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Best garden books for Christmas

Catherine Stewart

Catherine Stewart

December 2, 2012

OK you already know this is going to feature some fabulous books from GardenDrum bloggers. But there’s a few others in here too! Most of these books are by Australian writers so will be difficult to get in other countries.

500 Plants by Angus Stewart

Allen and Unwin RRP $35.00

Here are the top 500 Australian plants – the tried and tested, the popular cultivars, the ones that won’t turn up their heels and die on you – and commercially available. Fully illustrated and with handy top 10 purpose-driven lists, 500 Plants collects Angus’s favourites in his journey through the world of Australian plants. With both new and old cultivars, or favourite wild species, there is something in this book for every Australian climate and major soil type.

Urban Sanctuary by Janine Mendel

Hardie Grant RRP $59.95

Reviewed here on GardenDrum, this book is a well-written exploration of garden design for those with small gardens – or small garden areas within a larger garden. Excellent photographs, plans and drawings support Janine’s explanations of her design principles and philosophy.


Gardening on a Shoestring by Helen McKerral

This book is packed with value for money strategies that show you how to: Find and recognise bargains; Design a money-saving garden; Select cost-effective pesticides; Recycle resources; Buy one plant, get four free; Pay less for annuals, bulbs, trees and roses; Save on water bills; Make your own fertilisers; and much, much more. Take the first step toward becoming a money-smart gardener.

Down to Earth Garden Design by Phil Dudman

ABC Books RRP $35.00

Experienced gardener and landscape designer Phil Dudman breaks down the design process into a series of simple steps -learn how to draft your design, develop your style and draw a master plan and planting plan. You’ll quickly be on your way to building retaining walls, steps and pergolas; laying pavers and pathways; and even installing drainage. And when the construction is done, he shows you how to establish a lawn, improve your soil and ensure your new garden flourishes.

Seasons in My Kitchen Garden by Marcelle Nankervis

Hardie Grant RRP $39.95

Marcelle describes her tree-change journey and conversion of a derelict paddock (on a 20 acre hobby farm), to a fully functional potager/vegetable garden including orchard, vegetables, herbs and chickens. Her sustainable practices and organic solutions are sympathetic to the heritage of the site and the history of the area. There’s practical, step-by-step information to help anyone establish a kitchen garden of their own, whether they have a square metre of soil or half an acre (and more).

Creating an Australian Garden by Angus Stewart

Allen and Unwin RRP $49.99

ABC TV gardening guru Angus Stewart has worked for decades on making Australian plants more gardener-friendly. Covering over 450 native varieties, this guide clearly lays out Stewart’s knowledge, so that you can create the Aussie garden of your dreams. There are tips on planning a garden from scratch, water-saving methods, adapting an existing garden and plant selection.

The Organic Guide to Vegetable Gardens by Jennifer Stackhouse and Debbie McDonald

Murdoch Books RRP $29.99

Growing fruit and vegetables in your own backyard, and feeding your family with food freshly harvested can be extremely rewarding. Better still is knowing that you can do it all without the use of chemicals, just as nature intended. The Organic Guide to Edible Gardens is a fully illustrated step-by-step guide to growing authentic produce at home—from purchasing your first seedlings, understanding the growth cycle, sourcing biological fertilisers, controlling pests and diseases and ultimately sustaining healthy, organic edible plants

The Gardenist by Michael McCoy

Plum RRP $44.99

Teasing out the anatomy of gardens to discover the roles played by different plants, Michael shows you how to harness the structural power of trees and shrubs to deliberately shape a deeply satisfying outdoor space, and then explains how to use bulbs, herbaceous perennials and annuals to decorate these spaces with glorious flowers and colour. Practical and easy to navigate, The Gardenist will empower you to create an irresistible outdoor space that is great to look at and magical to be in.

Planting Techniques by Jennifer Stackhouse and Debbie McDonald

Murdoch Books RRP $29.99

With information on selecting the right gardening tools and purchasing plants, through to planting and propagation, this book explains the ins and outs of how to achieve a healthy garden. With step by step photographs and useful hints and tips, it’s a must have for every gardening enthusiast. Chapters include: Getting Started with Plants, Growing from Seed, Transplanting, Care and Maintenance

Gardens of a Lifetime – Dame Elisabeth Murdoch at Cruden Farm by Anne Latreille

MacMillan RRP $59.95

Almost 80 years ago Keith Murdoch gave his young bride a wedding present that would be of very special significance throughout the intervening years. A small grazing property on the outskirts of Melbourne, they called it Cruden Farm, and it was here that their family grew up and the garden evolved. A born gardener, with a practical “hands-on” approach, an eye for beauty, and a passion for trees and flowers, Dame Elisabeth calls it her “Garden of a Lifetime”. This beautifully colour-illustrated book traces the history of the garden’s creation and guides the reader around its spectacular features, while entries for the months of the year give practical hints on upkeep.

Decoding Garden Advice: The science behind the 100 most common recommendations by Jeff Gillman and Meleah Maynard

Timber Press RRP $19.99

Tilling is the best way to prepare a garden for planting. Gardens should always be mulched. Only divide perennials in summer. Never water plants in direct sunlight. Everyone seems to have advice for gardeners. But how much of this advice is good advice? Covering more than 100 universal gardening “dos and don’ts,” Decoding Gardening Advice is the first book to provide gardeners with the real answers.

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Tammy Schmitt
10 years ago

I’ve already put the last book in my Amazon.com cart! Thanks for this list!