for year round gardening as well as essential advice on what to plant when, all contributed by Gardeners’ World favourites like Monty Don, Carol Klein, and Adam Frost.

Price: £16.99

Buy The Gardeners’ World Almanac from Bookshop.org

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2

Grow Your Own Vegetables by Joy Larkom

Best gardening books - Grow Your Own Vegetables
Grow Your Own Vegetables by Joy Larkom

This classic vegetable growing guide covers more than 100 vegetables and all aspects of growing them, from preparing the soil to pests and diseases. This updated and expanded edition of the illustrated handbook contains everything you need to know for a successful veg plot.

“Brilliant for everyone who loves growing their own food, whether for the first time or the hundredth, it’s full of practical information,” says Reviews Editor, Kay Maguire.

Price: £20.31

Buy Grow Your Own Vegetables on Amazon


3

The Garden Book, Revised and Updated Edition

The Garden Book, Revised and Updated Edition -BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
The Garden Book, Revised and Updated Edition

This coffee-table book from Phaidon is great for inspiring the gardeners in your life. An A-Z look at 500 different gardens, it includes full colour images of the creations of Capability Brown, Antoni Gaudí, Gertrude Jekyll, and many more.

Price: £39

Buy The Garden Book, Revised and Updated Edition from Phaidon


4

A Pocketful of Herbs: An A-Z by Jekka McVicar

Best gardening books - A Pocketful of Herbs
A Pocketful of Herbs: An A-Z by Jekka McVicar

Dubbed the Queen of Herbs, Jekka McVicar is the undisputed authority on herbs. Winner of 62 RHS medals for her herb displays at flower shows, her herb farm stocks more than 400 different varieties. In short, there’s nothing Jekka doesn’t know about herbs. In this compact book, Jekka uses her years of experience to provide practical growing advice for a huge range of herbs, as well as ways to use herbs in cooking and explaining the medicinal qualities of many of the plants.

“This is the perfect companion to have when out and about in the garden. It not only explains the conditions each plant needs to be grown well, but also recommends how you can use herbs for food and wellbeing. Keys throughout make the book a quick and easy reference guide” says Editorial and Content Assistant, Miranda Janatka.

Price: £8.99

Buy Jekka’s Complete Herb Book on Amazon


5

The Forager’s Calendar, by John Wright

The Forager's Calendar, by John Wright - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
The Forager’s Calendar, by John Wright

Both foodies and growers will love this guide from River Cottage’s forager, John Wright, who shows how to find delicious – and free – treats to eat beyond the vegetable patch. From the best berries, mushrooms, and even tree saps, it’s packed with year-round inspiration.

Price: £9.50

Buy The Forager’s Calendar on Amazon


6

New Vegetable Garden Techniques: Essential skills and projects for tastier, healthier crops by Joyce Russell

Best gardening books - New Vegetable Garden Techniques
New Vegetable Garden Techniques: Essential skills and projects for tastier, healthier crops by Joyce Russell

This title promises to provide practical information and tips for gardeners in any situation, from small back yards to expansive allotments. Chosen by Picture Editor Sarah Edwards, she recommends this book for both gardening beginners and those looking to boost their skills and knowledge.

“This is a brilliant, practical guide to growing veg organically, from seed sowing right through to storing and preserving,” she says. “The projects are really helpful and I loved the comfrey fertilizer press and the step by steps showing you how to string onions and garlic.”

Price: £14.99

Buy New Vegetable Garden Techniques on Amazon


7

A Garden Eden – Masterpieces of Botanical Illustration by H. Walter Lack

A Garden Eden - Masterpieces of Botanical Illustration by H. Walter Lack - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
A Garden Eden – Masterpieces of Botanical Illustration by H. Walter Lack

Written by a professor of the history of biology, this coffee-table book from Taschen features hundreds of botanical illustrations from across the centuries and continents. In English, French, and German, this trilingual book makes an artful gift for gardeners.

Price: £50

Buy A Garden Eden – Masterpieces of Botanical Illustration from Taschen


8

The Dry Garden by Beth Chatto

Best gardening books - The Dry Garden
The Dry Garden by Beth Chatto

The renowned plantswoman revolutionised our thinking on how to choose and grow plants, with her mantra of ‘Right plant, right place.’ Here she wrote about drought-tolerant plants, and how to work with the natural conditions of your garden to ensure they thrive.

“I live in a really dry corner of Essex – in fact, not far from Beth Chatto’s famous Dry Garden – and this book has been invaluable in understanding my garden and the plants that will thrive in it,” says Deputy Editor Kevin Smith. “It’s beautifully written too, making it both enjoyable and useful. I wouldn’t be without it.”

