Six of the best gardening books to buy loved ones this Christmas

Herbs, houseplants, horticultural design and practical tips are all covered by these festive reads. Hannah Stephenson has the pick of the crop.

Alpines at RHS Harlow Carr Gardens in October. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
Alpines at RHS Harlow Carr Gardens in October. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Whether they are into practical skills, coffee table inspiration, organic methods or sustainability, there’s a book out there that’ll be perfect for gardening fans.

Leafing through some of the best, here’s our pick of the crop for festive flora and fauna reads

Sign up to our daily newsletter

1. Winter Gardens: Reinventing The Season by Cedric Pollet (Frances Lincoln, £20). Snuggle up with a hot toddy to appreciate the icy beauty of winter gardens at their best. The book features fantastic photos, showing how gardens can be transformed into fairy tale hideaways, if you use the right plants. The book highlights 20 gardens in Britain and France and the plants and landscaping they have used to create a cornucopia of luminous colours, when everything else in the garden is looking bare.

2. The Eighth Wonder Of The World: Exbury Gardens And The Rothschilds by Lionel de Rothschild and Francesca Murray Rowlins (Exbury Gardens Limited, £30). Anyone who has ever visited Exbury Gardens in Hampshire and delighted in its stunning 200 acre woodland garden and admired its blousy, beautiful rhododendrons, will appreciate this coffee table thumper of a book whose subject gardens recently celebrated their centenary. It all began in 1919 when Lionel de Rothschild pursued his love of woody plants by creating a garden where they would thrive. The gardens first opened to the public in 1955 and this book, written by his grandson and namesake, charts the history of the garden right up to the present. Readers can pore over the collections of rare plants, shrubs and trees, which are still on show today.

3. Simply Flower Arranging: A Step-by-Step Guide by Judith Blacklock (The Flower Press Ltd, £18.99). Your loved one may know how to grow flowers, but do they know how to arrange them? They could find help in this easy-to-follow guide from a top flower arranger, who presents some truly inspirational ideas. How to create eye-catching displays when you are entertaining, or even if you fancy some quirky floral forms, Blacklock will have the answer, both for contemporary and classic homes.

4. Herb by Mark Diacono (Quadrille, £26). If you have a foodie in the family who has decided they want to grow their own herbs, this excellent plot-to-plate exploration from the food writer and gardener Mark Diacono will provide some inspiring ideas and information. He shares techniques at the heart of growing, explaining how to prepare and use herbs well, enabling you to make delicious food that’s as rewarding in the process as it is in the end result. The book features a compendium of recipes as well as techniques on how to grow herbs

and change the way you cook with them at home, enabling budding gardeners and cooks to capture flavours to use.

5. Thirteen Ways To Smell A Tree by David George Haskell (Gaia, £12.99.)Ever considered how a tree smells? Or how a tree might evoke memories of childhood, or a particular time in a particular place? This dip-in, dip-out offering would be perfect to peruse in a quiet moment over the festive season. Written by biologist, award-winning author and academic, David George Haskell, it contains 13 beautifully written essays that explore the evocative scents of trees, from the conker tree that takes us back to childhood, to the pine tree hanging from the rear-view mirror.

6. The Green Indoors by Maddie and Alice Bailey (Hardie Grant, £16.99). So, we all know the popularity of houseplants soared during lockdown, and this book will offer inspiration to those who may not have had much luck with indoor plants in the past. The authors will not only find you the perfect houseplant, but will show you where to put it and how to relocate plants to improve their growth and help them thrive.