When I was asked if I wanted to review these two books I could not have said yes fast enough. I had already seen that they had been published and I had added them to my 'I need to read these books' list.
What to sow, grow and do by Benjamin Pope
We are led through general pruning advice and gardening terms. The seasons are explained to us and the book is sectioned into seasons. Not just the four standard seasons though, the more nuanced early/late part of each season as early Spring and late Spring (and so on) which are quite different in terms of what you can expect and do in the garden.
The photographs by Kim Lightbody illustrate tasks and add beauty to the book and complement the words perfectly.
This is a wonderful book and will add value to any gardener's bookshelf (there is space, I promise).
What to sow, grow and do by Benjamin Pope is a Bloom Book for Frances Lincoln Publishing
Sustainable Garden by Marian Boswall
But I am getting ahead of myself, as Marian starts the book with talking about thinking about how we live and how we want to live. She talks about creating spaces with our gardens, with nature, rather than just doing things to it. Marian asks us how we want to live. What is practical for us to do to be more sustainable. Rather than rushing into things Marian wants us to stop and think and find our way that will work with our lives. Marian is reasonable, she knows that some people have more money than others and some more time than others. Marian is open enough to say that if you are reading the book you probably are lucky enough to have enough to eat as you can afford to buy the book; but also that you might be still very aware that we need to live more within our means. So the book is about what you can do with the resources that you already have. (You can of course pass the book on when you have finished with it. I am a great believer in charity shops and in buying second hand books.) If you have the budget, but little time then you might pay someone to help with your garden, if you have no budget but more time then you can do it yourself at a pace that works for you. You do not have to go and buy lots of plants and new things, indeed Marian is saying work with what you have when you can.
Cost is not just about money, cost is also to the planet. Marian talks about the price of peat in terms of its impact on the planet. There is a discussion about water and how to use it responsibly and about the use (or not) of plastics. These may well not be new themes to you, but that does not make them something that could be omitted and Marian explains well and gives us ways to garden keeping these issues in mind.
I like the sections where Marian is talking us through projects and about reusing and recycling. Finding new purposes for items that might otherwise end up as landfill. Marian also talks to us about how we source our plants, where from and what to look out for. There is also a project to make a lawn spiral. I have wanted to make a lawn spiral for a very long time. It is not difficult to do, it does not have to be big. Maybe this is the book that will finally prompt me to just do it!
This is a very comprehensive book looking at every aspect of the sustainable garden. I loved reading this book, I learned a lot and it was a pleasure to read. I know I will read it again. As I am sure you have already planned to add Benjamin's book to your bookshelp you know you can squeeze another one in.....