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Winter may limit opportunities for practical gardening but it’s an ideal time to relax with a good book to get ideas, inspiration and knowledge for the growing season ahead.

Here are some recommendations from our panel of book worms.

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"Wild About Weeds: Garden Design with Rebel Plants", by Jack Wallington

‘This book is refreshing and readable. It has helped me consider the beauty and power of plants we commonly label as ‘weeds’, examining their potential for nurturing and inclusion in gardens of all types. To me, the practical and passionate design suggestions feel original and completely natural, all at once.’

Eliza Nicholas of Rocket Garden Design, one of Pro-Landscaper's ‘30 under 30’ list of rising stars working in horticulture and garden design.

"The Ivington Diaries" by Monty Don

'Although I'll dip into reference books when needed (or more probably these days Google it), this book takes you step-by-step through the year of both regular gardening and creating a garden, while his lyrical writing and the wonderful photos make it a joy to read as well as an inspiration for what to do next in the garden.’

Trish Matthews, Thrive Reading STH Practitioner

"Colour in the Garden" by Val Bourne

‘The visual effects of natural light in the garden can be stimulating, exhilarating or calming. The colours of the plants can help create and reinforce the impact, reflection, translucence, seasonality and duration are all factors to be considered in the choice of plant colours. Val Bourne’s Colour in the Garden provides inspiration and practical advice for gardeners wishing to improve their plantings. The book has helped create magical moments in my garden.’

Ray Norton, Pudding Lane Nursery owner and Thrive Ambassador

"Plot 29" by Allan Jenkins and "Modern Nature" by Derek Jarman

'I like gardening books with a bit of a story, often including benefits of gardening, so books like Allan Jenkins' ‘Plot 29' and Derek Jarman's 'Modern Nature' – and general nature books like those by Robert Macfarlane. Books like these make it easier to learn about gardening tasks at various times of year, in a more fun way than the big dictionary-like garden reference books.'

Caroline Pankhurst, Thrive London STH Practitioner

"Spirit of the Hedgerow" by Jo Dunbar

'My go-to book is Spirit of the Hedgerow, as I’m a superfan of the wild side in gardens. Easy to read and with photos, it reveals the wonderful herbal/culinary uses and folklore of some of our commonest plants. Bring on the nettles!’

Katy Perceval, Thrive Ambassador and volunteer


"Plant Names Simplified" by A.T. Johnson, H.A.Smith & A.P. Stockdale

‘My gardening book recommendation is a handily pocket-sized book, first published in 1931. It offers easy to comprehend translations into the names of many of the plants around us and in doing so provides insight into their history and growing nature. For example, the Helianthus hirsutus gets its name from the fact its hairy!’

Mark Emery, Thrive Training & Education Officer

You can buy Plant Names Simplified at a discounted rate, with part of the proceeds going to Thrive. To buy, click here and use the discount code THRIVE15

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