ISSUE 48  |  Anglophilia

Gift Guide: Books for the Garden Lover

December 01, 2015 4:00 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

Does your spouse need one more trowel? Does your city-dwelling friend even have a plot to tend? Who knows. This holiday season give a book instead, to gardeners and garden lovers alike. Here, we’ve compiled a list of eight–all published this year–that caught our attention and earned rave reviews:


Above: The first book we’ll buy for friends is Dutch master Piet Oudolf’s latest, Hummelo: A Journey Through a Plantsman’s Life. It tells the story of Oudolf’s humble start as a designer in a desolate farmhouse with his wife, two young sons, no garden, and little money. Learn how he managed to turn the farmland into one of the most influential gardens of our time; $32.25 at Amazon. 

Above: In The Magical World of Moss Gardening, author Annie Martin extols the virtues of moss: it’s deer-resistant, grows in all climates, and prevents erosion and runoff. The Financial Times chose this as one of its three favorite garden books of the year, writing that Martin’s “survey of moss gardens from Japan to North America should convert even diehard moss-militants.” It is $34.95 for hardcover, $18.84 for paperback at Amazon. 

Above: Bree Claffey of Mr. Kitly–a shop, gallery, and architecture studio in Brunswick, Australia–published Indoor Green: Living with Plants in October of this year. Full of inspiration and not overly styled, the book is widely available in Australia and New Zealand but not yet distributed in the US; contact Mr. Kitly for an international shipping quote. It is AU $49.99 from Mr. Kitly. 

Above: To those interested in the ways plants can heal (and harm), give Phytomedicines, Herbal Drugs, and Poisons. (See our Required Reading review.) Published by Kew Royal Botanic Gardens and edited by two university professors, the book makes for a handy reference guide, and–thanks to a stylish cover–a nice coffee table book; $30.79 on Amazon. 

Above: Learn from the best with the Royal Horticultural Society’s Lessons from Great Gardeners, a compendium of wit and wisdom from 40 of history’s best gardeners, from Claude Monet to Beth Chatto; £9.59 from Amazon UK. (You can buy it from an independent Amazon Seller in the US.)

Above: The Art of Gardening: Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer takes inspiration from one of the most celebrated gardens in America–Chanticleer in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Here, find lessons on landscaping, rare plant picks, and the garden in four seasons; $23.34 on Amazon. 

Above: To lovers of gardens and stories, give A Buzz in the Meadow: The Natural History of a French Farm–conservationist Dave Goulson’s tales of the creatures that inhabit the 33 acres of meadowland on his farm in France; $15.68 in hardcover and $16 in paperback on Amazon.

Above: Another pick for folks who take their science in story form: The Reason for Flowers. Entomologist Stephen Buchmann reminds the reader of everything that flowers give us, from medicine and perfume to joy and inspiration. But humans are not giving back, he argues; as we breed flowers that serve our whims, we reduce nectar and pollen available for bees, butterflies, and bats; $17.33 in hardcover, $13.09 in paperback on Amazon. 

More picks for 2015 garden books: