Get tips, ideas and inspiration for your outside space from these glorious gardening books.

Whether you are a seasoned planter or a total novice, nothing will inspire you like the pages of a great gardening book. Here, we have handpicked a selection of titles – some old, some new, all brilliant – that have a love of horticulture and the planet at their core. Packed full of stunning photographs, practical advice and enchanting stories of redemption, these books will send you into your garden with gusto.

Sissinghurst: The Dream Garden by Tim Richardson

The gardens at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent – bought and transformed by Vita Sackville-West in the 1930s and now under the custodianship of the National Trust – are arguably the most famous in the world. In this elegant book, Tim Richardson explores their enduring magic and meaning. It is impossible not to like this book – just as it is impossible not to enjoy a visit to the gardens it celebrates. Buy it here.

The Five Minute Garden by Laetitia Maklouf

The premise of this handy little hardback, written by a busy mother of three, is that it takes just five minutes a day – come rain or shine – to create a beautiful garden and a lifelong gardening habit. Maklouf says: ‘The Five Minute Garden is intended for anyone who wants to enjoy their garden, but is overwhelmed by the enormity of the task of getting it under control.’ Sound like anyone you know? Buy it here.

Seed to Dust: A Gardener’s Story by Marc Hamer

Shortlisted for this year’s Wainwright Prize, Seed to Dust is a series of essays reflecting on Hamer’s last two decades tending the 12-acre garden of an elderly widow. As he cultivates the acreage, he muses philosophically on age, change and a life immersed in nature. The Daily Mail calls it: ‘A wholly original, semi-autobiographical book on how to live, how to be calm and content with only a little, in a quietly humming garden.’ Buy it here.

Green Shades: An Anthology of Plants, Gardens and Gardeners by Elizabeth Jane Howard

The acclaimed English novelist, who died in 2014, reckoned she’d have been a gardener if she hadn’t been a writer. In this lovely book, she combines a love of both the garden and the written word. In it, she collects from the great and the good pieces of garden writing that span the seasons and the centuries and links them together with her insightful commentary. This particularly appealing edition of Green Shades would make a great present for almost anyone you can think of. Buy it here.

The Complete Gardener: by Monty Don

Monty Don first published this tome in 2003. This year, he brought it up to date with the lessons he has learned in the interim. Practical and imaginative, it is a comprehensive guide to the way he gardens today. Over half of the photographs in the book were shot at his garden at Longmeadow in Herefordshire over the course of a year – and are a delightful window into his world. Buy it here.

In the Garden: Essays on Nature and Growing

This enchanting collection of essays by contemporary writers will not only soothe your soul, it will give you a whole new appreciation for the world outside your back door. Slim and pleasing, the book examines what it is to have and love a garden. It is a gentle book that will massage every mind. Buy it here.

Gardens In My Life by Arabella Lennox-Boyd

Arabella Lennox-Boyd has been designing exquisite gardens all over the world for 45 years and has won a raft of international gongs as well as six gold medals and a Best in Show at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Her own gardens in Lancashire and Italy are a sight for sore eyes. House & Garden magazine says: ‘A world-renowned horticultural tour de force, Arabella Lennox-Boyd is one of the most accomplished landscape designers of our time’. In this book, she writes with candour about sixteen of the magnificent gardens she has created. You will get lost in her easy prose. Buy it here.

The Gardening Jungle: Or Gardening to Save the Planet by Dave Goulson

This Sunday Times bestseller is a clarion call to gardeners to make sure that, while they cultivate their patches, they also encourage the millions of tiny creatures with whom we share the planet to thrive. The author, Dave Goulson, is the country’s leading expert on bees. But he is jolly good on how every little thing we do in the garden can have a meaningful impact on the reversal of climate change. The Guardian calls it: ‘exquisite, compelling and quietly evangelical’. Buy it here.

By Becky Ladenburg
September 2021

GWG Book Club: In The Garden – Essays On Nature And Growing
Small Front Garden Ideas to Make the Most of Your Space
Six Of The Best: Gardening Podcasts

Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.