Book Review: The Winter Garden by Naomi Slade

During the winter I often have conversations that go something like "so what have you been doing this weekend?" and I reply "I was getting on with some gardening".  This elicits the surprised response of something like: "doing what?" "What is there to do in the garden this time of year?" and so on.  So when I was asked if I wanted to review Naomi Slade's new book: 'The Winter Garden: celebrating the forgotten season' I was hardly going to say no.

I have not paid for this book nor have I been paid to write this review.  My words and opinions are my own.

The book is neatly organised into two sections: 'Reclaiming the Winter Garden' and 'Making a Winter Garden'.  Naomi leaves nothing to chance in her quest to convince us to spend time in our gardens in the Winter months.  The book starts with Naomi helping us to understand the Winter garden.  Whilst we may want to stay indoors in the warm and each moment of daylight is precious, that the Winter Garden has its own context and perspective that gives it its own unique value. 

Naomi talks us through what to look for to enjoy in the Winter Garden, about light and wildlife and to enjoy the little things (always my favourite thing).  I was pleased that Lonicera fragantissima, the Winter Honeysuckle gets a mention.  This shrub not only delights with its scent but is an important source of food for late/early bees/pollinators.  Winter is the season when this shrub shines.

We learn that Winter Gardens are about detail and looking and seeing and enjoying.  Naomi talks about having a different perspective in Winter, that the garden becomes about structure and the 'bones of existence', where you can see the garden at its most stripped back and crisp.  Container gardening, creating features and focal points are all explained and illustrated.  I need to mention here that the photography throughout the book is superb.    Naomi also talks about the Winter vegetable garden and what you can grow and also your preparations for the year ahead.

and yes, snowdrops get a mention.

There is so much to this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it as it is a good read as well as being practical and informative.

It would be an ideal gift for that gardener in your life, if only there was a Winter festival that involved gift giving....

The Winter Garden by Naomi Slade is an RHS publication published by DK Books and retails at around £25 at the time of writing though can be found on online book sellers at a lower price.

Take care and be kind.

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  1. It sounds like a wonderful book. Although our winters are much harsher here in the Northern U.S., there are still things to enjoy about the garden during the cold months--structure, snow cover, etc. Thanks for the recommendation.


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