Price: £8.19

Buy on The Dry Garden on Amazon


9

RHS How Do Worms Work: A Gardener’s Collection of Curious Questions and Astonishing Answers by Guy Barter

Best gardening books - How Do Worms Work?
RHS How Do Worms Work: A Gardener’s Collection of Curious Questions and Astonishing Answers by Guy Barter

Written by the head of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Advisory Service, this book answers all your curious questions as well as providing practical gardening advice.

“A beautifully written Question and Answer-style book that resolves many common gardening conundrums in a very easy-to-read way,” says Gardening Editor Emma Crawforth.

Price: £9

Buy RHS How Do Worms Work on Amazon


10

Dream Plants for the Natural Garden by Piet Oudolf and Henk Gerritsen

Best Gardening Books - Dream Plants for the Natural Garden
Dream Plants for the Natural Garden by Piet Oudolf and Henk Gerritsen

This beautiful book is packed full of photos, and written by two highly influential garden designers – Piet Oudolf and Henk Gerritsen. In it they describe 1,200 perennials, bulbs, grasses and shrubs that typify their signature natural gardening style. They explain how to use the plants in a garden, and how to grow and care for them – all without chemicals.

“I bought this book immediately after visiting the High Line garden in New York and it’s always a pleasure to open it up and get lost once again in Piet Oudolf’s effortless planting schemes. Both authors write with real passion about their love for prairie plants and it’s a never ending source of inspiration.” says Features Editor Adam Duxbury.

Price: £13.99

Buy Dream Plants for the Natural Garden


11

Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild by Lucy Jones

Best gardening books - Losing Eden
Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild by Lucy Jones

In Losing Eden, journalist Lucy Jones explores the human biology, neuroscience and psychology behind our connection with the Earth on a geographical journey, from forest schools in London to primeval woodlands in Poland. This title was chosen by Wildlife Editor, Kate Bradbury.

“Lucy meticulously explores the role nature plays in our lives, and explains how we need nature and gardening, and how it aids out mental health,” says Kate. “This is an important book for our times, and one I know I’ll keep referring back to, in years to come.”

Price: £15.37

Buy Losing Eden on Amazon


12

The Well-Gardened Mind: Rediscovering Nature in the Modern World by Sue Stuart-Smith

Best gardening books - The Well-Gardened Mind
The Well-Gardened Mind: Rediscovering Nature in the Modern World by Sue Stuart-Smith

This book explores the benefits of gardening for our mental health and wellbeing. Psychiatrist and psychotherapist Sue Stuart-Smith explores case-studies ranging from prisoners to the elderly, vulnerable young people and war veterans – including her own grandfather following his return from World War II.

This book offers practical tips for the garden and the mind. Chosen by Editor Lucy Hall.

Price: £11

Buy A Well-Gardened Mind on Amazon


13

The Cut Flower Patch: Grow your own cut flowers all year round by Louise Curley

Best gardening books - The Cut Flower Patch
The Cut Flower Patch: Grow your own cut flowers all year round by Louise Curley

This practical book explains how to grow more than 100 plants so you can produce beautiful cut flowers from your own garden and create stylish floral displays. It cover seeds, bulbs, perennials and shrubs to give you flowers for cutting from early spring until late autumn.

“If you’ve ever wanted to have a go at growing cut flowers, but worried that it would be too difficult or that you didn’t have enough space, this book is for you. Inspiring and full of easy-to-follow practical advice, it makes growing cut flowers feel achievable in any garden. And the gorgeous photos are a treat to flick through on dull days,” says GardenersWorld.com Deputy Editor Cat Mansley.

Price: £17.79

Buy The Cut Flower Patch on Amazon


14

RHS How to Garden the Low-Carbon Way: The Steps You Can Take to Help Combat Climate Change, by Sally Nex

RHS How to Garden the Low-Carbon Way: The Steps You Can Take to Help Combat Climate Change, by Sally Nex- BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
RHS How to Garden the Low-Carbon Way: The Steps You Can Take to Help Combat Climate Change, by Sally Nex

Essential reading for the eco-warriors, the RHS latest offering is a helpful, step-by-step guide to gardening sustainably. Recognising it can be tricky to create a low-carbon garden, this book is filled with practical advice and tips to get started.

Price: £6.49

Buy RHS How to Garden the Low-Carbon Way on Amazon


15

Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman

Best gardening books - Modern Nature
Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman

Not a ‘gardening book’ in the conventional sense, Modern Nature is an extraordinary snapshot of Derek Jarman’s life in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The diary captures the sheer breadth of Jarman’s activity – film-making, painting, writing and gardening – as he shuttles back and forth between a small flat on the Charing Cross Road and Prospect Cottage, his home at Dungeness.

“Gossipy details of day-to-day life alternate with harrowing accounts of hospital visits (Jarman was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1986) and vivid descriptions of his battle to raise plants on the exposed shingle of the Kent coast. He was a wonderful diarist and this is an inspiring account of a productive life, well lived” says GardenersWorld.com editor, Daniel Haynes.

Price: £8.15

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Buy Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman on Amazon