If you’re stuck for what to buy the gardener or food enthusiast in your life, here are some suggestions for excellent books and calendars. It’s a bit biased because they are all by friends – but you’ll be supporting small businesses!The last postage dates for delivery before Christmas in the UK are Friday 18th December for 2nd class and Monday 21st December for 1st class.
Anastasia Eden‘s Fantastic Recipe Books and Plant Based Calendar
I have several of Ana’s books and a copy of her gorgeous full colour calendar. Ana has worked as a plant based chef for many years and shares her delicious recipes in her self published books: vegan, gluten free and free from refined sugars. Her sweet treats are especially sensational! Incredibly yummy and full of good things. Buy signed copies from her shop here, or the usual online places.
I’m especially fond of her calendar, which came out of a conversation we had one morning via FB messenger! The photography, all done herself, inspires one to try out the recipe of the month. It’s going to take pride of place in my kitchen in my new house!
Anastasia also has an excellent You Tube channel. Sign up to her newsletter to receive regular scrumptious recipes, most of which are accompanied by a video explaining how to make the dish. The recipes almost entirely use the kind of store cupboard and veg basket ingredients you’ll already have at home – the odd one has moringa and other more unusual ingredients, but there’s no “essence of moonbeam” that will cost you £9.95 at the supermarket only to languish at the back of the cupboard after using one teaspoon …
Jack Wallington’s Wild About Weeds: Garden Design with Rebel Plants
Regular readers of my blog will know how fond I am of many of my “weeds”, especially how they provide sustenance and habitat for the wild things. I read Jack’s first book beside the swimming pool when I was on holiday in Madeira in January, before things started going very odd indeed for the world. It’s a great read and really inspires you to look at your weeds with renewed enthusiasm and fondness! Jack doesn’t sell copies directly, so order from a book shop.
Jack has a regular feature in various publications including the Telegraph gardening pages, is a talented garden designer and has written another book for the RHS – The Gardener’s Book of Patterns: a directory of design, style and inspiration. He also has an interesting website with its own online community.
Brigit Strawbridge Howard : Dancing with Bees
This enchanting book is written by the most inspirational bee speaker I have heard – she is worth seeing just to witness her range of bee dances! This book isn’t about keeping bees, but rather is the journey of a deepening relationship with nature. It’s beautifully written and you won’t want to put it down!
Buy signed copies – with a special bookmark – directly from Brigit here. A lifelong environmentalist, Brigit’s passion for nature shines in this book.
Adam Jones’ Welsh Gardening Calendar: Calendr Garddio 2021
I really enjoy following Adam’s no dig plot on Instagram (@adamynyrardd) where he shares informative posts from his life full of gardening. All of his posts are in Welsh but there’s a very helpful translation button! His calendar guides us through the months of the year sharing tips and timings which are perfect for the Welsh climate – I will be ordering my copy for my new house. Adam is selling copies via Etsy here.
And for those of you who can read Welsh:
Calendr Garddio Cymraeg sy’n ein tywys drwy fisoedd y flwyddyn yn rhannu tasgau garddio, cyngor a dyddiadau hau sy’n berffaith ar gyfer ein hinsawdd ni yma yng Nghymru. Dyma’r dyddiadau y bydda i’n dilyn yn flynyddol yn fy ngardd i, yng Ngorllewin Cymru.
Calendr Maint A4 sydd yn agor i fod yn faint A3 wrth ei hongian (twll wedi’i greu yn barod i’w hongian).
Cymerwch olwg ar fy nghyfrif Instagram @adamynyrardd am fwy o wybodaeth
Colette O’Neill’s books and calendar
I’ve been corresponding with Colette via social media and email for some years now and had the great pleasure of finally meeting her in real life at Bealtaine Cottage during 2019. I love her books, especially A Cottage and Three Acres which reads as though she is sitting beside you, explaining how she created her garden and home, from a monoculture to the vibrant nature-filled polyculture it is today. It’s giving me great pleasure to re-read Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter beside my fireside – it has become a seasonal treat, along with reading Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas In Wales and other winter stories.
