Home, garden & DIY in Winter – featuring gardening for kids & DIY furniture

This month’s recent pick features home DIY and gardening projects, including some ideas for keeping the little ones busy in the winter! Also in this month’s picks — check out houses with energy saving designs.

Syndetics book coverHandmade personalized photo gifts: over 75 creative DIY gifts and keepsakes to make from your photographs
“Photographs always evoke strong emotions with those special moments caught on camera–this book shows you over 75 fabulous ways to display your photographs on virtually any surface! Using the very latest trends, techniques and materials this books shows you how photos can be added to practically any surface to create unique gifts. Project ideas include: canvas prints, bottles, plates, mugs and jars, jewellery, cushions, blankets, toys and puzzles. Step-by-step photographs will both teach and inspire you to create amazing results–so give your creativity free rein and fill your life with your special moments.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCreative shrub garden: eye-catching combinations for year-round interest
“The Creative Shrub Garden celebrates a plant that is too often taken for granted and gives gardeners the confidence to use shrubs in the design-forward treatment they deserve. This book shows you how to make the most of the many benefits of shrubs–including their hardiness, year-long beauty, size, and low-maintenance nature–by making them the main element in a garden design. McIndoe teaches you the basics first, with tips on choosing shrubs based on a garden’s size, determining soil and climate needs, and pruning and maintenance. He then offers hundreds of shrub combinations that work with 15 main garden styles, including coastal, cottage, Mediterranean, tropical, urban, and more.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDIY furniture 2 : a step-by-step guide / Christopher Stuart.
“Featuring 30 new designs by leading designer-makers from around the world, DIY Furniture 2 builds on the international success of the previous title, showing you step-by-step how to make unique designer furniture.Including both conceptual objects and modern designs, the book showcases innovative processes using readily available materials commonly found at the local hardware store. Each project features diagrams with short, easy-to-follow instructions on how to build the piece.The projects range from novice to experienced, allowing the reader to start where they are comfortable and work towards more difficult projects as they gain knowledge, familiarity with tools, and confidence.The designs in this book will have you thinking about common materials in a whole new way!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProjectKid / Amanda Kingloff ; photographs by Alexandra Grablewski.
“Perfect for crafty parents who are eager to get their kids excited about DIY. Have you ever think a body-wash bottle would make a perfect rocket ship? Author Kingloff uses everyday objects in an unexpected, ingenious way. And these are projects for things kids want to make–and keep–from a juice-box owl to a pirate ship to a curio cabinet for displaying all of their treasures, plus games, jewellery, and more. Also included in the book are basic crafting lessons (such as pom-pom making and weaving) to help children of all ages build a DIY arsenal, a handy guide to must-have tools and materials, and a source directory.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTaming wildflowers : bringing the beauty and splendor of nature’s blooms into your own backyard / Miriam Goldberger.
“Easily cultivate wildflowers in your own garden…and have a year-after-year supply of gorgeous flowers at your fingertips. Wildflower farmer and floral designer Miriam Goldberger is here to show you how.” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe nesting place : it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful / Myquillyn Smith.
“Myquillyn believes that there is beauty in imperfection, in the lived-in and loved-on and used-just-about-up. Imperfections put people at ease and free us to take risks and create the home-and the life-we’ve always wanted. Myquillyn’s warm and insightful words are paired with her own gorgeous four-color photos and creative, easy ideas for arranging, decorating, and building a home that welcomes everyone. Readers will learn how to create their own style-without breaking the bank or stressing over comparisons.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGardening lab for kids : 52 fun experiments to learn, grow, harvest, make, play, and enjoy your garden / Renata Fossen Brown.
“A refreshing source of ideas to help your children learn to grow their own patch of earth. This fun and creative book features 52 plant-related activities set into weekly lessons, beginning with learning to read maps to find your heat zone, moving through seeds, soil, composting, and then creating garden art and appreciating your natural surroundings. Author Renata Fossen Brown guides your family through fun opportunities learning about botany, ecology, the seasons, food, patience, insects, eating, and cooking. The labs can be used as singular projects or to build up to a year of hands-on outdoor experiences. So, slip on your muddy clothes, and get out and grow.” (Abridged from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverWarm house, cool house : inspirational designs for low-energy housing / Nick Hollo ; foreword by Jamie Durie.
“To aid in the minimization of environmental impact, this book offers valuable advice on how to help keep homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter with little or no reliance upon appliances. Illustrated with more than 100 inspiring contemporary examples of low-energy housing design, this fully updated edition contains practical and clever suggestions to make any home–in any climatic zone–an environmentally sustainable, comfortable, and attractive place to live year-round, while keeping electricity, gas, and water bills comfortably low.” (Syndetics summary)

Cosy crafts and home DIY projects for Winter – new home & garden books

This month’s books of seasonal desserts, cosy quilts, beautiful flower arrangements, and fresh veges will surely warm up your winter!

