Reviews The Veg Plot

Garden book reviews: summer reading sorted

Gardening books reviewed

This year we were due to be launching our new book, Wild Tea, but with Covid-19 wreaking havoc on the publishing industry you’ll have to wait until 2021 to read our latest bundle of words. In the meantime, here are four gardening books that did get a recent release which we think you might enjoy…


Book review Dave Goulson

The Garden Jungle or Gardening to Save the Planet, by Dave Goulson

Published by Vintage

In The Garden Jungle, Professor of Biology, Dave Goulson, takes a close look at some of the unheralded creatures that inhabit our gardens. Through his uncomplicated and humorous writing style he unearths the secrets behind the woodlouse, earwig, worm and more, promoting the important roles they play within our garden ecosystems, and how we can best look after them.

It’s a call to arms for gardeners to appreciate the importance of their outdoor spaces and how, even on a small scale, they can be managed in a way that best looks after the planet. Throughout his garden jungle tour, Goulson also highlights the failings of industrial farming, explaining how successes demonstrated by small gardens and allotments can show the way to more environmentally sound practices on a much larger scale.

Informative, inspiring and amusing it is, without question, the best gardening book I have ever read. 



Book review Jane Vernon

The Secret Lives of Garden Bees by Jane Vernon

Published by Pen and Sword

If you’re after an in-depth guide to the bees that populate your garden then look no further than Jane Vernon’s fine book. Covering every type of garden bee you’ve heard of, and many more you haven’t, it guides you through their unique behaviours in a writing style and presentation that are immediately accessible.

With tips on identification, appropriate bee-friendly plants to grow, and the bees seasonal habits, The Secret Lives of Garden Bees will give you a much bigger appreciation of our pollinating pals and arm you with all the information you need to help look after them.



I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast, by Michael Holland and Philip Geordano

Published by Flying Eye Books

It may be aimed at children, but we reckon there are very few parents who won’t learn a wheelbarrow full of facts about the science behind plants by reading this book. Author Michael Holland writes in a succinct, un-patronising way that makes learning addictive, while Philip Geordano’s lavish illustrations turn every page into a colourful adventure.

From basic information on how plants grow to more in-depth learning on their leaves, flowers, smells and more, the science is backed up with practical projects that celebrate the wonders of the plant world. Build a plant maze or make some slime and you’ll be nurturing some green fingers in the process.



Book Review Garden Privacy

The Middle-Sized Garden Complete Guide to Garden Privacy, by Alexandra Campbell

Published by Nielsen

Alexandra Campbell’s blog is one of our most visited gardening sites, with trustworthy advice and expert opinions throughout. Her new book is similarly full of expert help, exploring ways you can create privacy in your garden. Topics covered include suitable trees and hedges that act as screens from your neighbour’s windows, how to deal with eyesores, and advice on creating secret areas where you can hide away and contemplate life.

It’s an extremely practical book with simple diagrams and space for note-taking, allowing you to learn and plan as you turn the pages. We paid particular attention to the section on tree planting – something that can initially seem daunting but has been explained with such simplicity that we’re tempted to start a garden arboretum.

It’s a well thought out book, put together with knowledge and intelligence, and anyone with a garden will find it useful.


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