Gardening books for Christmas gifts 2017

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Here are 5 gardening books on my Christmas List this year

I always put gardening books on my Christmas list. They’re the perfect gift for me, and for all gardeners. At this time of year, when the sun hasn’t come up when I go to work and has long since set before I leave for home, the opportunities for gardening become squeezed. With a book, you can visit other gardens, learn new techniques, and improve your own skills whilst the winter garden rests untended outside.

As the proud owner of a gardening bookshelf that dwarfs our local bookshop’s offerings, you’d think I wouldn’t have space for any more titles. You’d be wrong. We’re building a new bookcase next year and there are so many books I’ve come across this year that I’ve made a gardening books Christmas List.

Previous Christmas gardening books wishlists

Gardening books for Christmas gifts 2016

8 Books for my gardening bookshelf Christmas 2015

Epic Tomatoes

by Craig LeHoullier

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I’ve learnt about my namesake Craig LeHoullier from Jennifer Ebeling‘s (6ft mama) podcast – Still Growing. I’ve been listening and interacting with Jennifer for over a year now and I really like her interviews with interesting people. Craig has a wealth of experience growing tomatoes and is particularly involved in finding and breeding heirloom varieties that are in danger of being lost. Most importantly he’s clear on the merits of a tomato for different uses in the kitchen as well as ease of growing. I’m hoping to find a robust outdoor bush tomato to use the space on my allotment.

The Garden Photography Workshop

by Andrea Jones 
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I heard about this book listening to Andrea on Peter Donegan’s Sod Show Podcast this year. I really like photography and I occasionally take to my garden with SLR in hand. It would be great to improve my amateur skills.

The Thoughtful Gardener

by Jinny Blom

This book on garden design has had some strong reviews so I’m keen to see what it’s like. I’m a big fan of Jinny Blom’s planting and it would be good to see how she plans, and implements, her designs.

RHS Genealogy for Gardeners

by Simon Maughan and Ross Bayton

I have the two other books in this RHS series of plant geekery. Latin for Gardeners was released in 2012, with Botany for Gardeners following in 2013. These small, beautifully illustrated, handbooks are the perfect thing for plant nerds to get a better understanding of the science and history of gardening. I’m hoping that Genealogy for Gardeners will be just as good.

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Tender – Volumes I & II

by Nigel Slater

Now I know that, technically, this isn’t a gardening book. I’d say it’s gardening adjacent. I’ve had my allotment since April and I’m hoping for big things next year. The whole point of the allotment was to provide some fresh, seasonal food for us to cook and eat. I’ve mastered my sauteed Cavelo Nero with garlic and it’s become a staple in the weekly meal plan. I’d like to do more with what I grow and I’ve read some amazing reviews of these two books.
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Totnes Seed Swap 2014 : Results

Totnes Seed Swap

My experience of attending a seed swap for the first time

The Totnes Seed Swap took place yesterday. I took along a combination or edible and ornamental seeds as I wasn’t sure what would be needed having never been to this, or any, seed swap before. The cat kindly helped me choose and package up my offerings. I took some unwanted and surplus Aquilegia, Chinese Lantern, Astrantia and Armeria seeds for the ornamental table. For the edible table I took dwarf French beans, runner beans and peas.

Blue Cat supervising the seed collections for this year
Blue Cat supervising the seed collections for this year

The seed swap itself looked well attended. I arrived a couple of hours after it started and saw plenty of people coming and going still. There was a good selection in both areas. It was nice to see some donated packets from Tamar seeds. I do question the presence of quite a few F1 seeds – I thought the idea was to promote a diverse living gene bank and locally adapted seed strains.

My new additions

I came away with Magnolia stellata, Cleome, Gypsophila, Papaver orientale “beauty of Livermere”, and Orlaya grandiflora. From the edible table I took away a pepper and some lettuce.

Totnes Seed Swap
Totnes Seed Swap haul

Totnes Seed Swap 2014

Totnes Seed Swap 2014

My first time at a Seep Swap

Next Saturday (15th Feb) my local Seed Swap takes place. It’s organised by the Seedy Sisters as part of the Transition Town Totnes project.

I spent the rainy day yesterday catching up on some reading. With the looming budget crisis of the wedding I have had to curb my gardening book addiction. I registered with the local council library service (a very simple and straightforward process now online with the ability to reserve and order books from any Devon library to be delivered to the local branch – when did libraries get so modern?). The smell of the library took me back to primary school when I was registered in my little village branch. I’ve started working my way through my leftover Christmas book wish list.

Yesterday’s entertainment was provided by Sue Stickland and her Back Garden Seed Saving book. Interestingly the copy I had ordered from the library was initially donated to the library by the Transition Town project – the circle of life! It’s got me excited about the concept of local provenance in seed gene banks and locally adapted strains.

I have never been to a seed swap before so I’m very excited. As with most events of this kind the more people who turn up and participate the better I imagine so if you’re in the area follow the links on this page and go along.

 

UPDATE: See how I got on

Totnes Seed Swap 2014: Results