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Dig It! Books Gifts (4 Dec 2017)

Dig It! // Gardening & Green Spaces// WRS // Dec. 5, 2017

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need” Cicero.

Books and gardening go together perfectly, and keen gardeners like me are very happy to curl up in the winter with a good book – if we can’t get out in the garden, that is. Tara Lissner, Director of the Swiss gardening School and owner of The Herb and Petal Box has picked out her favourite books of 2017. 

“Letters to a Beekeeper” by Alys Fowler and Steve Benbow, is a great book for anyone interested in
bees, gardens, or the natural world. The book was produced by Unbound, a new publishing venture, going back to the older form of publishing funding, where books were paid for by subscription and the author and the publisher would then split the remaining profits.

Lia Leendertz, a columnist for The Guardian and The Telegraph, has produced a really sumptuous new book called “The Almanac” with the same publishers. It’s packed with all kind of titbits, not just about gardening. You’ll find recipes, tide tables, bird watching ideas and much more. It would also make a lovely gift, and the illustrations are wonderful. Both books can be bought direct from Unbound, at unbound.com, or online via various booksellers. If you buy from unbound, you have until the 15 th of December for UK deliveries, but only the 4 December to have a guaranteed delivery overseas, so get ordering!

Tara’s second book is Floret Farm’s “Cut Flower Garden” by Erin Benzakein with Juli Chai. It’s a perfect guide to turn the idea of a cutting garden on its’ head and persuade you to plant exclusively for cutting. Erin’s Flower Farm is in Washington State, and if you have a look at the website, you’ll see the flowers they grow are pretty unusual, focusing on heirloom and uncommon flowers. Erin has already written another book, the “Complete Cut and Care Guide for 100 Spectaclar Seaonal Blooms”, which is a free e-guide. They run workshops, if you’re lucky enough to be passing or near the Skagit Valley in Washington State, and an excellent on-line course, if you’re further away. The online course opening in 2018 is already full, but you can sign up for notifications for the next ones later in the year.

The florist Shane Connolly has new book called “Discovering the meaning of Flowers, Love Found, Lost Love and Love Restored” which delves into the history of flower meanings as well as showing you how to make his distinctively modern arrangements. I love his work, not only is he very modern – not a block of oasis in sight, but very accessible – anybody with some twigs and a vase can give his work a go.

If you read French, I have two absolute crackers, and both have such lovely photos that you would be inspired, even if you don’t understand what you are reading! The first is Snezana Gerbault’s “Mon Jardin en Hiver” – my garden in winter. It’s packed with ideas to make the most of your winter garden, which plants and pruning techniques will help keep your garden looking incredible during this period. The photography is lush and lovely, so this would make a fabulous coffee table book for a gardener or someone who just likes beautiful pictures.

My other suggestion is Didier Willery’s new book “Toutes les plantes, pour toutes les envies et toutes les situations” – pretty much all the plants you could ever want, for every soil and situation. The plants are arranged by type, flowers, or leaves or stems, and by colour – so if you’re looking for a blue flower, for summer, just flick to the blue section and summer and there are 8 examples, all easy to grow, with great pictures. It’s published by Ulmer, and although an English version would be great, it’s pretty fabulous already in French.

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