As well as her self published books, her shop also sells her calendar, a fantastic detailed map of the garden and some bumper stickers.
All of Colette’s work is printed and posted from Ireland. She has a fantastic You Tube channel.
Christopher Trotter’s recipe books – a perfect stocking filler size and price
These beautifully photographed little books are packed full of recipes, ideal presents for gardeners wondering what to do with their home grown abundance! The titles are: Tomato, Cauliflower, Kale, Courgette, Carrot, Beetroot, Broccoli (and one called The Hairy Bakers, which is a book of dog food treats!) Mouthwatering and easy to follow recipes for soups, sides, main dishes and some surprises – I am going to make Christopher’s Carrot Sorbet this Christmas! The recipe books are omnivorous (recipes may contain dairy, fish, meat etc). Buy signed copies directly from the author here. He also offers a recipe book bundle of all of his titles.
Based in Fife Scotland, Christopher has run Michelin starred restaurants and offers a fantastic range of Scottish culinary tours and workshops (covid permitting of course…) We’ve not actually met yet, but are both members of the Guild of Food Writers, hence the connection. I have copied of “carrot” and “kale”, both well thumbed books.
Huw Richard’s books: Veg in One Bed and Grow Food for Free
Another Welsh author! I’ve known Huw for a few years now and like his upbeat enthusiasm for gardening and friendly manner. I visited Huw’s garden at his parent’s smallholding earlier this year (I will post the photos here over the winter when things are a bit quieter) and it turns out that the house I am buying is quite close to there. Huw’s dad Steven has a gorgeous new instagram account all about their stunning smallholding, do check it out: @stevenswelshsmallholding
Huw started off posting You Tube videos as a young teen and they have been a roaring success. He grows using no dig methods and although we don’t quite agree on everything (straw, Huw?!) his books and videos are beautifully presented, clearly explained and very popular. The same age as my youngest son, he’s a lovely lad who is very supportive of others. Buy Huw’s books from the store of your choice. Huw is also offering a new range of permaculture t shirts printed on sustainable organic cotton fabric here.
Charles Dowding’s books and calendar
Charles’ books are fantastic (obviously I am biased here as we have worked together for 12 years and were a couple for quite a lot of that!) I recommend all of them – especially No Dig Organic Home and Garden! Charles has recently published a new book Charles Dowding’s No Dig Gardening Course 1 and his calendar for 2021, which includes key sowing timings, growing tips and more. These publications are also available as digital downloads and he has special “double pack” offers at special prices on his website including the calendar and Course book double pack.
Charles has a huge depth of gardening knowledge which shines through his work, and a splendid You Tube channel.
Books For Children…..
Annabelle Padwick: You Can Grow Your Own Food
I first “met” Annabelle on social media when she was starting out growing and she has visited us here in Somerset a few times since then. She runs “Life at No 27” therapeutic gardens, helping many people to overcome mental and physical health issues with gardening as part of their therapy. Her first book is full of fun activities for children to get involved with, not just in the garden but also colouring, puzzles and tracking their growing in this interactive book, for a permanent record of their gardening. The book is for all ages but especially 7-11 year olds.
Annabelle is the founder of National Growing for Wellbeing Week and is a passionate advocate of gardening as part of well being. Find out more here.
The book is part of the “You Can..,” series from Collins. Annabelle is keen to get everyone growing for their mental and physical health. This is an ideal book to encourage children to get outside and their hands in the soil.
Lee Connelly: How To Get Kids Gardening
Lee – the “skinny jean gardener who co-ran the Blue Peter garden with his brother – has self published this bright and lively gardening book aimed at encouraging children to grow. The deadline for ordering this title directly from Lee is Wednesday 16th, and it is currently on offer at £10. Lee hosts an award winning podcast – including an episode featuring me. Lee’s book launch for How To Get Kids Gardening was the last event I attended before the first lockdown! The book is filled with fun, easy to follow and exciting ideas for getting small people enthused.
Filled with affordable low cost tips to get the whole family outside, this is an ideal book for holidays (or even lockdowns…) Lee’s mission is to help families create real memories together gardening!