Friday, 4 January 2013

Remember Book Tokens?

So sweet gardening pals, are you the same as me, is the weather killing your dreams and plans for the plot? I am seriously fed up with the dull and damp and dreary skies and sodden ground - really Mother Nature is not playing fair. So I offer you a more comfortable alternative in this post - gardening books.

Remember when you did well at school and you got a book token? Oh how I miss those days. We didn't get a single book on gardening from Santa this year. Not that we really need any as Andrew has this habit of visiting a glorious second hand book shop close to his work and bringing home fabulous finds, even some from the 50s, which I love because they have detailed drawings over the often style-over-substance photography books we get now.
So here I would love to share with you some of my favourite gardening books from the Gault library.
First I feel I ought to do a little review on an equally little gift book I was sent to look at from Summerdale. Dig for Victory (Gift) is a fun little book that would have been perfect as a stocking filler for anyone. It costs less than a fiver and is beautifully bound with a cool retro cover. Basically it's just sweet with little one sentence facts and tips about growing your own interspersed with encouraging quotes. For a novice the hints would prove very interesting and sometimes rather quirky so for all the price it is I would definitely give it a thumbs up. (They also do an adorable looking 'Make Do and Mend' partner book which I think I would like too).

However, if it's the more involved book you are looking for with that War Era Ethos then you simply can't beat Digging for Victory: Wartime Gardening with Mr Middleton. I bought myself a copy of this about 2 years ago and think it's fabulous. It takes you by the hand (remember the original version was designed for home owners to grow their own in their own gardens out of necessity and Government decree) and guides you through the growing year with a charm that is so very BBC and 'proper'. I delight in it as an educational tool but also as simply an entertaining read to dip in and out off.

For Veggie growing in particular I have a super duper soft spot for The Allotment Book by Andi Clevely, it's the first one we bought specifically for the plots :) For a novice it is a life saver but we have found it still is a go to book and that is us in our 5th year, so I think it's  must have. I especially love the sections at the start of each chapter which detail so simply what you could sow now, plant now and eat now even throwing in a few easy recipes - it really makes the whole thing such fun, which is exactly how it should be!

Lastly for me the must have books are those written by the River Cottage people. They very cleverly mix knowledge with stylish photography, layout and gorgeous paper and covers like no other people I have seen yet. Yes I am one of those people to whom the texture and density of the paper is exciting. These could easily be coffee table books, so I like them okay!? First up for me is Veg Patch: River Cottage Handbook No.4 by Mark Diacono who is basically a genius. Who else can make soil types, pests and compost so interesting and bring out that inner geek in you? I love his personal twist on how we all have favourites and dream veggies to grow and he helps to calm you down and tell you what is best for where you are = I want him to live in my shed and just tell me stories whilst making me totally organic and knowledgeable; heaven.

This is one I shall be using this year a lot so you'll see loads of it - Preserves: River Cottage Handbook No.2 by Pam Corbin.... oh and this one  too- Hedgerow (River Cottage Handbook) by John Wright. I have my eyes set on making more of the food we grow and the berries etc that we see whilst out walking. 2013 is going to be a good one!!!
So I hope this inspires you to read up on new techniques, get cool recipes gathered together and prepare of an AWESOME new year. Here are some of the others that Andrew will be reading and I shall looking at the pictures in, lol. We sort of love books in this house :)

Love and Hugs x

Andrew has asked that his favourite book be highlighted and naturally I have had to comply :) He loves Grow Your Own Vegetables by Joy Larkcom as shown here >

He feels it speaks to him and has the most comprehensive, practicable and simple information on individual vegetables. Ms Larkcom has travelled the world and gained much knowledge on the topic of growing your own which she shares here with obvious enthusiasm. It naturally covers the areas of soil type, pests and tools as well. It's main ethos though seems to be getting the most out of the space you have and who doesn't like the sound of that?!

It's basically just his cup of metaphorical tea :)

"comprehensive and covers everything" - Mr Andrew Gault


  1. Must admit that we haven't bought a gardening book for ourselves in an age and we have nowhere near as many as you. WE tend to buy magazines. I do buy lots and lots of novels though - enough for my own public library.

    As for school prize days - I remember choosing a Mrs Beeton book as it was huge and would look good when I went on stage to collect it! :)

  2. What could be better than a post about gardening books.
    I got a book token for Christmas which I've spent on two, which I'll be doing a post about sometime soon. Flighty xx

  3. These damp dismal days are just made for curling up with a good book and a cuppa. I agree with you, The Allotment Book by Andi Clevely is a great book, which always inspires me. I always get restless in January and February and my hubby reminds me to enjoy the rest, knowing full well there is too much to do and too little time to do it for the rest of the year!
    Great blog Carrie, only just found you.

  4. Sue - oh lordy, don't get me started on the number of gardening magazines we go through too! Then there's the blogs and websites. As for non-gardening books we really should open the house as a library, you can fall over novels and history and photography books in every room here :)

    Flighty - I thought you would like this post. I can't wait to see what you bought with your token!! xx

    Welcome Jan! I am so glad you found me and that you too are a lover of Mr Clevely (and his book, cough cough, lol). We're getting antsy to get the seeds in and fast forward time, but I guess your hubby is right, there will be nights when we will just want to be inside reading for a change :)

  5. I too am a big fan of Joy Larkcom, so I support Andrew's choice. Also like the River cottage Handbooks series - we have the Bread on and the Fungi one as well.
    Like Sue, I haven't bought a gardening book for quite a while now, because they are mostly too basic for my needs now that I have been gardening for many years.

  6. I've just found your blog and absolutely love it. My shelves are heaving with gardening books and I now have a complete DVD collection gifted to me at Christmas of Geoff Hamilton (my hero). I will now head over to the follow button. Take care. x

  7. Mark - We agree, I doubt there will be many more gardening books bought for this house, though that second hand shop is always a temptation :)

    Chel - thank you for 'following' me you are so very welcome to the party :) Oh YES! to the DVD gift set, we are fans of good old Mr Hamilton here too :) xx

  8. Good on you with the books Carrie I hope like me you wont be investing in a Kindle type e book

  9. David - arrrghhh Kindle is a bad word in this house - it's REAL books all the way :)

  10. Even though I don't garden, I always enjoy your posts and pictures about it. The books were great. I liked the "Dig for Victory" and "Digging for Victory" books as I'm a reader of history during the war.

    I must admit I have a Kindle, but I also still go to my public library. Like you mentioned, I enjoy not only the words in a book, but it's paper and layout as well. I will often spend time in the library wandering the aisles and checking out books -- how they look and feel.

    My Kindle works well when I travel, especially given the weight limits on bags. Did I mention I read ALOT:~)

    I enjoyed this post, Carrie.


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