The Bookshelf at Drumhead Plants

Some gardening book recommendations from our Proprietor, Simon Drugan.

Were I to be marooned on a desert island, alongside The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Iíd do without the Bible), as my luxury Iíd choose my collection of gardening books. Iíve been gardening since an early age and so learning about horticulture by simply doing it has been a very important part of my development. Having pursued other academic avenues in my youth, I donít have any formal horticultural qualifications, but I have always cherished books about plants and gardening. Some I will reach for on an almost daily basis.

Others I treasure not just for the wealth of information and inspiration that they contain but for the sheer pleasure of good writing and the joy of discovery involved in learning about plants, people and perspectives.

Rather like a good plant, a good book should be shared, so I thought Iíd put together a list of some of the books that have been formative to me as a gardener and plantsman. Theyíre in no particular order. In time, my aim is to give some of my thoughts about the different works and why I rate them so highly.

  • Dream Plants for the Natural Garden by Henk Gerritsen and Piet Oudolf
  • Perennial Garden Plants or The Modern Florilegium by Graham Stuart Thomas
  • Planting: A New Perspective by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury
  • Claire Austinís Book of Perennials by Claire Austin
  • Designing with Grasses by Neil Lucas
  • Gardening with Grasses by Michael King and Piet Oudolf
  • Planting the Natural Garden by Piet Oudolf and Henk Gerritsen
  • The Damp Garden by Beth Chatto
  • The Dry Garden by Beth Chatto
  • Unusual Plants (the wonderful catalogue to Beth Chattoís Nursery)
  • Exotic Planting for Adventurous Gardeners by Christopher Lloyd and friends
  • Sowing Beauty: Designing Flowering Meadows from Seed by James Hitchmough
  • Gardens Illustrated Magazine