Best Gardening Books (July 2017) – Reviews & Buyers Guide

Here at GoTo4Gardening, we think that there is nothing that beats a day in the garden. Second to this, is reading all about our favourite hobby! Whether you prefer a Kindle or a ‘real’ book, there are some great reads out there and some really stunning specialist books. One of the great things about books is that there is always a new one to discover!
This comparison table shows the 10 most popular gardening books currently for sale on Amazon in the UK. To skip straight to the buyers guide click here.

10 Best Gardening Books 2017

In our shortlist of books currently available to purchase, we have included some all-time favourites, as well as some books that we have only recently discovered. Sit back, relax, and have a read about the books on our shortlist. Which one will you choose?

Gardening Book SubjectGardening Book NameWhere Can I buy?
Best Gardening Book -
Plant Encyclopedia
RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants by Christopher BrickellOrder Online
Best Gardening Book for Plant SelectionRight Plant, Right Place: Over 1400 Selected Plants for Every Situation in the Garden by Nicola FergusonOrder Online
Best Gardening Book - CollectionThe Garden Expert Dr. D.G. HessayonOrder Online
Best Gardening Book for Garden Design Garden Design: A Book of Ideas by Heidi Howcroft and Marianne MajerusOrder Online
Best Gardening Book for Horticultural StudyPrinciples of Horticulture by CR Adams and MP EarlyOrder Online
Best Gardening Book for Growing Fruits & VegetablesThe Complete Book of Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit by Matthew Biggs, Jekka McVicar, Bob FlowerdewOrder Online
Best Gardening Book for Pests & DiseasesPests and Diseases, The Royal Horticultural Society. Pippa Greenwood and Andrew HalsteadOrder Online
Best Gardening Book for Companion PlantingGood Companions. By Josie JefferyOrder Online
Best Gardening Book for Pruning TechniquesThe Pruning of Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers by George E Brown and Tony KirkhamOrder Online

10 Best Gardening Books: Number 1, the Best Gardening Book – RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants by Christopher Brickell

Book Description

This is a firm favourite among amateurs and professionals world over. Our choice for the best gardening book features an impressive 15,000 plants in great detail. Regardless of your experience and knowledge, there is always something new to be found in this A-Z. A little Latin is required to truly appreciate this book as the plants are listed alphabetically according to their botanical name. Fear not, though, our choice for the best gardening book also uses common names throughout and you’ll be able to find whatever plant you are looking for in a few minutes. If you are looking increase your plant knowledge, this book is a mighty fine read. Read through the in-depth introduction in this, our choice for the best gardening book, and you will find yourself deeply immersed into the world of plant kingdoms and nomenclature. All of the information in this book is laid out in language that is easy to read and you will feel immersed from the first page. One of the aspects that we really love about this book is the diagrams and symbols to explain the individual plants; they are very similar to those found on plant labels. In no time at all, you will be a pro! If you are into your gardening and don’t have this book on your shelf, you NEED to buy it! Click on the link to check it out.

10 Best Gardening Books: Number 2, the best book for Plant Selection – Right Plant, Right Place: Over 1400 Selected Plants for Every Situation in the Garden by Nicola Ferguson

Book Description

Every experienced gardener will know; plant choice is everything when it comes to gardening. We have chosen this as our best book for plant selection, and it really is a modern classic in the world of gardening books. We are not the only people to recommend this as the best book for plant selection! It appears as standard on many accredited RHS professional courses and throughout garden design courses. Choose this book to answer your questions about plant selection and placement, or simply as a book that is a delight to sit and read in a comfy chair with a pot of tea.

10 Best Gardening Books: Number 3, the Best Gardening Book Collection – The Garden Expert  Dr. D.G. Hessayon

Book Description

If you have not come across ‘the expert books’ then we recommend you add a couple to your library. These books may at first seem a little dated but are well placed to hold our ‘best gardening book collection’ award. Their tagline is: ‘The world’s best selling books on …’ and we agree! If you are looking to buy a single book that will give you as much information as you could ever need, laid out in a simple and easy to read format, then buy these books. If you want to start a collection of gardening books, buy these books. They really are that great! Follow the link to an all-rounder of the series.

10 Best Gardening Books: Number 4, The Best Garden Design Book – Garden Design: A Book of Ideas  by Heidi Howcroft and Marianne Majerus

Book Description

This was a new book to us, and we cannot sing its praises loudly enough! If you are even remotely interested in garden design, then check out this book we have shortlisted for our ‘best garden design book’. This is an amazing resource for anyone looking to achieve a contemporary design in his or her garden. ‘Contemporary design’ oh, that’s not for me! Give this book just a few minutes of your time and be won over. Whether your garden is a couple of acres or a postage stamp, in the centre of a buzzing metropolis or a silent rural retreat, a minimalist 21st century design or a classic ‘lawn and border’ garden, this book crammed with amazing photographs and inspiration that will fit with your garden.

10 Best Gardening Books: Number 5, the best Horticultural Study Book – Principles of Horticulture by CR Adams and MP Early

Book Description

A book-list staple, this horticultural study book is referred to those in the know as the ‘principles book’. Poured over by students for years, our award for the best horticultural study book is structured to meet the needs of a wide variety of courses. It is particularly suitable for students studying towards the Royal Horticultural Society General Certificates or the Diploma in Horticulture. If you want to delve deeper into the world of horticulture, then this study book is for you. From the amateurs bookshelf to the boot room of the finest gardens, this horticultural study book is well-thumbed and useful throughout gardening careers; not just to pass exams!

