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It's the Perfect Time to Read...

“What better occupation, really, than to spend the evening at the fireside with a book, with the wind beating on the windows and the lamp burning bright.” – Gustave Flaubert


There’s nothing we enjoy more than combining two of our greatest passions, gardens and reading and lockdown is proving the perfect time to indulge in both, so we thought we’d share some of our favourite books with you.

So, as they say, in no particular order, here goes…..

The Jewel Garden by Monty & Sarah Don
Excuse the pun, but an absolute jewel of a book, and one that begs reading more than once.  It tells the, sometimes heartrendingly sad, story of how they rose from the 1980s ashes of fashionable London & subsequent business disaster to create their magical “Jewel Garden" in Herefordshire.  Read it and weep, and then be filled with joy.

Sissinghurst by Vita Sackville-West & Sarah Raven
Sissinghurst, discovered and transformed in the 1930s by Vita Sackville West and  Harold Nicolson, is one of the most inspirational and famous gardens in the world and this book tells the story of this vibrant and beautiful garden.
“Sissinghurst caught instantly at my heart and imagination” Vita Sackville-West

Beth Chatto’s Woodland Garden
A bible for anyone with a shade loving garden, Beth Chatto was absolutely legendary amongst gardeners for her innovative plantings in adverse conditions and here she describes the creation of a woodland garden from a derelict site and selects shade loving plants for beds and borders, for every season.

The Tulip by Anna Pavord
In an auction held in Holland in February 1637, 99 lots of tulip bulbs fetched a staggering 90,000 guilders, more than $3.5 million in today's money. Tulipomania had reached its height, and its story is told in just one of the fascinating sections of Anna Pavord's wonderful book on this most seductive of flowers. Pavord's passion for the flower is evident from the opening pages of the book, where she tells of scrambling across the hillsides of Crete in search of an obscure, indigenous purple tulip. The story of the discovery of this tulip leads into Pavord's extraordinary history of this beautiful, enigmatic flower.

The Flower Farmer’s Year by Georgie Newbury
Georgie is a good friend of Sitting Spiritually, but we don’t include her book here for that reason! Grow your own cut flowers and you can fill your house with the gorgeous colours and heavenly scents of your favourite blooms, knowing that they haven’t travelled thousands of miles. In this flower farming book, Georgie Newbery combines boundless passion with down-to-earth guidance and practical advice, drawing on her own experiences.

The Ivington Diaries by Monty Don
We make no apologies for Monty Don appearing a second time, The Ivington Diaries is a personal collection of Monty's jottings. Generously illustrated with his very own photographs, this book is, to us, one of the most delightful garden books ever published. One to dip into as the seasons unfold, or devour all at once, you will get lost in it however you choose to indulge.

The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy Disabato-Aust
This has been in our library of books for many years, full of original ideas it will help you hugely with the pleasure to be had from growing perennial plants to perfection, with everything from dead heading, cutting back, thinning and pruning, this is a must have, if you can find a copy!

The RHS Encyclopedias of Gardening & Plants & Flowers
How could we list our favourite garden books and not include these two?  Bibles to many gardeners, from novice to expert, these are the definitive guides to gardening techniques, planning & maintenance, growing, pruning, identification, you name it, it’s here.

There are many more on our list, and we will certainly share these with you in another blog, but in the meantime, stay safe and why not  take advantage of this strange period in our lives by burying your nose in a book, it is one of life's simplest and best pleasures.

Posted by Siobhan on January 21st 2021

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