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The Gardening Book

An Accessible Guide to Growing Houseplants, Flowers, and Vegetables for Your Ideal Garden

Author Monty Don
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Hardcover
$32.50 US
8"W x 10.9"H x 1.2"D   | 53 oz | 8 per carton
On sale Apr 09, 2024 | 352 Pages | 9780593797792
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A fresh approach to gardening by bestselling author and England’s favorite gardener Monty Don.

“Think of your garden like a meal. When you select a recipe, you’re choosing it based on inclination, experience and circumstance. Making a garden, big or small, uses exactly the same process.”

If you are new to gardening, it can seem daunting—with Latin names, various soil types and seasonal requirements, it feels like a lot to learn. But with Monty Don’s new book as a guide you will discover just how joyful and rewarding gardening can be.

Whether you want to grow your own vegetables, create a child-friendly garden, connect with nature, or make the most of houseplants, Monty will help you unlock your space’s potential, showing you what, where and when to plant. The Gardening Book gives you the basics to grow over 100 popular flowers, foods, shrubs, houseplants and more—each one has a clear, concise, format: what you need, timing, method, and step-by-step photos, all on one spread. It’s a refreshingly accessible approach that will help you build a garden which best serves your needs and enhances your lifestyle.
Monty Don O.B.E. is the UK's leading garden writer and broadcaster. He has been lead presenter of Gardeners' World since 2003 and since 2011 the programme has come from his own garden, Longmeadow, in Herefordshire. He has written a weekly gardening column for the Daily Mail since 2004, and published over 20 books, including the bestsellers Down to Earth, Nigel: My Family and Other Dogs, and My Garden World. Japanese Gardens, his book with Derry Moore, was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award View titles by Monty Don
Introduction

If you are new to gardening it can seem a bit daunting. There is an awful lot to learn, a whole load of Latin names and a world of pests, diseases and seasonal imperatives waiting to scupper your best horticultural intentions.

But don’t worry about any of that. It is not an exam. No one is judging you. The only point in gardening is to try and make something beautiful whilst working in tandem with nature. As a by-product you will experience intense and lasting satisfaction. That is not a bad deal.

A garden is no more random than a meal. When you select food from a menu or a shop you are editing based upon inclination, experience and circumstance. Making a garden uses exactly the same processes.

So the most important question to ask yourself before you start any kind of garden project, is what do you want from it? How can it best serve your needs and desires?

Challenge some of the preconceptions of a ‘good garden’. Do you really want a lawn? If you have children then it is almost certainly a good idea but in a small garden lawns are hard to look after and keep looking good. Their function as an open space can often be better performed by a paved area, which will have the advantage of being a firm, dry surface all year round.

You do not have to have flowers. I have seen stunning gardens that are entirely green all year round. You do not even have to have any plants. A garden is whatever you want it to be. No one else can dream your dreams for you.

Although gardens often serve different functions for different occasions and users, no garden can do everything. The more specific you are about what you want from a garden, the more likely you are to create a space that works well for you.

Of course, your lifestyle will evolve and change with time—but so can gardens. In fact, one of the first things to understand about any garden is that light, the seasons, weather and the rhythm of plant growth mean that it is constantly changing. It cannot be fixed at one perfect moment in the way that a built space can be fixed.

Gardens are only alive when they are interactive. Passively admiring a show garden might be pleasurable and informative but nothing is actually happening. In effect such gardens would perform just as effectively as pictures—which is perhaps why they work so well on television.

Every garden needs a gardener to come alive. The gardener, however inexperienced (or frankly, bewildered), is always directly part of the process of the garden itself. It is a relationship between mankind and the natural world. The way that you walk around it, the effect of footfall on the soil, the way that colours, textures and fragrances impact you all shape that relationship.

Anybody who has had the good fortune to enjoy a lovely garden will testify to the extent that it enriches and adds to their lives, and the profound beneficial effect it has on physical and mental health.

This works with all kinds of gardens, of every type and situation. We are conditioned to think that there are archetypal gardens that are ‘better’ than others, and feel pressure from media of all kinds to aspire or conform to those paradigms. I am sure that I have been guilty of being party to this at times. But it is not true and not helpful to anyone trying to make a garden that is relevant to them and their life.

The truth is, a garden is a creative process. It can be whatever you want or need it to be.

No garden can please everybody. But every garden can be a delight for those that use and live in it. The key to making your garden right for you and the way you live your life is this process of editing and decision making.

