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Five gardening books to get you in the mood for RHS Chelsea Flower Show

By Hannah Stephenson, PA

Whether you’re an amateur horticulturist, a houseplant enthusiast, or just want some straight forward advice on growing flowers and mastering garden design, there’s a book out there to give you all the green-fingered inspiration you need.

In the run-up to the legendary RHS Chelsea Flower Show, sit yourself down with a cuppa and get ready to plan borders, balconies, vegetable patches and much more with this selection of riveting reads.

1. Gardeners’ World Almanac
Monty Don is joined by Adam Frost, Alan Titchmarsh, Frances Tophill and other past and present members of the BBC Gardeners’ World team who contribute to this all-encompassing almanac which offers step-by-step guidance to gardening throughout the year, along with information about when to plant particular plants and a range of seasonal projects.

It’s organised month-by-month so it’s easy to follow and features reminders, lists and even recipes so you can make the most of your harvests. Perfect for beginners, but also useful for experienced gardeners who never want to stop learning. And the beautiful hand-drawn illustrations only add to its magic.

2. The Healthy Vegetable Garden by Sally Morgan
Anyone who is looking for a natural chemical-free approach to growing veg should bag a copy of Sally Morgan’s latest tome. It’s not a basic ‘how to grow’ book, but more of a guide from this expert organic gardener on the things you should be doing to promote healthy vegetable growth.

There are sections on regenerating soil through ‘no dig’ practices; combating diseases without the need for chemicals; tips on companion planting and barrier crops, plus how to ‘rewild’ your garden by creating a range of habitats.

Featuring a comprehensive guide to common pests, and the damage they do, along with ways to keep them at bay by attracting natural predators (biocontrol). You will never need to squirt that chemical spray gun again.

3. Pure Style In The Garden by Jane Cumberbatch

Muted colours, natural textures, and vintage touches have all been a part of interior designer Jane Cumberbatch’s ‘Pure Style’ philosophy and in this book she addresses the outdoor spaces which are our retreats.

Working her way through the seasons, Cumberbatch looks at everything from the simple beauty of frost-covered cardoon seed heads to her favourite tulip and the first froth of apple blossom. She also shines a spotlight on the beauty of alliums in both flowering and dried forms, and ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ roses cut with sprigs of nigella.

Expect simple, stylish ideas on how to use plants and accessories to achieve ‘Pure Style’ and ultimately furnish a garden like a room. Whatever its size, a garden can be a source of visual and mindful pleasure all year round.

4. Green Home by Anders Røyneberg (out now, Quadrille, £16.99)
So, we know how popular houseplants have become in recent years, but do we know how to treat them and where to put them so they will flourish? In this gorgeous book Anders Røyneberg, an agriculturalist and plant fanatic who has amassed over 80,000 Instagram followers (@arcticgardener), will show you which plants will do best in different places and how to look after seedlings and cuttings.

He offers tips on how to style your home with houseplants and which groupings go well together, as well as using plants to divide rooms. The possibilities are endless.

5. Beth Chatto’s Green Tapestry Revisited by Beth Chatto
In celebration of Beth Chatto OBE and her world-famous and award-winning gardens, created more than 60 years ago near Colchester, Essex, her original book has been fully revised and updated, featuring descriptions and photographs showing how the gardens have developed since.

Her granddaughter, Julia Boulton, offers her take on how the gardens have progressed in the book’s foreword, with additional analysis by David Ward and Asa Gregers-Warg, who both worked with Chatto for years, before she died in 2018 aged 94, and still work at her gardens today. Now, the Woodland Garden has been added to her legacy, along with the acclaimed drought-resistant Gravel Garden and the most recently redesigned Reservoir Garden.

Taking in the wisdom of our most influential plantswoman of the century should provide ample inspiration for those who wonder at her brilliant, sustainably planted gardens.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, in the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital, runs from Tuesday, Sep 21-26.

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