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Six gorgeous gardening books for spring

Spring has sprung and gosh what a welcome relief it is. Unlike all of the other seasons, Spring comes with the promise of hope and optimism. Blossoms bursting open on branches remind us that good things can come after months of gruelling times. 

It is with this optimism and joy that we are focusing on what we can do to embrace this cheery new season and take advantage of the sunnier days and brighter skies. So it is off to the garden we go with six gorgeous books to inspire the green thumbs among us. Fear not, we have also included books for those of you that have limited gardening space and those of you that are plant-keeping-challenged. 

Pure Style in the Garden by Jane Cumberbatch

With more and more of us spending most of our time at home, outdoor spaces have become our retreat; somewhere to breathe again, heighten our senses and escape the onslaught of noise, clutter and technology. Pure Style in the Garden offers ideas and inspiration for making the most of any outdoor space we might have; whether it is a garden, a patio or a balcony, or even just a window box  and for bringing touches of nature indoors for mindful enjoyment. Bestselling author Jane Cumberbatch’s ‘Pure Style’ philosophy is all about making the most of what’s around you and finding beauty in the simple and every day as an achievable alternative to the stressful demands of consumer society. In this book, which was put together over the course of 2020, she draws on her the inspiration of her own home and garden to supply ideas and inspiration for life-affirming colour, scent and texture, and to show how even the most unpromising outdoor space can be a source of sensuous renewal. Viewing the garden as an extension of the home, and with ideas for all seasons, this beautiful and inspiring book is illustrated with glorious photographs and enchanting paintings by the author herself. A book for dipping into or enjoying as one long read, or both.

You can click here to see Jane’s other ‘Pure Style’ series books.

Organic Gardening for Beginners by Lisa Lombardo

Imagine cooking with organic tomatoes right off the vine or seasoning with fresh, homegrown herbs. Organic Gardening for Beginners shows aspiring home gardeners how to get started. Learn to raise dozens of fruits and veggies at home with sustainable and eco-friendly practices that protect the environment and produce safe, nutritious food – no grocery store required.

Discover what it means to keep a completely organic garden with tips, advice, and step-by-step instructions for planting the right plants at the right time, designing an efficient layout, and attracting the right pollinators to help every garden thrive. Begin with an overview of the most popular types of organic gardening from in-ground to containers and decide which one works best in every space. Find out how to choose soil, control pests with no chemicals, and combine the crops that grow well together. Get an explanation of each crop that breaks down what it needs to grow and what beginners need to know for success. Grow your own thriving backyard ecosystem with expert advice on nourishing organic gardening.

The Heirloom Gardener by John Forti

This gorgeous book is an A-to-Z compilation of traditional gardening skills and heirloom plants, nostalgically illustrated with wood block art. Modern life is a cornucopia of technological wonders. But when we spend so much time glued to our phones and computer screens, something precious is lost: a sense of connection to the generations that have preceded us. John Forti is acutely aware of this loss, and his mission is to heal it. In The Heirloom Gardener, he celebrates and shares the lore and traditional practices that link us with the natural world and with each other. Arranged alphabetically, entries include heirloom flowers like beebalm, Johnny-jump-ups, and nasturtiums; traditional skills such as distilling, wreath-making, and brewing; and subjects such as ethnobotany, biodiversity, and organic gardening. Throughout, Forti highlights the ways in which these plants and practices can enrich modern life. The Heirloom Gardener is charmingly illustrated, resulting in a beautiful book that will inspire you to slow down, recharge, and reconnect.

Futuresteading by Jade Miles

Futuresteading is a practical and inspirational guide to living in a way that values tomorrow: a slower, simpler, steadier existence that is healthier for you, your home, and the environment. Whether you live in a city apartment, in the suburbs or on twenty acres, the principles of futuresteading offer easy-to-understand information and hands-on ideas. Learn to grow delicious food and medicinal plants; share rituals with loved ones through the seasons; feast on healthy home-cooked food for the family; nourish body and soul with outdoor expeditions and moments of rest; and create wonders with your hands. This welcoming handbook begins by showing how futuresteading works in an accessible and practical explainer, before venturing through six seasonal chapters – Awakening, Alive, High Heat, Harvest, The Turning, and Deep Chill – filled with inspiration for the garden, including making fences and wicking beds, along with over 30 rewarding recipes for slow, nourishing and easy meals. Grow, store, eat, preserve and share food that deepens the connections you have with your household, your soil, and those around you.

