Books on My Design Desk

Xa and I chat before planting a tree together.A gift from garden designer Xa Tollemache during her recent visit to the farm prompted me to rummage through my library looking for my favorite books on garden design. Lady Tollemache gave me Andrew Wilson’s book The Garden of Giubbilei. Xa takes her inspiration from many sources including her own garden at Helmingham Hall, but certainly the work of Luciano Giubbilei has influenced her award-winning designs and exhibitions at the Chelsea Flower Show. Thumbing through the book inspired me to go back to some of my old standbys.

Colour in Your Garden

Colour in Your Garden
Penelope Hobhouse
Frances Lincoln (March 6, 2003)
ISBN: 9780711220584

This is the definitive book on color, or colour. I also love Penny Hobhouse’s book Gardening Through the Ages. A must for history buffs.

The Garden in Winter

The Garden in Winter
Rosemary Verey
Frances Lincoln (July 10, 2006)
ISBN: 0711220204

There is a line in this book that I just love. “If our gardens are to be more than graves commemorating summer’s beauty, we must start by using our eyes.”

Designing with Plants

Designing with Plants
Piet Oudolf and Noël Kingsbury
Timber Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2008)
ISBN: 0881929530

I had the opportunity to visit with Piet at his garden in Holland. He is a master of texture, form and the use of native plants.

My Knod of Garden

My Kind of Garden
David Hicks
Antique Collectors Club Dist (November 15, 2009)
ISBN: 9781870673594

This garden design book reveals how the late Mr. Hicks’ sense of style extended far beyond his famous interiors. Lovely photographs and insightful commentary.

Tomorrow's Garden

Tomorrow’s Garden
Stephen Orr
Rodale Books (February 15, 2011)
ISBN: 1605294683

I’m currently reading my friend Stephen Orr’s book Tomorrow’s Garden. It takes on the topic of designing a garden with sustainability in mind.

15 Responses to Books on My Design Desk

  1. Susan Hemann says:

    Thank you for sharing your gardening books. Sleeping with a Sunflower is one of my favorites. It is a charming book.
    I have seen The Garden in Winter, I’m going to purchase it. I would love to have my garden look good in winter.

  2. ruth rogers clausen says:

    If your garden looks good in August and in winter, you’ve done a pretty good job!

  3. Wonderful selection of books looking back is a wonderful thing to do : )

  4. Favorite book: The Zen of Gardening by a local author, David Wann. Excellent overview of gardening with emphasis on community gardens. Mr. Wann just wrote a new book worth reading, The New Normal.

  5. amy says:

    Allen, I enjoy reading your posts and watching your shows, and reading your books for inspiration. I am really interested in reading “Tomorrow’s Garden” because I have just taken the sod out of the posterior 1/3 of our backyard and planted two raised gardens, added a clothes line, purchased 10 chicks, built a chicken coop, planted fruit trees, planted grapes, ordered a small green house… in essence, I am trying to become an Urban Farmer in the middle of a Gated Community. I think Self Sustaining Gardens are becoming very popular for people who are not farmers but want to be able to lessen their dependence on the Grid. Thank you again for the books of garden inspiration.

  6. Lisa L. says:

    Hi Allen!
    The focus of the back garden is an urn and I would like to use a recipe from your container book for its contents this summer. I received your book as a gift this past January. It’s the only garden design book I have so far and it is definitely a treasure!

  7. Oksanna says:

    My favourite gardening book is your book “The Garden Home”. It is my go-to book; it’s been an education. I’ve learned so much about the timeless design principles and I use the book all the time for designing and planning my garden. The photos are inspirational.

  8. Liz Rennan says:

    I enjoy your garden show so much, thank you for all the wonderful design possibilities. Looking forward to seeing the finished interiors of the ‘garden retreat’.

  9. Sharon Klaus says:

    One of my favorite sayins that you use is something about “living garden sculptures” referring to birds and animals in the garden. I totally agree, and have written a small book about a feral cat colony in my yard with proceeds to benefit the SPCA’s neuter, spay, release program. I referenced your comment and gave you credit. I watch your program on Saturday mornings also and have used some of the ideas you have shown. Especially like the herb fountain idea.

  10. Allen, as an avid reader (of all kinds of books!) and book review editor at Horticulture magazine, I’m always on the lookout for new titles to check out. Thanks for giving me more to look for. “Tomorrow’s Garden” sounds especially fascinating to me.

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