10 Best Gardening Books: Number 6, the best fruit and vegetable book – The Complete Book of Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit by Matthew Biggs, Jekka McVicar, Bob Flowerdew

Book Description

When it comes to the ‘big guns’ of the fruit, vegetable, and herb worlds, a book authored by these three world-renowned gardeners in their field is a must-buy for anyone interested in finding out more. Not just a great gardening resource, the Sunday Times notes that this our best fruit and vegetable book is “packed with mouth watering photos, recipes, and cultivation advice”. This really is your comprehensive guide to selecting, cultivating, harvesting and cooking vegetables, herbs and fruit. The layouts and illustration found in this book make it eminently accessible to anyone who picks it up.

10 Best Gardening Books: Number 7, THE Pests and Diseases book – Pests and Diseases, The Royal Horticultural Society. Pippa Greenwood and Andrew Halstead

Book Description

If you are looking for a book on Pests and Diseases, this RHS produced book is a must buy. Any gardening problem is just a quick search through this book away for the answer. The quality of the photographs in this pests and diseases book makes identification easy whatever your knowledge level. One thing we really loved about this pests and diseases book is its collection of suggestions for preventative measures. However you feel about using chemicals in your garden, there is a solution for you in this book.

10 Best Gardening Books: Number 8, the one all about Companion Planting (Soil Association recommended) – Good Companions. By Josie Jeffery

Book Description

Companion planting is the idea that choosing to plant certain plants together will be mutually beneficial. We loved the simplicity of this book combined with the amount of easily accessible information. Each page is divided into three, and as you turn, a series of dots suggest the strongest matches. To explain companion planting, the book gives this example in its introduction: “How does companion planting work? Well, take just one well-known example squash, sweetcorn and beans. Together these three make a happy family: squash will shelter the beans roots, which in their turn will add beneficial nitrogen to the trios soil, while the strong-growing sweetcorn will support the beans as they grow.” How brilliant does that sound?! Not only do the plants support each other, but the companion planting suggestions can actually lead to greater crop production from an area of ground; sign me up today!

10 Best Gardening Books: Number 9, the best pruning book – The Pruning of Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers by George E Brown and Tony Kirkham

Book Description

This is another book by the ‘big guns’ of the world of Horticulture! Forwarded by Roy Lancaster, world-renowned British plantsman, gardener, author and broadcaster, our ‘best pruning book’ is sure to please even the most discerning of gardeners. This book was first written in 1972 by Brown and revised and enlarged by Tony Kirkham in 2004. (Tony Kirkham is currently Head of Arboretum, Gardens and Horticulture at Kew Gardens). Pruning is one of the most common questions that is raised on our forums, so we would like to recommend this pruning book to all of our forum posters. This brilliant book needs to be on your shelf! Read about the best pruning techniques and practices for more than 450 genera of trees, shrubs, conifers, and woody climbers, covering several thousands of species! Kirkham writes clearly to explain the reasoning behind the pruning techniques he recommends as well as how to apply them in a garden setting.

10 Best Gardening Books: Number 10, the best English garden history book – How to Read an English Garden by Andrew Eburne and Richard Taylor

Book Description

For the tenth book on our shortlist, we have gone for something a little different. Richard Taylor is well-known for his book How to Read a Church, and for this offering he has linked up with garden historian Andrew Eburne to write the best English garden history book; the ultimate guide to historic and modern gardens. If you are anything like us, you will leave your garden to go on holiday, and then visit more gardens! Figures quoted in this book suggest that in the UK 15 million people will visit a garden every year – WOW! In this book you will find clear language to explain common questions such as “when were tulips introduced into our gardens, and what was ‘tulip-mania’? What is a knot-garden, and what was the origin of its design? Who was ‘Capability’ Brown, and how did he get his name? Why are mazes such a common feature in English garden design?” and so much more. Our best English garden history book is a gem to read for pleasure, or to use when visiting a garden.

10 Best Gardening Books: Number 11 – The Secret Life of Trees: How they live and why they matter by Colin Tudge

Yes, this is book number 11 in our shortlist of 10 Best Gardening Books. This book just doesn’t really fit anywhere else in our shortlist, but we really think it is worth a mention. Laid out in the style of a novel, Tudge takes you on a journey from (possibly) the beginning of time and brings you swiftly to the current day in a book full of dates, history, and Latin. This is a book that will demand your brain cells and your time, but is the perfect read for a ‘full immersion’ into the world of trees; we love it.


Gardening Book Buyers Guide

So, wow. A guide to buying a gardening book! If you have a precise requirement from a book, then we hope that something on our shortlist has hit the spot. If you are still unsure about how to go about choosing and buying a gardening book, we have put together a few pointers that we hope will help.


If you know what you want your book to help you with or give you guidance on, research the popular authors for that topic. We have mentioned a few in the shortlist. A few of the best names at the moment include Jekka McVicar if you want to know anything about herbs, Tony Kirkham or Roy Lancaster if you have any questions about trees, and the wide-ranging plants and issues covered by the Dr DG Hessayon ‘Expert’ gardening book collection.


As well as authors, look out for popular publishers such as Dorling Kindersley, Timber Press, or Collins books. Any book published under the RHS branding is almost certain to be a quality resource.

Book content to look out for

If you are looking for information on plant care, then look for the quality of the pictures, diagrams, and whether the layout is easy to read. Most of the links we have provided will take you to a page where you can ‘see inside’ the books. If you are into reading on a Kindle, then you can quite often download sample books to check out before you commit to purchasing the full book.

The best Gardening Books

Everyone has their favourite gardening books, and we hope that you have enjoyed this shortlist of our current favourites that are available on the market.

If you think we have missed a great book or your favourite, let us know below.

Happy reading!

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