When I wrote my post on Honest Scrap, one of my “honest confessions” was the fact that I have over 500 gardening books.
Please excuse the quality of these pictures, they were taken on my phone!
I have been collecting them for a long time. It all started when I inherited my grandmother’s New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Gardening. This consisted of 14 volumes of all the gardening facts you could want all handily alphabetized.
These books were published in the 1960’s.
There are also contributions from twenty horticulturists from the US and Canada.
Beverley Nichols is also a man who I can point a finger at. I took Merry Hall out of the library, and I was hooked. I had to read all of his books. (One of my most exciting moments when I found a huge stack of his books in the bookshop in Sissinghurst village, they were 50 pence!)
I know that I have doubles of some of them, would you turn one of these down for 50p.
This started me on the road to ruin (financial that is, those gardening books can be expensive.)
At the beginning, I was buying books willy nilly, after all I didn’t have any, I needed them all. It has only been in the last few years that my buying has slowed down, not for lack of space or desire, but through lack of interesting books.
My favourites are what would be classified under garden essays. I especially like it when someone writes about the history of their garden. After Bev, I moved to Vita, and Margery Fish, then into more modern-day authors like Rosemary Verey and Penelope Hobhouse.
My current favourites are Roy Strong, David Hicks and Paul Bangay, a young (and oh so brilliant) designer from Melbourne, Australia.
When we lived in London, there was a wealth of charity shops and second-hand book stores, and they all had gardening books. Since my favourites were always the English ones, I stocked up. How can you turn down a book for 1 pound? And I didn’t. Luckily my husband’s company was paying for shipping our personal effects back to Canada, there were 5 (ok, ok, it was more like 10) large boxes of books!
They make such a delicious display on the shelves my father in law built us!