Thursday, 26 December 2013


Now is the time to gather up one's loin cloth and make with the exercise and diet restraint. The trouble is a huge plate of leftover turkey meat, boxes of chocolates and nibbles bought and not consumed, and an inner lethargy great enough to send me to sleep before I wake.

So, at this time of year, on dark nights, it is time to get out the books, light the wood burner and contemplate the garden.
(Actually I am reading The Black Box by Michael Connelly).
I have many books on my shelves - a list is below. Some I regularly look at, some rarely, but at one particular time they have given me ideas or answers.

It is clearly going to be a wild going out of the year, wind and rain rather than wintry weather, boggy underfoot and a bit miserable.

I have not yet dragged the watercress from the ponds nor trimmed back the dead meadowsweet. A good clearing is needed but I will have to be careful with the wild life - leave the stuff removed from the water on the bank for a day so creatures can crawl back into the water.

The Wendy House looks rather lonely at the bottom of the garden, waiting for warmer weather to be used again. R writes in the kitchen where it is always a comfortable temperature because of the Aga range.
There is a holly in the hedge near the lower pond and it did have berries but they are now well digested by the birds.
I ramble.

As soon as I am into this New Year there will have to be some planning - a scale back of workload, I think, letting the wild garden be wilder, less managed - but then, as I am a bit of a control freak, that may be easier said than done.

I promised you a list and here it is -

A Gardener's Book of Names - Michael Paffard,
The Englishman's Flora - Geoffrey Grigson,

The Natural History of The Garden - Michael Chinery,
Creating a Wildlife Garden - Bob and Liz Gibbons,
The Wildlife Pond Handbook - Louise Bardsley,
Managing The Wet Garden - John Simmons,
The Wild Garden - Violet Stevenson,
Collins Wildlife garden - Stefan Buczacki,

Gardens for Small Country Houses - Gertrude Jekyll and Lawrence Weaver,
The Essential Garden Book - Jasper Conran and Dan Pearson,
The Garden of Cosmic Speculation - Charles Jencks,

Silva - John Evelyn,
Herbal - Nicholas Culpepper,
Herbal - John Gerard,
Horse-hoeing and Husbandry - Jethro Tull,
The Gardener's Assistant - Robert Thompson and Thomas Moore,

Organic Futures: The Case for Organic Farming - Adrian Myers,
Coppicing and Coppice Crafts - Rebecca Oaks and Edward Mills,
Organic Gardening - Charles Dowding,

The Encyclopaedia of Plants and Flowers - RHS,
The Gardening Year - Reader's Digest,
The Illustrated Guide To Gardening - Reader's Digest,
The Encyclopaedia of Garden Plants and Flowers - Reader's Digest,
Hillier's Manual of Trees and Shrubs,

The Fruit and Vegetable Garden - Michael Pollock,
Home Grown - Denys De Saulles,
Vegetable Plotter - Dr D.G. Hessayon,

Grow Your Own Cut Flowers - Sarah Raven,
The Cutting Garden - Sarah Raven,
Grow Your Own Garden - Carol Klein,

The Scented Garden - Rosemary Verey,
The Houseplant Expert - Dr D.G. Hessayon,
The Complete Gardener - W.E. Shewell-Cooper,
Gardening on Walls - Christopher Grey-Wilson and Violet Matthews,
The Border Book - Anna Pavord,
The Fragrant Garden - Kay N Sanecki,
Spiritual Gardening - Peg Streep,
Dream Plants for the Natural Garden - Henk Gerritsen and Piet Ourloff,

This does not include Floras, The Concise British Flora, other natural history and wildlife books and magazines, the internet.
It does not include the many books borrowed from the library.

So to a New Year and wintry weather to come - fog and frost, perhaps some snow and ice.


  1. A good list, but I would add ' A Gentle Plea for Chaos' by Miriam Ostler and any thing by Christopher Lloyd, Margery Fish or Henry Mitchell. and Michael Pollan: Second Nature'.And........ oh dear, once you start where do you stop?

  2. Precisely - the list is endless and we all have our favourites. I just gave a sample - particularly agree with the Christopher Lloyd - colour ambition at its best.

  3. It must be a winter inspiration because I am working on a garden book list, too! Thanks for yours.