Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Gifts for Gardeners: Beautiful Books

If, like me, you still need to finish your holiday shopping, gardening books are always a good idea for your green-thumb friends or family members. Author friends of mine wrote the four you can see under my tree above. I have attended some of Mary-Kate Mackey's writing workshops. She is very kind and offered to help me with my writing efforts, for which I am grateful. Shelley Cramm chairs a power circle (a committee) to which I belong for GardenComm -- An international organization for garden communicators. All these authors are members. Shelley is a great inspiration to me. Jenny Rose Carey is a fellow Brit and a good friend. I am sure you have heard me talk about her in this blog. I met Raffaele Di Lallo via Zoom at a conference. He also offered to help me. Here are brief reviews of their beautiful and informative books. Click on a title for purchasing information.

*Oh, and I want to share some good news at the end of this posting.*

Brenzel, Kathleen N., and Mackey, Mary-Kate, The Healthy Garden: Simple Steps for a Greener World. Abrams, 2021

The authors arranged the book into three sections: Healthy Garden, Healthy You, and Healthy Planet. In the first section, Healthy Garden, they cover design, planting, and maintenance. They describe the health benefits of gardening under the heading, Healthy You. In the last part, the authors discuss the contributions gardeners make toward the health of our world. The book includes 19 interviews with expert gardeners, plus numerous quotations from experts worldwide.

The Healthy Garden presents a delightful cornucopia of tips and insights for gardeners of all levels of expertise. Beautiful illustrations show gardens in all US growing zones. This book is an excellent addition to any gardener's library.

Carey, Jenny Rose, The Ultimate Flower Gardener's Guide: How to Combine Shape, Color, and Texture to Create the Garden of Your Dreams. Timber Press, 2022

Jenny Rose (right) brought me a copy of her book. We spent a wonderful day talking about all things gardening and garden writing.

The Ultimate Flower Gardener's Guide is Jenny Rose's sunny companion to her first book, Glorious Shade, which I reviewed HERE.

It has five sections: In the first section, Jenny Rose helps us look at individual flowers and truly see them, not just their color but the many shapes and their role in the garden. In the second chapter, Jenny Rose gives the stars of each season that she defines as early to mid-spring, late spring to early summer, high summer, late summer into autumn, and winter. She suggests tasks and activities for each. The following section comprises numerous plant pictures and detailed profiles, including the shape and the plant's role in the garden. This section enables the gardener to make informed choices. The final two chapters describe types of flowerbeds, hardscaping, and various kinds of gardens.


 I am thrilled that the author featured my garden in the section on looking for inspiration.

My Cottage Garden

Beautifully written, and the photographs in the book are gorgeous - the author took most of them. Jenny Rose's title for this book is very appropriate. It is truly the ultimate guide for any gardener to begin a new garden or improve an existing one.

Cramm, Shelley S., My Father is the Gardener: Devotions in Botany and Gardening of the Bible. BRIT Press, 2022


In this devotional, Shelley conveys gardening as a spiritual practice. She takes the title from John 15, where Jesus says,  "I am the true vine, my father is the Gardener." She dedicates one or two chapters to each gardening job, from preparing the soil and planting to propagating and composting, linking tasks to plants of the Bible. Highlighted plants include olive, oak, crown anemone, hyssop, cucumber, and more.


Lovely Illustrations

Shelley has deep knowledge of the Bible and a great deal of botanical learning. Linking these attributes with the beautiful illustrations by Layla Luna, this book is superb. I love it!


Di Lallo, Raffaele, Houseplant Warrior: Seven Keys to Unlocking the Mysteries of Houseplant Care. The Countryman Press, 2022

Raffaele's readers know him from his Instagram page, Ohio Tropics, which has, impressively, over 138,000 followers. The book was a natural step for him to take with its synthesis of Raffaele's knowledge about houseplants. Raffaele answers four basic questions: Which plant is suitable for your environment? How should you take care of them? How do you deal with problems? And how to propagate? 

The book has an easy-to-follow format in which Raffaele unlocks his seven keys to houseplant care. It concludes with a comprehension list of houseplants that includes each plant's description, family, light requirements, appropriate potting mix, watering, propagation, and additional tips. Raffaele illustrates the book with photographs from his extensive plant collection.

Houseplant care is not my forte, so I welcomed this informative book. I have seen an improvement in my small collection since implementing some of Raffaele's advice.

Any or all of these four titles would be great as a gift or for yourself.

*And now for my good news (that you will know if you follow me on FB.)  Timber Press Publishers gave me a book deal for my cottage garden book. I am so excited. You will see my title on future gift lists.*

Wishing you a blessed Christmas, dear gardening friends.


Pamela x

I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited! 

I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. Wow, fantastic news, congratulations. I shall definitely be looking out for your book. There's a nice selection in this post, some good Christmas gift ideas.

  2. Congratulations Pam…well deserved and thank you for the nice recommendations. One cannot have enough gardening books!

  3. Thank you for this wonderful listing! Merry Christmas

  4. Thank you for including The Healthy Garden in your list. I feel honored to be with those other great books--and look forward to your cottage garden book with Timber! Congratulations on that.

  5. Congratulations - a good Christmas present for you!

  6. The beauty of garden books, is that even if you don’t read them, you can still simply ogle the lovely photos!