To help focus how you can channel your garden, however big or small, to best complement and enrich your particular lifestyle and needs, I think that most gardens can be whittled down to six main areas of focus. There is obviously overlap between them, but each has its own distinct characteristics and horticultural drivers that will affect the significant initial decisions you make.

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About

A fresh approach to gardening by bestselling author and England’s favorite gardener Monty Don.

“Think of your garden like a meal. When you select a recipe, you’re choosing it based on inclination, experience and circumstance. Making a garden, big or small, uses exactly the same process.”

If you are new to gardening, it can seem daunting—with Latin names, various soil types and seasonal requirements, it feels like a lot to learn. But with Monty Don’s new book as a guide you will discover just how joyful and rewarding gardening can be.

Whether you want to grow your own vegetables, create a child-friendly garden, connect with nature, or make the most of houseplants, Monty will help you unlock your space’s potential, showing you what, where and when to plant. The Gardening Book gives you the basics to grow over 100 popular flowers, foods, shrubs, houseplants and more—each one has a clear, concise, format: what you need, timing, method, and step-by-step photos, all on one spread. It’s a refreshingly accessible approach that will help you build a garden which best serves your needs and enhances your lifestyle.

Author

Monty Don O.B.E. is the UK's leading garden writer and broadcaster. He has been lead presenter of Gardeners' World since 2003 and since 2011 the programme has come from his own garden, Longmeadow, in Herefordshire. He has written a weekly gardening column for the Daily Mail since 2004, and published over 20 books, including the bestsellers Down to Earth, Nigel: My Family and Other Dogs, and My Garden World. Japanese Gardens, his book with Derry Moore, was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award View titles by Monty Don

Excerpt

Introduction

If you are new to gardening it can seem a bit daunting. There is an awful lot to learn, a whole load of Latin names and a world of pests, diseases and seasonal imperatives waiting to scupper your best horticultural intentions.

But don’t worry about any of that. It is not an exam. No one is judging you. The only point in gardening is to try and make something beautiful whilst working in tandem with nature. As a by-product you will experience intense and lasting satisfaction. That is not a bad deal.

A garden is no more random than a meal. When you select food from a menu or a shop you are editing based upon inclination, experience and circumstance. Making a garden uses exactly the same processes.

So the most important question to ask yourself before you start any kind of garden project, is what do you want from it? How can it best serve your needs and desires?

Challenge some of the preconceptions of a ‘good garden’. Do you really want a lawn? If you have children then it is almost certainly a good idea but in a small garden lawns are hard to look after and keep looking good. Their function as an open space can often be better performed by a paved area, which will have the advantage of being a firm, dry surface all year round.

You do not have to have flowers. I have seen stunning gardens that are entirely green all year round. You do not even have to have any plants. A garden is whatever you want it to be. No one else can dream your dreams for you.

Although gardens often serve different functions for different occasions and users, no garden can do everything. The more specific you are about what you want from a garden, the more likely you are to create a space that works well for you.

Of course, your lifestyle will evolve and change with time—but so can gardens. In fact, one of the first things to understand about any garden is that light, the seasons, weather and the rhythm of plant growth mean that it is constantly changing. It cannot be fixed at one perfect moment in the way that a built space can be fixed.

Gardens are only alive when they are interactive. Passively admiring a show garden might be pleasurable and informative but nothing is actually happening. In effect such gardens would perform just as effectively as pictures—which is perhaps why they work so well on television.

Every garden needs a gardener to come alive. The gardener, however inexperienced (or frankly, bewildered), is always directly part of the process of the garden itself. It is a relationship between mankind and the natural world. The way that you walk around it, the effect of footfall on the soil, the way that colours, textures and fragrances impact you all shape that relationship.

Anybody who has had the good fortune to enjoy a lovely garden will testify to the extent that it enriches and adds to their lives, and the profound beneficial effect it has on physical and mental health.

This works with all kinds of gardens, of every type and situation. We are conditioned to think that there are archetypal gardens that are ‘better’ than others, and feel pressure from media of all kinds to aspire or conform to those paradigms. I am sure that I have been guilty of being party to this at times. But it is not true and not helpful to anyone trying to make a garden that is relevant to them and their life.

The truth is, a garden is a creative process. It can be whatever you want or need it to be.

No garden can please everybody. But every garden can be a delight for those that use and live in it. The key to making your garden right for you and the way you live your life is this process of editing and decision making.

To help focus how you can channel your garden, however big or small, to best complement and enrich your particular lifestyle and needs, I think that most gardens can be whittled down to six main areas of focus. There is obviously overlap between them, but each has its own distinct characteristics and horticultural drivers that will affect the significant initial decisions you make.