Friday, 30 May 2008


If you read my Garden Monkey blog at all regularly you will know that I love garden books.

So I’ve set up this little blog in celebration of all aspects of garden books and in the hope that people will come and discuss, find, recommend, disparage, and even just witter about them.


Anonymous said...

That clip has reminded me of two things - firstly how obsessed I was with Pamela Stephenson' chest (and the rest of her, to be fair) as an adolescent, and secondly how well Not... has stood the test of time. Although their treatment of hedgehogs was frankly scandalous.

May I join your flange? How about a garden tool whoop?

emmat said...

Is that your bookshelf in the photo? I have just bought a copy of Hubbard on grasses, and only this morning I was sitting at the kitchen table actually thinking the following:
"I wonder if this Hubbard was related to L Ron? I wonder if someone did a genealogy of the Hubbards, whether they would turn out to be long lost cousins?...[pause to drink tea]. And if they did, would Grasses Hubbard have admitted to being related to L Ron?"
See that's the kind of thing you can be thinking of a morning when you've got a bit of a headache and no cake.

I bought the Grasses meisterwerk because I've been going to these taxonomy days at Oxford Botanic Garden, which are super good, and Timothy Walker, head honcho OBG, keeps saying "oh, you don't want to bother with the botany of grasses," but actually I do.

Everybody else there nods knowledgeably when he says that kind of thing; but they all know it all already. They can all chant "Sedges have edges, rushes are round, Grasses have nodes all the way to the ground". Although their version was ruder and had something about a hole in the ass?

The Garden Monkey said...

Of course you can join Matthew. As for a Tool Whoop? - one thing at a time.

Emma - Yes, they are some of my books. For the anoraks like myself they are (L to R):
Gardener's Latin - Neal,
Palms - Martin Gibbons,
Grow Your Own Vegetables - Joy Larcom,
Grasses - C E Hubbard,
Meetings with Remarkable Trees - Thomas Pakenham,
Cactii - E Shurly,
Heathers - Proudly,
The Pocket Encyclopaedia of Roses,
Plants for the Dry Garden - Peter Thurman
& An Ear to the Ground - Ken Thompson.

VP said...

Grasses was 1 of my set books at Uni.

Emma - Newcastle Uni actually has a demonstration bed of grasses. We had to go there and identify each grass in turn and take an exam.

20 years later I found it much easier to use the Field Studies Council's little waterproof field guide - have you come across it?

emmat said...

Ah... veg plotter.... Maybe I will go away and search for said item. I have their one for woodlice (yeah don't ask) so I could imagine it would be excellent.

I am actually on a formal warning from mon amour at the moment which means I have to email him if I buy any books - it's a good disincentive to stop the house filling up any further, but then I do really want to get into them grasses.

Thanks for the v useful tip!

emmat said...

Hmmm. Just went on amazon and it's 19.99 second hand! Have the rest of you all been futures-buying copies, knowing that I'd be unable to rest until I had got my own? That's really mean!

The Garden Monkey said...

Actually Emma, you probbaly don't have enough books.

You need to reach a point where you have some many that it's not noticeable when a new one arrives.

VP said...

Emma - it's a fold out chart, so you could claim it's not a book? Besides, I'm with GM, you just can't have too many books - I'm going to join Dr Who in the scary library. Imagine having every book ever written, except the Da Vinci code...

It's best to go to the source for this one as it comes in at less than a fiver

I can also recommend the AIDGAP Fishes one (different page on the website to the one I've given you here) - I field tested it for them...

Amazon secondhand can be a little tricky - I was quoted over 70 quid for Vegemite Vindaloo a couple of months ago. I told the author and after he'd fallen off his chair laughing he put me touch with a firm in India who delivered it to me for less than 7 quid!

VP said...

Emma - we could play Top Trumps with our FSC guides - how about Soil Types - A Field Identification Guide?

VP said...

Can I join your Flange please GM? Then I could whoop with joy!

The Garden Monkey said...

Consider it done

emmat said...

If everyone else is actually going to join it, then please can I, because i really hate the feeling now that i might be missing out on a club badge, secret handshake and entry to the clubhouse.

emmat said...


I think they sell them at Kew, actually, now I look at the website, so I'm gonna buy it tomorrow as I have a tour at 11am.

They look really cool, but I always thought they were so colourful that they might be a bit rubbish (didn't look close enough to see who produced them).

But I see that Ladybirds is by Majerus et al, so there I know that's the British Dude in the field.

So I'm definitely going to get grasses... But now I'm also hankering after Shield Bugs!

My woodlice is actually AIDGAP - it's a massive tome.
Actually not really a massive tome, but definitely lots of info. I like the idea that they are trying to get you to evolve from the simple guide, through these ones.

There are 35 UK species of woodlouse!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi can I join your flange as well?

The Garden Monkey said...

