Wednesday 9 August is National Book Lovers Day in the UK.
If, like me, you can just as easily curl up with a horticultural book as a good novel, here’s some of my favourites that as a flower farmer I wouldn’t be without:
This book is never far from my side and I’d highly recommend it to anyone growing flowers at any level. It is also beautifully illustrated – you won’t be able to put it down.
From the blub: “Rachel Siegfried, owner of the celebrated Green & Gorgeous flower farm, began her career as an estate gardener and in this book she shares her selection of 130 rigorously trialled plants and her garden-led philosophy that together bring such exceptional results. Her exquisite arrangements capture the essence each plant making the most of characterful twists and tendrils, testament to years of expert botanical observation and hands in the soil.”
The Garden Jungle: or Gardening to Save the Planet, Dave Goulson
It’s hard to suggest just one of Dave Goulson’s books to recommend. I’ve picked this as a starter but he’s written many more on the role of bees and other insects in maintaining a stable ecology.
In ‘The Garden Jungle’, Dave gives us an insight into the fascinating and sometimes weird lives of worms, woodlice, centipedes, flies, silverfish, wasps, beetles, mice, shrews and more… taking us burrowing into the compost heap, digging under the lawn and diving into the garden pond. He explains how our lives and ultimately the fate of humankind are inextricably intertwined with these unappreciated heroes of the natural world.
Everlastings: How to Grow, Harvest and Create with Dried Flowers
by Bex Partridge
She is not only a font of knowledge on how to grow and harvest flowers for drying but a skilled and sublime artist who has helped to make dried flowers chic and contemporary for the 21st century.
Everlastings was Bex’s first book and gives practical advice on how to pick flowers both at your home and outdoors, followed by 20 projects to try at home. She also shares her knowledge of the ecological benefits of dried flowers and includes tips throughout the book on keeping arrangements looking fresh.
Your One Wild and Precious Life, Dr Maureen Gaffney
I know I’m not alone in switching career later in life. In fact, Horticulture seems to be a popular choice in general for career changers over 40. Could it be that, as the years go by faster and faster and we start questioning what we’re going to do with the rest of our time on this earth, being up close to nature resonates with our core humanity? Your One Wild and Precious Life is one of the books I read whilst transitioning from the world of Sales and Marketing to that of a Flower Farmer, Trainer and Mentor.
Psychologist Dr Gaffney uses ground-breaking research to encourage the reader to take stock and figure out how to make the best of every precious moment of the rest of your life. I found this book very practical and in tune with where I was at the time but I’ve also loaned it to younger and older friends – a book for any age.
The Edible Flower Garden: From Garden to Kitchen, Kathy Brown
Looking for a new cookbook?
Writing this blog and the fact that there are so many flowers available to pick right now, has prompted me to open this book again. Kathy gives a comprehensive guide to choosing, growing and cooking edible flowers and there’s also an introductory history of edible flowers.
Warning: the photography by Michelle Garrett will have you salivating and wanting to get cooking or mixing! You can preview the book on the publisher’s website here.
Seed to Vase: A collection of stories, Roz Chandler
Yes, this was my first published book and I make no apologies for including it here. You may recognise ‘Seed to Vase’ as the title of our annual 8-month cut flower growing course. The 2020 course began in February of that year when life in the UK and around the world was soon to take a long and hard route ‘off piste’ thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This book details the lives and experiences of some of our Seed to Vase members during that time. In the Seed to Vase community they found inspiration and confidence, regardless of their initial reasons for joining the course. Their stories include accounts of bereavement, sadness, joy and laughter during a time of unknowns when many people rediscovered nature and the simple joys in life.
Meanwhile, the Seed to Vase course has continued to run from February to September each year. Join the waitlist for more information on the 2024 course.
I hope that you’ll be inspired to buy or borrow some of the books I’ve suggested here. Do add your own suggestions below – they don’t have to be flower or horticulture-related!