Our critic selects her pick of this year's best gardening books

Go WILD in the garden! Our critic selects her pick of this year’s best books for nature lovers

  • Constance Craig Smith rounded up this year’s best gardening books
  • Jane Moore has penned a book about making your garden a magnet for wildlife
  • Marianne Willburn shared advice for an exotic garden without a greenhouse
  • RHS: HOW TO GROW PLANTS FROM SEEDS by Sophie Collins and Melissa Mabbitt (Mitchell Beazley £12.99, 144 pp)

    RHS: HOW TO GROW PLANTS FROM SEEDS by Sophie Collins and Melissa Mabbitt (Mitchell Beazley £12.99, 144 pp)

    GARDENING

    RHS: HOW TO GROW PLANTS FROM SEEDS

    by Sophie Collins and Melissa Mabbitt (Mitchell Beazley £12.99, 144 pp)

    This small but comprehensive guide on how to fill your garden with plants grown from scratch, describes watching seeds grow as ‘everyday magic’.

    Covering flowers, vegetables and herbs, there’s sound advice on seed-sowing techniques, the most effective way to protect seedlings from slugs, making biodegradable pots and collecting seeds.

    TROPICAL PLANTS AND HOW TO LOVE THEM

    by Marianne Willburn (Cool Springs £20, 208 pp)

    Tropical plants such as bananas, cannas, dahlias and ginger lilies are all the rage at the moment. But how can you create an exotic garden without a greenhouse in which to cosset your plants through winter? This engaging book shows how, and has excellent advice for anyone wanting to bring a tropical vibe to their garden.

    BUCKINGHAM PALACE: A ROYAL GARDEN by Claire Masset (Royal Collection £16.95, 120 pp)

    BUCKINGHAM PALACE: A ROYAL GARDEN by Claire Masset (Royal Collection £16.95, 120 pp)

    BUCKINGHAM PALACE: A ROYAL GARDEN

    by Claire Masset (Royal Collection £16.95, 120 pp)

    The 39-acre garden at Buckingham Palace, the largest private garden in London, has a fascinating history that reflects the monarchs who have lived there.

    Vandag, the garden is a biodiversity hotspot, home to rare orchids, beehives and more than 50 varieties of birds, and holds the National Collection of mulberries. This superbly photographed book brings the garden and its story to life.

    PLANTING FOR WILDLIFE

    by Jane Moore (Quadrille £12, 144 pp)

    The encouraging message of this book is you don’t need to make huge changes to make your garden a magnet for wildlife. Jam-packed with tips on planting for birds and insects, and why being an untidy gardener is a virtue, it puts its message across with enthusiasm. A treasure trove of information for anyone who wants to make their garden more wildlife-friendly.

    THE JUNGLE GARDEN by Philip Oostenbrink (Filbert £25, 224 pp)

    THE JUNGLE GARDEN by Philip Oostenbrink (Filbert £25, 224 pp)

    THE JUNGLE GARDEN

    by Philip Oostenbrink (Filbert £25, 224 pp)

    In most gardens, foliage takes second place to flowers, yet foliage plants, especially those with large, luxuriant leaves, can be used to dramatic effect.

    Oostenbrink, former head gardener at Canterbury cathedral, demonstrates how jungly foliage can make outdoor space look spectacular all year round. This book could change the way you garden.

    THE COMPLETE GARDENER

    by Monty Don (Dorling Kindersley £27, 448 pp)

    This extensively updated version of Monty Don’s 2003 book reflects our much greater understanding of the importance of nurturing and encouraging wildlife.

    Fans of BBC Gardeners’ World will also get an insight into how his garden at Longmeadow has evolved. The book is full of sound practical advice and anecdotes from the country’s most admired gardener.

    A YEAR FULL OF FLOWERS by Sarah Raven (Bloomsbury £25, 384 pp)

    A YEAR FULL OF FLOWERS by Sarah Raven (Bloomsbury £25, 384 pp)

    A YEAR FULL OF FLOWERS

    by Sarah Raven (Bloomsbury £25, 384 pp)

    Who hasn’t dreamed of a garden filled year-round with flowers? In this account of 12 months in her Sussex garden, Sarah Raven reveals how to achieve ‘waves of colour’ even in the depths of winter, using plants that are mostly unchallenging to grow and often raised from seed. The photographs are wonderful.

    LILIES

    by Naomi Slade (Pavilion £25, 240 pp)

    Long regarded as a symbol of purity and of mourning, lilies are among the most beautiful and fragrant of flowers. This lavishly illustrated book profiles more than 50 of the best varieties, from pure white Casa Blanca and apricot African Queen to pink Sorbonne and dark red Mascara. They may look exotic but lilies are easy to grow, even in containers.

    THE NATIONAL TRUST SCHOOL OF GARDENING

    by Rebecca Bevan (National Trust £20, 272 pp)

    THE FLOWER YARD by Arthur Parkinson (Kyle £22, 208 pp)

    THE FLOWER YARD by Arthur Parkinson (Kyle £22, 208 pp)

    Drawing on the knowledge of the National Trust’s 500 professional gardeners, this comprehensive guide covers flower borders, lawns, shrubs and trees, fruit and vegetables, growing under glass and sustainable gardening. A useful book for anyone wanting to increase their gardening know-how.

    THE FLOWER YARD

    by Arthur Parkinson (Kyle £22, 208 pp)

    Aimed at people who garden in the smallest of spaces, this draws heavily on the author’s own tiny garden, which is crammed with flower-filled containers.

    Moving through the seasons, he explains how to plant for maximum effect, from spring pots of tulips and wallflowers to towering containers of dahlias, sunflowers and gladioli in late summer.

    To buy any book on these pages vir 10% discount visit www. mailshop.co.uk/Christmas or bel 020 3176 2937

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