Certainly Helen. The more the merrier.

Do you have a 2nd name?

Do you have a blog/website?

Anonymous said...

Hi - my web address is
Thank you for letting me join your gang

The Garden Monkey said...

Aha Helen, now I know who you are.

Your Blogger profile doesn't include your site.

Anonymous said...

Am confused - what blogger profile? My blog is via wordpress so when I leave a comment on here I have to leave my name and web address - I assumed you could tell from whence I came. I didnt know I had a blogger profile

Helen/patientgardener said...

I think I have sussed out this blogger profile business now - you should be able to access my blog now. If not I give up its just too much for me and its too hot and I want my lunch

Zoë said...

Room for one more?

My name is Zoë, I am a Garden Bookaholic.

The Garden Monkey said...

No sooner said than done Zoe.


Zoë said...

Thank You GM, I am duly honoured.

Thought I would add a couple more dippy books.

A Little History of British Gardening, Jenny Uglow.

Virgins, Weeders and Queens, Twigs Way

Red Undies and Dutchman's Trousers: Naughty Plants for All Occasions, Sacha Langton-Gilks

I came across the last on the shelf in a friends loo!


antisyzygy said...

Ooh, books and gardens - my twin passions.

I'd love to join the flange, and at the risk of introducing another primate, I'd like to point members towards for managing your collections - my personal gardening collection is at Garden

Anonymous said...

Hi there monkey... Can I join your book flange? Book central here in Pennsylvania with a branch location in Northamptonshire. Run out of shelving, piled on floor... See here and here

Sue Beesley said...

Would love to join, if I may?

I should be revising from boring powerpoint handouts for two RHS Diploma exams this week, but Maggie Campbell-Culver's 'The Origin of Plants' is far more enticing. As is blogging.

Am getting there with grasses, but conifer idents remain as foggy as ever.

NewShoot said...

It's probably about time I asked to join officially too!

the word verification this time is moneybra - wish I had one of those!

Lia Leendertz said...

Hello Garden Monkey,
now it says to email you with anything booky, and i have something you might be interested in, but i can't work out where your email address.
How is it done?
PS I have been sniffing around your flange for a while. can i join in too?

Alice Joyce said...

I wanna join the rather, the illustrious ones who've left their erudite comments here. Wheresoever the Garden Monkey goes, I'm on-board (at least for now).

Martyn Cox said...

Hi GM, my name is Martyn, I'm photogenically youthful (it said that in a review of my Wildlife Garden book) and I like gardening books. Please can I join your flange?

Aspidistra said...

Hello, I am also an author of a book on wildlife gardening, Martyn. Have we written the same book? Am I you?

GM, please may I join this elite establishment, even though I am so out-crowd that I don't even know what a flange is, and have an unappealing habit of leaving biscuit crumbs on other people's blogs?

The Garden Monkey said...

Welcome Aspidistra - I shall add you to the flange.

Do you have a blog, or perhaps something on your book I could link to?


Aspisdistra said...

Hi Gm
Hi GM, thanks for allowing me to join your esteemed company. Biscuit, anyone?

I am far too lazy to have got round to doing a blog yet or to have created any sort of proper book link, as eating said biscuits takes up most of my time, but here's one link for it:

MarkD said...

hello GM, may i join the flange? Im not sure i have anything to offer, but id still like to be a flanger

Michelle said...

Hello GM, although I have yet to write a book,may I join the Flange? The one thing I do is search high and low in odd places for those classic gardening books.X

The Garden Monkey said...

Of course Michelle - do you have a blog, or site to link to?

Actually writing a book is in no-way a pre-requisite to joining

AlexM said...

Hello Garden Monkey
Please may I join your flange? On the positive side for my membership I have lots of gardening books, on the negative I don't know what a flange is. Please consider my application.
very best
Alex M

The Garden Monkey said...

Welcome - just click on the top RH link to see Flange explained

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

Please may I join? I meant to a couple of years ago - but I was too timid.

The Garden Monkey said...

Glad you are feeling bolder. x

Garden Hero said...

Does it count if I buy too many gardening books that I don't have time to read them all?! I think I should be allowed to join purely because I once auditioned for Stars in Their Eyes, and it always haunts me.

The Garden Monkey said...

Whilst the former might gain you membership, I suspect the latter disqualifies you from most everything.

Garden Hero said...

This albatross around my neck is truly punishing me; and if there was any way it could be lifted by gaining more than a 'might' I would be truly grateful. i am currently crying onto page 144 of Martyn Cox's '101 ideas for small gardens' - it gives me hope; and i feel that you can do the same.

Alexandra Campbell said...

Can I join your flange? I have gardening books placed in piles all round the house (bedside table, loo etc). I occasionally even write chapters about gardening in my books about houses. Will also link in my 'Blogs I like' as I do like.