Life

Four gardening titles that'll bring a bit of festive cheer

Some recommended stocking fillers for the green-fingered reader...

Gardener's World presenter Monty Don
Gardener's World presenter Monty Don Gardener's World presenter Monty Don
  • The Edible Flower by Jo Facer and Erin Bunting (Laurence King Publishing)

In gardening there’s usually a distinction between edibles and ornamentals but in this book a Co Down-based couple have fun blurring that often arbitrary line. The Edible Flower is a book for gardeners and cooks alike, as well as for those who enjoy both. The pair’s debut includes not only a range of recipes utilising seasonal blooms but also a step-by-step guide on how to grow your key ingredients. There’s also useful tips on collecting flowers from the wild and turning them into gastronomic marvels. From primrose, honey and parsnip cakes to courgette flower tacos, dill flower aquavit, pickled magnolia katsu curry and more, The Edible Flower invites readers to feast, celebrate and entertain with more than 50 recipes for small plates, mains, desserts, snacks and drinks.

The Edible Flower by Jo Facer and Erin Bunting
The Edible Flower by Jo Facer and Erin Bunting The Edible Flower by Jo Facer and Erin Bunting
  • The Gardening Book by Monty Don (BBC Books) 

Such is the public standing of Montagu Denis Wyatt Don OBE that a self-penned book about his toiletry habits would probably prove a best-seller. Thankfully, the Gardeners' World presenter has yet to twig onto his uncritical appeal so continues to write to a high, informative standard. This book is billed as Monty’s most practical and accessible book to date, and is definitely aimed at the less experienced gardener. The content is based on the most popular gardening questions Monty has been asked over the years, presented in an easy to digest format. After reading, the budding gardener will have a much better understanding of the many ways in which gardening can be rewarding. It also reassures beginners that it's not essential to be familiar with the Latin name for every plant and know the exact pH of your soil.

The Gardening Book by Monty Don
The Gardening Book by Monty Don The Gardening Book by Monty Don
  • Grasses for Gardens and Landscapes: Design, Selection, Cultivation by Neil Lucas (Timber Press)

Few people know more about ornamental grasses and how to plant them effectively than Neil Lucas. Something of a grass evangelist, he boasts no fewer than ten consecutive Chelsea gold medals. Based at the Knoll Garden nursery in Dorset, he's a leading exponent of the naturalistic style that can be traced back more than a century to Irish-born gardener and journalist William Robinson. Lucas shares his forebears’ dislike of big, boring lawns, instead preferring something more reminiscent of a savanna or wetland. Ornamental grasses have long been a mainstay of contemporary planting design, as integral components of commercial and residential landscapes and naturalistic plantings. In Grasses for Gardens and Landscapes, Lucas profiles the best ornamental grasses available while detailing the most appropriate planting schemes. There's also plenty of design and maintenance tips.

Grasses for Gardens and Landscapes: Design, Selection, Cultivation by Neil Lucas
Grasses for Gardens and Landscapes: Design, Selection, Cultivation by Neil Lucas Grasses for Gardens and Landscapes: Design, Selection, Cultivation by Neil Lucas

Read more: Casual Gardener: Petals on the plate

Casual Gardener: Rescuing the courgettes' tarnished reputation

  • The No-Dig Children’s Gardening Book by Charles Dowding (Welbeck)

Nurturing an interest in growing plants is as magical experience and one that you hope will stay with a child for a lifetime. The No-Dig Children’s Gardening book aims to help you along the way with tips and projects that appeal to all ages. With enchanting illustrations by Kristyna Litten, author Charles Dowding explains how healthy soil leads to healthy plants, and at the same time supports a population of amazing creatures that live in the earth. The book explains about the magic of compost, the amazing power of seeds, and how to grow plants and flowers that'll bring more wildlife into your garden. There are step-by-step activities and a planting chart to show you how you can grow food for your dinner table no matter the season. The perfect book for any budding young gardener. 

The No-Dig Children’s Gardening Book by Charles Dowding
The No-Dig Children’s Gardening Book by Charles Dowding The No-Dig Children’s Gardening Book by Charles Dowding