The Saturday, December 1, 2012 issue of The Times came out in London with Stephen Anderton’s list of the best gardening books of the year. My book was listed second! Here is the text.
The best gardening books of the year
Stephen Anderton Published at 12:01AM, December 1 2012
Joy Larkom’s Just Vegetating (Frances Lincoln, £18.99; Times Books, £14.99) is that rare thing, a discursive book about vegetable growing, just right for someone who already knows how to grow vegetables. Instead of waterboarding the reader with enthusiasm, Larckom tells with compelling charm of how worms can live for 12 years and how moles keep them in larders; how people use vegetables in China, Taiwan and Japan, and of aggressive French grape pickers. Fascinating. It won’t date.
It’s people who shape the changing style of gardens. From 1970 to 2000 Rosemary Verey developed her pretty style of formality at Barnsley House, Cirencester, and brought the potager to England. Tireless author and lecturer in the US, she made gardens for the Prince of Wales and Elton John and was desperately proud of it. Her biography The Life and Lessons of a Legendary Gardener (Godine, £24.95) is by Barbara Paul Robinson.
The brightest face of modern landscape gardening is that of Kim Wilkie, who explains in Led by the Land (Frances Lincoln, £35; Times Books, £30) his love of green landform. His shadow-striped curving mounds and terraces will give you goosebumps as you read.
Fancy snowdrops have an inexhaustible appeal because little else is so generous in February. Gunter Waldorf’s beautifully illustrated Snowdrops (Frances Lincoln, £14.99; Times Books £11.99) shows some of the best hybrid varieties and how to grow them. The temptation will be appalling.
Mother Nature can be just as generous as snowdrop breeders, so it’s good to see Identification Guide to Mushrooms of Britain and Northern Europe (John Beaufoy, £10.99; Times Books, £9.89), by Josephine Bacon. It’s a field guide, but of the most user-friendly, picture-led kind, even offering recipe suggestions for the edible species. Something to refer to as things pop up in the garden. The Times – December 1, 2012