The act of giving is one of the NHS five steps to wellbeing which I reference a lot in my professional work. Giving can create positive feelings and a sense of reward, it can give you a feeling of purpose and self-worth and there is an immense joy in saying thank you to loved ones through small acts of kindness.
We are approaching the festive season and I am sure many of you are looking around for gift ideas. I love a good book and for me, receiving a book at Christmas is one of the best gifts you can get. You can get lost in a book or learn something new, you can be inspired, take on a challenge or learn a new language. I still love having a physical copy of a book in my hand too, my bookcase is bursting but that doesn't stop me buying more and I can't bear to throw books away.
It is a tradition in our family that on Christmas eve we give each other a book (often second hand) and spend the evening together, reading. It’s an activity that brings the whole family together and that’s what Christmas is about after all. If you haven't already, I am here to tell you that you should give a gardening book a try. There are so many inspiring and brilliant books out there at the moment and I popped into Waterstones in Festival Place to see what they had. I found books on a huge range of topics and themes from weird and wonderful plants, houseplants, how weeds aren’t weeds, gardening when you rent, the magic of mushrooms and so much more.
Here is my top gardening books to buy someone else this Christmas:
Tom Massey - Resilient Garden
Tom is an award winning garden designer and all round tour de force in the horticultural world. This book is a vital deep dive into how to work in conjunction with nature and adapt our outdoor spaces, using design principles, methods and techniques to support wildlife and promote biodiversity, giving our gardens and the surrounding environment the best chance of flourishing with uncertain climatic conditions ahead.
Huw Richards - Veg in One Bed: How to Grow an Abundance of Food in One Raised Bed, Month by Month
This is a brilliantly accessible and easy to follow guide for getting the best out of a small space. If growing vegetables is your thing and you don’t know where to begin then this book shows you exactly how to grow vegetables organically, abundantly and inexpensively so you have something to harvest every month of the year.
Alessandro Vitale - Rebel Gardening: A beginner’s handbook to organic urban gardening
This punchy, exciting and vibrant book is bursting with brilliant tips and tricks for cultivating the perfect city kitchen garden. I love Alessandro's commitment to recycling and reusing everything! Turn a plastic bottle into a vertical hanging garden, a self-watering pot, a mini greenhouse or a DIY irrigation system. This book gives you hundreds of tips and tricks for making your spaces as productive as it can be.
Arthur Parkinson - Planting a Paradise: A year of pots and pollinators
Arthur is full of flower power and a truly remarkable gardener that inspires all of us to grow an abundance of colour in any space we have. This book focuses on what to grow through the seasons with an array of planting ideas and recommended varieties to inspire the experienced and novice gardener alike.
Sue Stuart-Smith - The Well Gardened Mind
This is a brilliant book. It is a powerful combination of contemporary neuroscience, psychoanalysis and brilliant storytelling. It describes in great detail what I know to be true, how working with nature can radically transform our health, wellbeing and confidence.
Frances Tophill - Rewild your Garden: Create a Haven for Birds, Bees and Butterflies
In this practical, beautifully illustrated guide horticulturist and Gardeners’ World presenter Frances Tophill shows you how to plan and maintain a beautiful garden that will attract bees and birds as well as a throng of unsung garden heroes.
David Domoney - My House Plant Changed My Life: Green Wellbeing for the Great Indoors
One for the houseplant fans (I can’t seem to keep many alive). This book gives tips and hints on how to keep your houseplants happy and healthy and reveals the best life-enhancing houseplants that can reduce stress, fight fatigue, and even lower your blood sugar.