• Sue

A good read......




It is getting a lot colder and I look for excuses to hide in the house rather than hit the garden, especially on rainy days. Here is a selection of favourite garden related books of mine which I enthusiastically recommend if you are searching for a present for someone - or for yourself of course.


A good little book about French gardens and their history - Monty Don, The Road to Le Thoronet. An enjoyable and informative read as Monty travels across France visiting gardens which have a particular resonance for him. He includes lots about history of the development of gardens in France along with cultural notes and personal observations. But here is a trigger warning (!); he made some rather rude remarks about the type of person who uses Bergerac airport.




Best vegetable gardening book (I think this is now out of print but it is available on Amazon second hand) - Sarah Raven, The Great Vegetable Plot. This is something to consider having a look at before you order next year's seeds. The varieties of vegetable she recommends are consistently good.

Best Garden Cookbook - (again possibly out of print but available second hand on Amazon) Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook.



I love both of these and refer to them regularly. The cookery book is now held together with sellotape. Several of my own go to recipes are either directly from this book or have evolved from something she has suggested. The recipes are organised seasonally around the vegetables and fruit Sarah grows at Perch Hill - many of which also feature in The Great Vegetable Plot. If you share her taste in food, which on occasions can be an acquired one (c/f the chard with mussels she had for her wedding breakfast), then it cannot be bettered.


Best luscious, indulgent coffee table book - Olivier Filipi, Bringing the Mediterranean into your Garden. I bought this for myself as a total treat and then just had to go and visit Olivier's garden near Sete - where I even met the man himself. The book is quite academic in places, but packed with information about gardening in a dry climate, which is becoming a more and more important technique these days. He is the expert at creating a gravel garden using plants which require minimal water and draws upon indigenous plants and very natural planting schemes. I also bought half a dozen plants from him, brought them back to the colder (and wetter) South West of France and they have all thrived.





And my Climate Change Book of the Year - a good read and thought provoking - is Hope Jahren's The Story of More. Hope is an academic - a geobiologist based at Oslo University in Norway, but her writing is not academic. The book confirms the secret no politician dare divulge - in order to arrest the incredible damage we are doing to the planet with what is basically a wanton and currently unstoppable consumerism, we must consume less. But that of course smacks of severely reducing a nation's GDP with the knock on effect of damage to business/employment and perceived living standards. (So said politician will not be re-elected.) The acceleration of our consumption of "stuff" during Hope Jahren's lifetime (she is 52) is horrible. A very sobering read.






I would love to hear of other people's current favourite gardening/food/environment books - please let me know if you have any recommendations.







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