Book Reviews: Three books to get you out into the garden

It is the time of year when many people look out of their windows and realise they have a garden they have not seen for a while.  It is also currently a time when many people have more time than they had expected (and indeed some had wished for) to spend in the garden.  I have reviewed these three very different books about gardening and nature, all of which may inform, encourage and entertain.

I have not paid for these books and I have not be paid to write these reviews.  My words and opinions are my own.

How to create an Eco Garden by John Walker
This is a book perfect for now on so many levels.  Eco gardening is something that personally I believe we should all take seriously and implement as much as we can.  I am by no means a perfect eco gardener and would make no claims to be so, but I try and know I could do so much better.

John talks us through the principles of eco gardening carefully and accessibly.  He explains why it matters and shows us the difference between a less and a more eco-friendly garden.  There are lots of step by step pictures, which is a format in a book I always appreciate.
Things that we might think we know such as how to water effectively, are explained carefully so that we better understand what we are aiming to achieve.

There are sections on seed sowing and weed control, about letting the grass grow and how to understand and develop sustainable landscaping.  At the end of the book there is a helpful calendar on what to do when.  What I like about this calender is that it is not sectioned by month but by which part of the season you are in.  Gardens do not understand months of the year, but they do understand seasons and this makes this calendar one of the best.

I learned a lot from this book: I found some of my habits were eco friendly and I did not know it, I also found that some of my habits could be easily improved and I liked that I did not feel preached at as I read.

How to create an eco garden is published by Lorenz Books

The Garden Jungle by Dave Goulson
As a keen gardener I spend a lot of time outdoors in all sorts of weather.  I see so many insects: flies, bugs, beetles and things that look rather stingy. This book is an important insight into why wildlife matters and what we need to be doing to encourage it rather than destroy.  I know we all know it matters.  We can talk about bees and ladybirds and people will generally nod in agreement, start talking about wasps and suddenly some of us (ok, me) pronounce them useless and quite frankly a source of terror.  Dave talks us through all sorts of insects, those we like and those we may have less affinity with and explains why they all matter.  There are discussions about the use of pesticides and the damage that they cause.  There are also discussions about growing native and non-native plants in our gardens.  I really liked the simple tip of how to find out when you are in a garden centre which plants are most attractive to bees/pollinators.  I will leave you to read the book to find out how.....

I loved this book, it is very easy to read and full of information.  Each chapter starts with a recipe, which was not something I expected but was a delight to find.  I have never met Dave but I have a feeling he writes as he speaks, there is a very clear voice in the book that is informal yet informative.  The book is also opinionated.  You can find out clearly what Dave thinks matters and what he thinks about some issues.  I like this too, it is part of that voice I could hear.  I was entertained by his chapter on ants, which declares that they will be here long after we have gone and that they are the 'tiny terminators of the backyard'.  As I once described them as being akin to Daleks I can only concur.

This is a great book to absorb.  You will learn a lot from it and be entertained by it.  I do need to state though that it is not an insect ID book, there are no pictures/illustrations.

The Garden Jungle by Dave Goulson is published by Vintage Publishing

I ate sunshine for breakfast by Michael Holland FLS and Philip Giordano
This final book of the trio is aimed at the younger end of the market for readers aged 7+.  It is a bright colourful book that is a joy to read.  It is full of information from Michael Holland who is an expert ecologist and the illustrations from Philip Giordano give the book vibrance and energy.
The book explains things simply and clearly.
There is just the right amount of information on each page, enough for you to read but not too much that your eyes begin to slide away.  The book explains about plant families, about poisons and about scents and smells.  There are projects to make throughout the book such as Bean Bag Boules and Invisible Ink.  You learn about plants that trap insects and also plant survival tactics.  As you breeze through this carnival of a book you pick up all sorts of information.
and I now firmly believe that this is what Charles Darwin looked like.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I will be gifting it to a friend who has two young children as I know they will love it.

I ate sunshine for breakfast by Michael Holland FLS and Philip Giordano is published by Flying Eye Books.