House Planted by Lisa Muñoz

This one is for the many of us who do not have a sprawling garden. Green up your living space with this bright, fresh, stylish introduction to choosing, caring for, and designing with houseplants. Get ready to transform your humble abode! Whether you have a funky bohemian den, a chic minimalist loft, or a closet-sized rental, indoor plants will bring a whole new level of warmth, comfort, and style into your home. In House Planted, interior plant designer Lisa Munoz guides you step by step and room by room through picking the perfect plant for the perfect spot and incorporating plants into your indoor decor. You’ll find info on plants that are hard to kill, hanging plants, succulents, air plants, and more. There are creative ideas for displaying plants, tips on caring for your new leafy friends, and primers on potting and troubleshooting. Casual and easy-going, with attainable styles and simple instructions, this short and sweet book of inspiration has everything you need, and nothing you don’t, to start you off on an adventure in better –and greener– living.

How Not to Kill Your Houseplants by Trisha Bora

Okay, another one for those of us who are less than green-thumbed. We’ve all killed houseplants. But a plant’s death is a good starting point, because it can help us answer the important question: Why did it die? Equipped with the right knowledge, you can make plants thrive for many years. How Not to Kill Your Houseplants is a comprehensive guide on how to care for houseplants. In this book, you will learn how to choose the right plants for your space and lifestyle, the right light requirements, when and how to water and fertilise them, the best potting mixes, and how to propagate plants.

With simple and effective advice, and seventy houseplant profiles, accompanied by stunning pictures, plant parenting has never been easier.

Enjoy!

Sustainable living starts in your garden

February marks the beginning of the The National Sustainable Living Festival here in Melbourne and with the horrifying summer we have just experienced, the need for community education and change is at an all time high. 

The mission of the festival is simple: to accelerate the uptake of sustainable living and to seek solutions to global warming. It is the largest sustainability festival in Australia and has proudly been a part of our calendar for 20 years. It showcases cutting-edge solutions to ecological and social challenges, fostering and providing tools for the change we want to see and the difference we want to make in the world.

You don’t have the live in Melbourne to take action, in fact, the best place to start is in your backyard: take a look at what you’re growing. Why not make 2020 the year to start growing your own produce? We have rounded up the leading titles that are being launched on the market which all aim to educate and help us become that little more sustainable in our garden. 

Attainable Sustainable by Kris Bordessa

Whether you live in a city, suburb, or the country, this essential guide for the backyard homesteader will help you achieve a homespun life, from starting your own garden and pickling the food you grow to pressing wildflowers, baking sourdough loaves, quilting, raising chickens, and creating your own natural cleaning supplies. In these richly illustrated pages, sustainability guru Kris Bordessa offers DIY lovers an indispensable home reference for sustainability in the 21st century, with tried-and-true advice, 50 enticing recipes, and step-by-step directions for creating easy, cost-efficient projects that will bring out your inner pioneer. Filled with 340 colour photographs, this relatable, comprehensive book contains time-honored wisdom and modern know-how for getting back to basics in a beautiful, accessible package.

