Books about Gardening, Plants, Seeds and Growing

Hello! My name is Holly and I am a volunteer with GWL. I love books and had lots of fun looking through the collection to find books for this list. Hope you check some of them out :) (they will be available to borrow as soon as the library re-opens; check out our news for more details)

  • My Garden (Book) by Jamaica Kinkaid

My Garden (Book) is an intimate, playful and incisive book on gardens, the plants that fill them, and the people who tend them. One of our finest writers on one of her greatest loves. Jamaica Kinkaid’s first garden in Vermont was a plot in the middle of her front lawn where she grew all of her favourite flowers. We learn of Kinkaid’s preference of certain plants over others, as well as her love of spring and summer, alongside her struggle to love winter as much, since the colder season hides her garden.

  • A Garden in the Hills by Katharine Stewart

This book features beautiful illustrations by Anne Shortreed and is a sort of handbook for gardening, as well as offering knowledge about cooking, wine-making and bee-keeping. The reader follows one year in the garden of Katharine Stewart located in the Scottish Highlands. As the seasons pass we learn about the challenges that come with trying to grow things in a difficult climate and terrain. We also get lots of personal and humorous insights. Stewart has an adoration for living things and some argue that this is what makes the book a captivating and very rewarding read.

  • Collected Poems by Lorna Goodison

Gardens are featured in lots of Lorna Goodison’s poems. They are used to explore many themes including the effect of colonialism on the landscape of Jamaica. Jamaica is where Goodison was born and the country’s scenery, people, and its social and historical issues often feature in her poetry. Prior to turning her focus to poetry, Goodison was a painter. Arguably her background with this medium has contributed to her poems being beautifully rich in imagery – masterpieces created with words as opposed to a paint palette.

  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden is a children’s book following the story of Mary Lennox. Mary is a spoiled ten year old girl who at the beginning of the novel lives in India with her father and mother. Early on however, tragedy strikes and consequently she is sent to live with her elusive uncle. His dwelling is a large and drafty mansion on an English moor, vastly different to the warm climate Mary was used to in India. Mary soon discovers that the mansion holds many secrets, including a hidden away garden. The reader is sent on a journey about growth, both literally and figuratively.

  • I Am the Seed that Grew the Tree: A Nature Poem for Everyday of the Year edited by Fiona Waters

This is a book of poems intended for children but can of course be appreciated by all ages. The poems span centuries and continents including works by Emily Dickinson and Owl Woman (of the Tohono O’odham people) to Grace Nichols and Carol Ann Duffy.
The illustrations were a real labour of love and took nearly four years to complete! But each one compliments the poems wonderfully, capturing themes whilst simultaneously allowing a place for the reader’s imagination.

If you would like to read more about Frann Preston-Gannon’s journey to getting the book illustrated click here.

  • The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us – A Diary by Emma Mitchell

In this book Emma Mitchell tells us about her problems with depression and how moving from a city to the countryside greatly helped both her mental and physical health. She keeps track of the flora and fauna near her Cambridgeshire home over the course of a year and the pages of this diary are filled with her own drawings, paintings and photographs.



These books can only be read in the library but are still worth a mention.

  • In Your Garden by V. Sackville-West

This is a collection of articles written by Victoria (Vita) Sackville-West about gardening. She vividly describes plants as well as the challenges that come with trying to grow and take care of them. This is a volume that is informative and accessible which came from a woman who was highly successful during her day and whose knowledge is still invaluable for any budding gardener.

  • The Virago Book of Women Gardeners edited by Deborah Kellaway

In this book Deborah Kellaway has compiled a variety of thought-provoking extracts from the eighteenth century to the present day written by a selection of women who have contributed to the world of gardening and gardens. Within these extracts the reader will find lots of advice, good humour and many anecdotes. A good book to dip in and out of time and time again!


Just a side note, my nephew recently won a national art competition on the theme of “Amazing Nature” (Category F) and his work is on display in the National Galleries in Edinburgh (and available online here).

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