Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Hybrid Vigour.

We use hybrids in the garden without even thinking about them. The successful ones of course, have the best characteristics from both parents and give us a much better plant. Those which don’t tend not to make it past the plant breeders’ selection process and the few that do, usually don’t become best sellers, so naturally fade away with time.

That made me muse a little about hybrid gardening books.

I joined a craft bookclub a while ago and bought Jan Messent’s Knitted Gardens book out of curiosity. It’s most eccentric, offering lots of ways of representing flowers, vegetables and garden structures in a knitted form. For a while I thought that was the only hybrid in my collection. But the addition of Kaffe Fassett’s Country Garden Quilts last Thursday made me look at my garden books with fresh eyes.

I have at least two other hybrids: gardens and cooking are an obvious pairing and I have both Christopher Lloyd’s Gardener Cook (a necessary purchase after reading Dear Friend and Gardener as he a Beth Chatto were always citing recipes which made me extremely hungry) and Monty/Sarah Don’s Fork to Fork.

My other hybrid is Painting Flowers & Gardens in Watercolour and Pastel by Alison Hoblyn, a necessary purchase via Amazon second-hand as I’m struggling with the sketchbook aspects of my gardening course. Having discovered I have several hybrids in my collection, I’m surprised I don’t have more – gardening and photography is an obvious one which springs to mind, but I don’t have a single example, unless you count all the gardening books I have using sumptuous photography as illustration.

Do you have any hybrids in your garden book collection? What’s the most unusual hybrid you’ve seen irrespective of whether or not it’s in your garden book collection? Which ones have the best characteristics of their parents and therefore flourish, and which ones should be left to fade away?


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