Small Garden Style by Isa Hendry Eaton

A stylishly photographed guide to creating lush, layered, dramatic little gardens no matter the size of your available space; an urban patio, a tiny backyard, or even just a pot by your front door. Petite gardens align with the movement to live smaller and create a life with less stuff and more room for living. But a more eco-friendly and efficient space doesn’t have to sacrifice style. In Small Garden Style, garden designer Isa Hendry Eaton and lifestyle writer Jennifer Blaise Kramer show you how to use good design to create a joyful, elegant and exciting, yet compact, outdoor living space for entertaining or relaxing. A style quiz helps you focus in on your own personal garden style, be it traditional, modern, colourful, eclectic, minimalist, or globally inspired, then utilise every inch of your yard by considering the horizontal (floor), vertical (walls), and overhead (ceiling) spaces. Eaton and Kramer recommend their favourite plants and decor for small gardens, along with lawn alternatives and inspiration for making a fire pit, front door wreath, instant mini orchard, boulder birdbath, patterned vines, perfumed wall, and faux fountain with cascading plants. You’ll learn how to design stunning planters and container gardens using succulents, grasses, vibrant-coloured pots, and more. Nothing lights up a little garden more than a well-considered planter. It’s the welcome statement at the front door, the conversation centerpiece at the outdoor dining table, and the piece that naturally softens the patio. However small your garden, Small Garden Style will transform it into a magical, modern outdoor oasis.

A Year in Flowers by Erin Benzakein

From star flower farmer and bestselling author of Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden, Erin Benzakein comes this gorgeous and comprehensive guide to enhancing every occasion with floral beauty. With hundreds of stunning photographs and an inviting narrative style, this book offers approachable tips for caring for and arranging cut flowers, plus how-tos for designing more than 25 seasonal arrangements including magnificent centrepieces, infinitely gift-able posies, festive wreathes, and breathtaking bridal bouquets. Plus, an A to Z flower guide provides photos and care tips for more than 200 varieties, making it easy to identify and use a wide range of beautiful ingredients. Strikingly beautiful and full of authoritative advice, this book is an invitation to live a flower-filled life and the perfect gift for anyone who loves flowers.

Nature’s Best Hope by Douglas Tallamy

Douglas W. Tallamy’s first book, Bringing Nature Home, awakened thousands of readers to an urgent situation: wildlife populations are in decline because the native plants they depend on are fast disappearing. His solution? Plant more natives. In this new book, Tallamy takes the next step and outlines his vision for a grassroots approach to conservation. Nature’s Best Hope shows how homeowners everywhere can turn their yards into conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats. Because this approach relies on the initiatives of private individuals, it is immune from the whims of government policy. Even more important, it’s practical, effective, and easy, you will walk away with specific suggestions you can incorporate into your own yard. If you’re concerned about doing something good for the environment, Nature’s Best Hope is the blueprint you need. By acting now, you can help preserve our precious wildlife and the planet for future generations.

The Earth in Her Hands by Jennifer Jewell

In this beautiful and empowering book, Jennifer Jewell, host of public radio’s award-winning program and podcast Cultivating Place, introduces 75 inspiring women. Working in wide-reaching fields that include botany, floral design, landscape architecture, farming, herbalism, and food justice, these influencers are creating change from the ground up. Profiled women include flower farmer Erin Benzakein; co-director of Soul Fire Farm Leah Penniman; plantswoman Flora Grubb; edible and cultural landscape designer Leslie Bennett; Caribbean-American writer and gardener Jamaica Kincaid; soil scientist Elaine Ingham; landscape designer Ariella Chezar; floral designer Amy Merrick, and many more. Rich with personal stories and insights, Jewell’s portraits reveal a devotion that transcends age, locale, and background, reminding us of the profound role of green growing things in our world and our lives.

The Family Garden Plan by Melissa Norris

Do something good for your family by learning how to plant a garden that will yield healthy, wholesome food throughout the year. Melissa K. Norris, fifth generation homesteader and host of the popular Pioneering Today podcast, will walk you through each step of the process, from planning your food crops and garden space to harvesting and preserving the food you grow. Even intermediate to experienced gardeners will discover dozens of new ideas.

This book is more than just practical advice, you’ll learn how gardening can contribute to a sustainable lifestyle and give you a sense of accomplishment, peace of mind, and overall joy. Make the Family Garden Plan your “grow-to” guide for good eating and greater well-being for you and your loved ones.      

Enjoy!