Our Favourite Reads for the Winter Season

“Wisdom comes with Winters.” — Oscar Wilde

We don’t know about you but we’re looking forward to some well earned time off over the Christmas break and one of our very favourite past times is cosying up by the fire with a hot drink and a mince pie, and a really good book.  And of course, our choice of book will most often involve gardening or the great outdoors.

So here we list some of our favourites.  Some are old but we always find ourselves returning to them again and again.  Some are new, only published this year.....

Hope you like our recommendations, let us know yours?

Nightwalking: Four Journeys Into Britain After Dark by John Lewis-Stempel

As the human world settles down each evening, nocturnal animals prepare to take back the countryside. Taking readers on four walks through the four seasons, acclaimed nature writer and farmer John Lewis-Stempel reveals a world bursting with life and normally hidden from view. Out beyond the cities, it is still possible to see the night sky full of stars, or witness a moonbow, an arch of white light in the heavens. It is time for us to leave our lairs and go tramping. To join our fellow creatures of the night.  A truly magical read.  In fact anything by this writer is a treat, as are his columns in Country Life Magazine.

Gardener’s World: How I Garden: Easy ideas & inspiration for making beautiful gardens anywhere by Adam Frost

A firm favourite of ours at Chelsea Flower Show,In this practical and personal book, Gardeners' World presenter Adam Frost takes you through his process for getting the most out of a garden space whatever its size, whether it's a window box, a terrace with a few pots or a bigger space with dedicated veg plots and borders. Enjoying your garden is about more than just what you grow; it's also about why you grow it. As well as spending time outdoors, the meaning of a garden lies in what you bring inside, from vegetables and herbs to make a family meal to flowers and seedheads to decorate the house. Adam explores how his own garden has allowed him to enjoy the simple pleasures in life and create precious memories

The Gardener's Almanac: A Treasury of Wisdom and Inspiration through the Year by Alan Titchmarch

National treasure and presenter of ITV's hugely popular Love Your Garden, Alan Titchmarsh brings us his month by month almanac of garden knowledge, facts, advice and inspiration. Here is seasonal advice on what to grow and sow, projects to engage in, as well as wildlife to spot, gorgeous gardens to visit, birds and flowers to celebrate, weather notes, and nature to reflect on in poems, music, and books. A beautifully book with illustrations by Alan himself.

RHS Roses by Michael Marriott

Michael Marriott, one of the world’s leading rosarians, has produced a practical guide for gardeners. It’s a far cry from traditional rose encyclopaedias where roses are catalogued according to their parentage or classification. Instead we have comprehensive information on how roses might best be used in the garden, such as at the front of the border, in containers, tight spaces and wild areas, plus roses for cutting. It’s beautifully illustrated throughout, well presented, and is written in an easy-to-follow style.

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.  If you want to fill your house with your own cut flowers, this is the book for you.

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.

We are passionate about tulips, so we make no apologies for including two books on them here, there's something rather lovely about pouring over tulips knowing their spectacular season is on the horizon….

Tulips: Beautiful varieties for home and garden  by Jane Eastoe, Photography by Rachel Warne

From the fascinating history of the tulip, including where they come from, tulipmania and bulbs grown today, the book curates over 50 of the most beautiful varieties, detailing when they bloom, their size, and, of course, what they’ll look like. From the fabulous flushed-with pink petals of La Belle Époque and the raspberry swirl of Carnaval De Nice, to the crystal-fringed rim of Fancy Frills and the fiery form of Double Flaming Parrot, you’ll discover a stunning range of specimens to grow, including historical and temporary varieties.

With engaging commentary on each bloom, easy-to-follow advice and glorious photography, this book will appeal to everyone who appreciates the majesty of the tulip.

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.

And here's one defintely on our list for when it is published in February 2023.....

To Stand And Stare: How to Garden While Doing Next to Nothing by Andrew Timothy O'Brien

Andrew Timothy O’Brien is an online gardening coach, blogger, and host of the critically acclaimed Gardens, Weeds & Words podcast. Reconnect with nature from the ground up and nurture not only your garden but your body, mind, and soul with what we know is going to be a hugely popular book.  And whilst you wait do look at his rather lovely Instagram 

Posted by Siobhan on December 6th 2022

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