Best gardening books to read in 2023
Get advice from the top horticultural writers with our pick of the best gardening books on the market
Choosing a good gardening book can be difficult; there are hundreds out there vying for a place on your bookshelf. So, we’ve put together a guide to our favourites, which cover everything from creating a windowsill garden to choosing the right aspect for growing fruit and veg at home.
These are the handbooks we know and love here at BBC Countryfile Magazine, providing clear instructions, advice and plenty of handy photos and illustrations.
Don't forget to check out our best nature and wildlife books for an in-depth review of our favourite books, including new releases from 2023.
The best gardening books available now
No Dig by Charles Dowding
Want a thriving and productive veg plot without the back-breaking digging? No-dig expert Charles Dowding helps you grow bumper crops in harmony with nature, by preserving soil structure and nurturing fungal mycelium, in this inspiring all-new guide. There's step-by-step advice and photography to illustrate each part of the process, and calendars show what time of year to sow and harvest over 80 crops.
Reviewed by Margaret Bartlett
Veg in One Bed by Huw Richards
Aged just 12, Huw Richards started a YouTube channel to share his gardening experiences with the rest of the world. Now, in his early 20s, he’s racked up more than 30 million views on his videos and written a bestselling book to help would-be veg growers.
As its title suggests, Richards’ guide focuses on the techniques and tricks to growing all the veg you need in one raised bed. In great detail and with handy photos, it explains how to prepare, care for and harvest edible plants throughout the year, making sure you’re never left to go hungry.
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The Complete Gardener by Monty Don
Here, famous horticulturist and presenter Monty Don provides his best tips on creating your dream outdoor space. He runs through the aspects he recommends prioritising, and even allows the reader a sneak peek into his own garden at Long Meadow with a selection of high-quality photos.
Inside, there are 440 pages of useful information covering everything from specific plants and flowers to veg-growing, organic gardening and landscaping. There are even sections on wildlife and overcoming specific issues, such as dry soil.
RHS Gardening Through The Year by Ian Spence
If you’re after a comprehensive gardening manual with clear instructions, look no further than the RHS’s Gardening Through the Year. It breaks down a year of outdoor tasks into monthly jobs, with tips on ‘last chance’ projects and advice on how to ‘get ahead’. So, no matter the month, you can flip to the right page and find relevant information for you.
There are also a number of other lovely touches, like each month’s ‘star plant’. Plus, you can use the illustrated plant glossary to look up more than 350 different varieties.
The Modern Cottage Garden by Greg Loades
This helpful book takes the best aspects of the ‘traditional cottage garden’ and the ‘new perennial movement’ to create what Greg Loads has dubbed the ‘modern cottage garden’. With reference to real-life plots, he takes us through the process of developing our own fusion space.
The focus here is planting varieties that’ll look great for a big chunk of the year, without demanding a lot of maintenance. And you don’t even need a large garden to achieve the look - there’s plenty of advice on preparing small spaces and containers.
RHS Step-by-Step Veg Patch by Lucy Chamberlain
If starting a vegetable plot is on your bucket list, you can’t go wrong with Lucy Chamberlain’s step-by-step guide. She’s gained her experience tending the walled kitchen gardener at East Donyland Hall in Essex, where she’s Head Gardener.
Chamberlain’s book is a great reference tool, as it spotlights over 50 different fruits and vegetables, and even provides advice on growing them in particular settings, like window sills. There’s also plenty of photos to keep things interesting.
RHS Complete Gardener’s Manual by DK
The RHS has written a wide selection of useful gardening books, and this one should give a thorough insight into all the most important elements of creating an outdoor space.
Inside, you’ll find chapters on choosing your plants and designing a scheme, as well as tutorials on nurturing your plants, pruning them and even making your own compost.
Allotment Month By Month by Alan Buckingham
The best gardening books give clear advice on when to complete outdoor jobs, which is exactly what Alan Buckingham does in this useful guide. You get handy hints on the tasks to tackle each month, as well as seasonal tips.
Plus, there’s detailed information on sowing and harvesting over 60 different types of herbs, fruits and vegetables. Buckingham even includes advice on protecting your produce from pests and diseases.
Find the best British bird identification books or enjoy fiction with our list of country classics.
Drawing on a love of gardening and countryside walks, Alice works across Countryfile and Gardens Illustrated magazines to find and review the very best products for life in the great outdoors.
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