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Recommended Books

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Book Reviews

We welcome reviews of books on garden, plant or related topics. Please send reviews of books you have enjoyed to Marjorie Orr.

The reviews below are organised into four categories: gardening, gardens, plants and general. Click on a tab to see the reviews in that category. To read a review, click on a book cover.

Latest review:

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Indigenous Plant Palettes: an essential guide to plant selection

Marijke Honig
Quivertree 2014

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The Essential Garden Design Workbook - Second edition

Rosemary Alexander
Timber Press 2009

Rosemary Alexander, founder and principal of the English Gardening School, has updated this classic design handbook with many suggestions to help improve the garden's ecosystems. The explanatory drawings are a delight.

Review by Anthony Daniels

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Gardening with Less Water

David A. Bainbridge
Storey 2015

Inspired by an ancient Chinese technique, the author has produced a handyman’s guide to inventive, low-cost, super-efficient watering systems.

Review by Michèle Bailey

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Beth Chatto's Gravel Garden

Beth Chatto
Frances Lincoln 2000

The story of how Beth Chatto created a gravel garden on the site of a former car park alongside her nursery and garden near Colchester, Essex.

Review by Joanna Millar

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Planting Design for Dry Gardens

Oliver Filippi
Filbert Press 2016

This English translation of Alternatives au Gazon, is sub-titled 'Beautiful, resilient groundcovers for terraces, paved area, gravel and other alternative to the lawn.' His drought-tolerant low-level plant combinations redefine the distinction between lawn and flowerbeds. The plant section includes over 200 grasses, groundcovers, perennials and wild flowers that will thrive amongst gravel and stone.

Review by Alec Cobb and Rosie Peddle

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Indigenous Plant Palettes: an essential guide to plant selection

Marijke Honig
Quivertree 2014

This comprehensive, well-illustrated guide is sure to become every South African gardener’s bible. It includes an extensive plant directory, covering all of the 440 plants mentioned, with magnificent photographs and succinct yet full descriptions of each plant.

Review by Marianne Alexander

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Le nouvel esprit des Jardins

Louisa Jones
Hachette Livres Pratiques 1998

Pour chacun de dix beaux jardins contemporains Louisa Jones révèle quels étaient les enjeux, les souhaits et les moyens mis en œuvre pour les réaliser. Elle décrypte les couleurs, les éléments architecturaux, la palette végétale

Review by Joanna Millar

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The Garden Wanderer

Julie Kinney
Margaret River Press 2016

Julie Kinney of MGi association Mediterranean Gardening Margaret River has chosen 20 gardens to illustrate the garden wealth of her own particular corner of Western Australia.

Review by Trevor Nottle

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Les orchidées en Camargue

Stéphan Arnassant et Francis Dabonneville
Zerynthia 2006

Cette brochure d'une vingtaine de pages est destinée aux amateurs sérieux d'orchidées. Ils y trouveront une carte montrant la localisation détaillée des espèces poussant en Camargue.

Review by David Bracey

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Mesembs of the World

Steven Hammer et al.
Briza Publications 1998

A collective work by the world specialists in Mesembryantemaceae. In 400 pages and with over 700 high-quality colour photographs, it reveals the magical charm of these plants, as surprising as they are sublime.

Review by Michel Gautier

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Bulbs of the Eastern Mediterranean

Oron Peri
Alpine Garden Society 2015

The Eastern Mediterranean countries offer a rich and varied bulbous flora. In this field guide more than 400 species are illustrated, making it an essential reference work for everyone with an interest in bulbous plants.

Review by Trevor Nottle

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The Land Where Lemons Grow

Helena Attlee
Particular Books 2014

This fascinating book covers many subjects including travel, history, botany, economics, the inevitable recipes and of course, oranges and lemons.

Review by David Bracey

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White Beech

Germaine Greer
Bloomsbury 2014

In this book the author describes her efforts to restore ecologically some 150 acres of a former dairy farm, partly heavily forested, in south-east Queensland, Australia.

Review by David Bracey

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The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession

Andrea Wulf
William Heinemann 2008

This book tells us, in loving detail and with considerable gossip, about some key early plantsmen, the intrepid collectors, the importers and the famous early botanists who contributed so much to the gardens we know today.

Review by Joanna Millar