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Best Books 2017: Holiday Gifts for Gardeners

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Best Books 2017: Holiday Gifts for Gardeners

December 6, 2017

There are two kinds of gardeners on your holiday gift list: (1) the sort who have the gumption to bundle up against winter and head outdoors where trees need pruning and tender plants need burlap blankets; and (2) me.

It is cozy here by the fire. Excuse me while I pour another cup of tea and settle into a good gardening book.

For the armchair gardeners on your holiday gift list, allow me to suggest a few of the books that are vying for my attention this month:

The Hidden Life of Trees

A hardcover copy of The Hidden Life of Trees is $.95 at Guideboat.
Above: A hardcover copy of The Hidden Life of Trees is $24.95 at Guideboat.
Trees have feelings too?

Says our reviewer: “Some of the more surprising newly discovered traits of trees discussed in the book such as the University of Bonn research indicating that trees analyze soil conditions with ‘brain-like’structures in their root tips bear more serious scrutiny,” writes Jeanne Rostaing. “Whether you read this book with a grain of salt or with total acceptance of  author Peter Wohlleben’s thesis that new findings prove that undisturbed woodlands are vital to the future of our planet and matter ‘at a more fundamental level than most of us realize’, you are bound to be impressed by his sensitivity to and passion for trees.”

Read the rest of our review: Required Reading: The Hidden Life of Trees.

Natural Selection: A Year in the Garden

A hardcover copy of Natural Selection: A Year in the Garden is $.80 from Trouva.
Above: A hardcover copy of Natural Selection: A Year in the Garden is $25.80 from Trouva.
Says our reviewer: “For gardeners in England, Dan Pearson is not just a hugely talented landscape and garden designer and plantsman, he’s also a much-loved gardening writer, and for ten years he was a columnist at The Observer,” writes Clare Coulson. This book “is a collection of those Observer columns, ordered by month, and drawing together Pearson’s evocative musings on his favorite plants, his design processes, and his evolution from childhood enthusiast to seasoned professional.”

See the rest of our review at Natural Selection: A Year in the Garden by Dan Pearson.

The Thoughtful Gardener

A hardcover copy of The Thoughtful Gardener by Jinny Blom is $50 at Terrain.
Above: A hardcover copy of The Thoughtful Gardener by Jinny Blom is $50 at Terrain.
“From the quotes and captions alone, this book could make you a better gardener. But the whole package is so persuasively put together, that the skim-reading approach is impossible,” writes our reviewer, Kendra Wilson. “Landscaper Jinny Blom’s long-awaited book is so beautiful that you will not want to rush it.”

Read the rest of the review at Required Reading: The Thoughtful Gardener.

The Humane Gardener

A hardcover copy of The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife is $.88 at Amazon.
Above: A hardcover copy of The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife is $18.88 at Amazon.
“Give Lawson a lot of credit for writing a very important book that everyone with a container gardener to a postage stamp yard to a large piece of property should read,” says The Plain Dealer. “Lawson’s passionate plea to be humane includes practical and low-cost solutions to enable us to cohabit peacefully with wildlife in our yards.”

The Japanese Garden

A hardcover edition of The Japanese Garden is $5 NZD at Everyday Needs (also available for $43.37 on Amazon).
Above: A hardcover edition of The Japanese Garden is $145 NZD at Everyday Needs (also available for $43.37 on Amazon).
Author Sophie Walker’s book is “an in-depth exploration spanning 800 years of the art, essence, and enduring impact of the Japanese garden,” says publisher Phaidon Press. The 305-page book also includes a glossary of Japanese plants.

The Problem with My Garden

A softcover copy of The Problem with My Garden is $.78 on Amazon (also available in the UK as My Garden is a Car Park and Other Design Dilemmas; £9.09 from Amazon UK).
Above: A softcover copy of The Problem with My Garden is $13.78 on Amazon (also available in the UK as My Garden is a Car Park and Other Design Dilemmas; £9.09 from Amazon UK).
A brilliantly written and very comforting guide to solving everyday problems in everyone’s garden, this book by our long-time UK contributor Kendra Wilson has become a staple in my household. As ” wrote earlier this year, Kendra “offers succinct and sensible solutions to nearly 60 common dilemmas gardeners face. In each chapter, from “My yard has no privacy” to “My garden is windy,” she dispatches with wit such seemingly intractable obstacles as steep slopes, slugs, too much paving, too many trees, and an aversion to orange flowers.”

10 Classics

The  Books Every Gardener Should Read. Photograph by Clare Coulson.
Above: The 10 Books Every Gardener Should Read. Photograph by Clare Coulson.

“A really great book can help; think of it as a mentor,” writes our reviewer, Clare Coulson. “While it’s impossible to write the definitive list of must-read books for gardeners (I could have easily doubled or tripled this list), I’ve rounded up the books we return to for gardening wisdom and inspiration. Some of these books are many decades old, but their advice still holds true.”

For a detailed list of Clare’s 10 class garden books (and links to buy them), see The 10 Books Every Gardener Should Read.

N.B.: More gift ideas for the holidays:

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