10 gardening books

When a TV production company invites you in to chat about becoming a sexy celebrity gardener, the first thing they ask is “so, what’s your thing?” I told them my thing was gardening, and they never called me back. Turns out that they had been looking for someone who had a more marketable gimmick; they wanted The Breakdancing Gardener, or The Surrealist Gardener. So my program “The Gardening Gardener” never got made.

A similar thing happened with this blog. A friend who works in publishing sent it to her friend in gardening books. The first I heard was when the publishers emailed to say that although they loved the blog and the writing, they couldn’t see what my point was, and it’s hard for them to sell a pointless book (I paraphrase).

They are, of course, completely right. So with that in mind and an eye to publication I’m submitting a list of 10 potential gardening books with very clear points, books that in television parlance “have a thing”.

1. Learn to Garden The Aztec Way
Learn when to sow and harvest using the natural rhythms of the tonalpohualli calendar and blood divination.

2. Grow Yourself Thin!
Plant a new skinnier you today with these amazing fat busting plants. Learn to grow Erythroxylums and Nicotianas and much much more.

3. Crystal Palaces
Fiction. The secret history of the passionate yet forbidden romance between the enigmatic yet tender 6th Duke of Devonshire and his mercurial yet earthy head gardener Joseph Paxton – erotic yet taxonomically correct.

4. The Great British Rot Off
A wry look at Islington’s competitive composting scene.

5. Gone with the Wind
Anemophily and Allergic rhinitis – a history.

6. The Wardian Case
Fiction. When a famous plant hunter is found dead in a sealed glass box renowned Victorian scientist Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward must use all his gardening nouce to solve the case.

7. Mummy, why is that tree dead?
A guide to gardening with children

8. Mealy-bugs and Mojitos
Fiction. Plant scientist Poppy Greenway is having the time of her life in London’s gardens and bars when her world is shaken by an outbreak of waxy aphids and the arrival of brooding pest control technician Daniel de Oscuro.

9. Orchid Hunting in Iceland
An insider’s guide to high-street plants.

10. Pound Pounds Ponds
The poet-critic Ezra Pound’s best writing on garden ponds. “No man understands a deep pond until he has seen and lived at least part of its contents.”

I’m sure I could have any of these written in time for the Mothers Day market – so if you feel like publishing do get in touch.

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11 Replies to “10 gardening books”

  1. Yours is a classic newspaper-style column, really. The problem is of course, no one buys print newspapers, but If you had a weekly gardening column in the Guardian, I would read it! Your focus can be Historical Gardening. Hey, how about that for a Garden Book? I’d read that, too!

    1. Not sure I know what a real gardener is, personally I try to read everything from toilet walls to Tolstoy. Gardening books generally fall somewhere in the middle, and I read them when they cross my path.

  2. You’ll be run off your feet with work now. I think the three I’d like best would be ‘The Wardian Case’, ‘Orchid Hunting in Iceland’ and the one about ponds. The first I’d read. The other two I’d give as Christmas presents. When they’re published, send copies to me and I’ll review them. (I’m not posh enough for compost so you’ll need to find a different blogger to write about that one.)

  3. 11) Fifty Shades Of Bay – a lusty tale of a silver tongued gardening pensmith, his fresh faced and wide eyed protege straight out of Kew, and their steamy adventure in search of a long lost species of Laurus nobilis.

  4. The book titles made me laugh although your sorry tale of not being quirky enough for the publishers sounds all too familar

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