In honor of Earth Day, I’m honoring 5 of my favorite gardening books.  Truthfully, I have a lot of favorites, but for one reason or another these top 5 tend to always be close at hand (a little dog-eared and filled with lots of sticky notes) whether I’m digging for practical info or merely in need of some inspiration.

Earth On Her Hands – The American Woman in Her Garden, by Starr Ockenga

This book has inspired me for over 1o years now.  The author, Starr Ockenga features 18 amazing women, each with a lifelong passion for gardening. Each gardener proudly poses in their element, and shares decades of gardening wisdom and tips.  Their gardens are truly a labor of love, that for the most part, they themselves created, developed, and nurture. If you’re looking for inspiration (and motivation) – you’ll most definitely find it here.

The Elements of Organic Gardening, by HRH The Prince of Wales with Stephanie Donaldson

Prince Charles of Great Britain puts his Royal Highness’ know-how in gardening into a beautiful book that illustrates his thoughtfulness and very hands-on approach to organic gardening.  Lots of good, valuable gardening ideas and stunning photography featuring his beautiful gardens at Highgrove, Clarence House, and Birkhall.

Gardening for a Lifetime – How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older, by Sydney Eddison

A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to see Sydney’s gardens right here in Newtown on the annual Newtown Historic House and Gardens Tour.  What I loved most about her gardens was their nature; not formal or fussy, her gardens felt like an extension of the woods that surrounded her home.  And in this book, Sydney gives really useful, down-to-earth gardening advice for keeping it simple and manageable.  She shares wonderful tips she has learned over her many years of being a master gardener, as well as what she would do differently now in hindsight. A very good read.

Garden Talk – Ask Me Anything, by C.Z. Guest

This wonderful book is one I keep by my night table.  I love that it is categorized by seasons and filled with all kinds of wide-ranging tid-bits of info; so many of our gardening questions, from fish fertilizer to bulb storage, are answered here. Even though this is a Q & A kind of read – it also brings C.Z.’s voice and personal style into the mix.  She definitely brings her Country House vibe to her readers.

Gertrude Jekyll and The Country House Garden – From the Archives of Country Life, by Judith B. Tankard

To me, the Grand Dame of garden designers of the 20th century, Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) reigns supreme when I imagine the epitome of an English garden.  This book features her many archived Country Life Magazine gardening articles that she had written and had commissioned to have photographed.  It’s a peek into great English Country house gardens – then and now.  Many of the gardens pictured may be a little over the top – but inspiring nevertheless.  A most beautiful coffee table book.

Happy Earth Day!

Love, Nora

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