Gardening Reference Books

Gardening Reference Books


Gardening many do you have and how many of those do you actually use?

A few months ago I tackled the task of cleaning out my books to donate to the local Book Fair with the intention of donating anything that I had not used for a couple of years. I discovered that I had not referenced too many of my gardening books for some time except my tatty, much thumbed, Yates Garden Guide. Of course this could be due to the fact that I have access to several knowledgeable, walking talking sources of gardening info right here at work so I shall pass on the majority of the books in the hope that others may find them useful. My copy of the Garden Guide has lots of notations and tags for quick reference giving it a bit of a feathered look. The odd page has smudgy fingerprints looking suspiciously like I have been in too much of a hurry to find an answer to stop and wash my hands - soil or compost? In my opinion, this book is the equivalent of the Edmonds Cookbook in my kitchen and I don't know of too many homes without one of those on their bookshelves. Do any of you agree with me? It would appear that most of the staff use this book as a good, solid all-round gardening reference.

Here at Kings Seeds, we have a wonderful array of reference books on the bookshelves. Gerard has been collecting them for many years and it's lovely to have such an extensive range to flick through for info and stories. When referencing these books during my research, I tended to get a bit distracted, reading lots of interesting facts and admiring all the fantastic pictures.

Gerard is quite passionate about his books and when I asked him to name his favourite, he did not hesitate to wave his much loved copy of Heirloom Vegetable Gardening by William Woys Weaver at me. I was then informed that he's really looking forward to meeting the author later in the year when he attends the National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, USA. This book is also one of the original books he inherited from Ross King, the founder of Kings Seeds, and he refers to the book on a regular basis.

His next favourite is a National Geographic book called Edible, An illustrated guide to the Worlds Food Plants which makes sense when he is such a big fan of the National Geographic magazine and journalistic photography in particular.

Another much referred-to book is Weed Seeds of New Zealand which helps Gerard to identify the nasties that must be eliminated from our seed. There are great photos and comprehensive information about size and shape of many weed seeds and Gerard reckons there have been very few times when he has not been able to reference a seed in this book.

One of Gerard's favourite authors is Amy Goldman who has the most wonderful photos in her books. Amy was on the board of the US Seed Savers Association. On our bookshelf we currently have two of her beautiful books, The Compleat Squash and The Heirloom Tomato.

The latest book Gerard has purchased is The Heirloom Life Gardener by Jere & Emilee Gettle who are co-founders of The Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. The Gettle family are very passionate about sharing their knowledge with like-minded people who seek a truer way of living and real food.

Another much read book inherited from Ross King is Cornucopia, A Source Book of Edible Plants. This has pages and pages of botanical listings, cultivar listings and sources.

One of the best books on our bookshelf for photos is The Bizarre & Incredible World of Plants. The photos of seeds are really close-up, colourful and incredible. I wish I could share all the photos in this blog because it shows how truly amazing plants and seeds are.

I thought it was relevant for this blog to check in with the rest of the staff to see which books they like or refer to the most for their gardening. Some had too many to consider picking one but I persevered and here is the list I came up with.

  • Liz recently purchased Organic Vegetable Gardening by Annette McFarlane. She also has a favourite called Get Fresh by Dennis Greville. It just happens that we had a few of this particular book to give away in our May newsletter giveaway.

  • Barbara has a very definite favourite The Cook's Garden by Mary Brown, Helen Leach & Nancy Tichborne. This is a NZ book that provides a combination of gardening and cooking advice for cooks who garden and gardeners that cook.

  • Jude uses a precious book that was her Dads, Gardens for Free, A Propagation Handbook for New Zealanders and she also refers to the Yates Garden Guide.

  • Deb & Carmen say they use Yates Garden Guide lots.

Lastly, we recommend Touchwood Books as a great source for gardening books. They were our May Early Bird special and ten lucky customers received a wonderful book to keep for themselves or to give away for Mothers' Day.

Maybe its time to buy a new gardening book. If so, I hope you are inspired by this blog. Happy reading!!!

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