Syndetics book coverWintersweet : seasonal desserts to warm the home / Tammy Donroe Inman.
“Who says the winter months have to be bleak and barren? Author Tammy Donroe sees this season as an opportunity to stay inside, fire up the oven, and produce decadent desserts from the bounty of wholesome winter ingredients. ‘Wintersweet’ encourages readers to make use of fresh, local ingredients for warming seasonal desserts.The fresh and rustic recipes in ‘Wintersweet’ push the envelope of traditional winter desserts like pumpkin or apple pies with such delicacies as Pear Cranberry Clafouti, Spicy Prune Cake with Penuche Frosting, Tangelo Sorbet, and Goat Cheese Cake with Dried Cherry Compote. ‘Wintersweet’ is the perfect dessert companion to make the year’s coldest season a bit more festive.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHandmade gatherings : recipes & crafts for seasonal celebrations and potluck parties / Ashley English ; photographs by Jen Altman.
“Frosty winter fetes, lush springtime soirees, sultry summer get-togethers, and crisp autumn affairs–it’s all here. Handmade Gatherings offers: 16 seasonal party ideas ; 52 recipes ; 32 crafts and activities. From the decor, to the entertainment, on down to the recipes themselves, “Handmade Gatherings” presents inspired suggestions for thoughtful, flavorful, festive communal dining. Food, decor, crafts, and more are part of each event, all collectively assembled and executed.” (Abridged from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverHere comes winter: quilted projects to warm your home
“Inspired by the frosty winters of Saskatchewan, Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks are back with more of the whimsical designs that have enchanted quilters around the world. Make your home cozy all winter with decorative projects ranging in size and shape from pillows and banners to wall hangings, table runners, and lap quilts.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe plant recipe book : 100 living arrangements for any home in any season / Baylor Chapman ; photographs by Paige Green.
“Whether your botanic tastes run to formal with straight lines or wispy and loose with a woodland feel, there is something that will appeal to you in this groundbreaking collection. A helpful ingredient chart will enable the novice to understand better the patterns behind the designs featured and allow for the development of individual designs.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverDrink your own garden : a homebrew guide using your garden ingredients / Judith Glover.
“Drink Your Own Garden has recipes for berry and bush wines, flower wines, fruit and vegetable wines, grain and herb wines, leaf and sap wines, meads and beers, as well as non-alcoholic fruit juices, cordials and teas. This guide provides a detailed recipe and method for each drink, plus a list of potential problems and remedies, with guidelines for each step of the process, including equipment and ingredients and a seasonal guide to what to harvest when. Make the most of the plentiful ingredients in your garden and enjoy a glass of refreshing home brew.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverFor the love of veg : get the best out of your seasonal fruit and vegetables / Bryn Williams with Kay Plunkett-Hogge ; photography by Andy Sewell.
“From savoury to sweet, and from the vegetable patch to the orchard, Bryn shows us how to make the most of fruit and vegetables. Using in-season produce is cost-efficient and healthy – but with Bryn, it is delicious, too. Celebrate the celeriac with Celeriac and Crispy Duck Egg Salad or Celeriac and Apple Soup; reinvent the courgette with Marinated Courgette, Pine Nuts and Parmesan, and Courgette Flower and Halibut. There are sweet vegetable options, too, such as Pea Bavarois or Sweetcorn Panna Cotta. Explore the herb garden, with Basil Sorbet, Bay Leaf Ice Cream and Lavender Vinaigrette. And experiment with fruit with Spiced Poached Pear and Venison, Lemon and Polenta Cake, and Baked Plum and Honey Ice Cream.” (Library catalogue)

Syndetics book coverOne woman farm : my life shared with sheep, pigs, chickens, goats and a fine fiddle / Jenna Woginrich ; illustrations by Emma Dibben.
“Jenna Woginrich’s inspiring journey from city cubicle to rural homestead has captivated readers of her blog and previous books. Now, in One-Woman Farm, Woginrich shares the joys, sorrows, trials, epiphanies, and blessings she discovers during a year spent farming on her own land, finding deep fulfillment in the practical tasks and timeless rituals of the agricultural life.” (Library catalogue)

December Gardening Picks

Amongst this month’s new garden book picks In the Garden was a standout. This beautifully illustrated book cleverly introduces some of our iconic native flora and fauna in a very accessible way.  In the practical gardening tips department  there is advice on how to rejig and refresh existing plant arrangements rather than starting from scratch which is also appealing.

Syndetics book coverIn the garden : explore & discover the New Zealand backyard / Ned Barraud & Gillian Candler.
In the Garden introduces young children to common creatures they can find in a New Zealand garden.  The book describes their relationship with other living things, and includes many interesting and intriguing facts. This book encourages children aged 4-8 to explore their gardens and discover the plants and animals that live there, with sections on bees, wasps and flies; butterflies and moths; snails and spiders; lizards, mammals and birds. Aimed at children from pre-schoolers and up, the book will also appeal to anyone who is curious about the wild side of New Zealand gardens.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRefresh your garden design with color, texture & form / Rebecca Sweet.
“This book is packed with advice on how to wake up boring garden beds, ways to make a cramped garden feel bigger and also ideas on how to  bring a sense of intimacy to an expansive area. If you are needing ideas on how to downplay eyesores, or need to create a certain mood this you will find suggestions on which plants to keep and which to pull, and also how to  thoughtfully integrate hardscaping, structures and accessories.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeatrix Potter’s gardening life : the plants and places that inspired the classic children’s tales / Marta McDowell.
“There aren’t many books more beloved than The Tale of Peter Rabbit and even fewer authors as iconic as Beatrix Potter.  Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is the first book to explore the origins of Beatrix Potter’s love of gardening and plants and show how this passion came to be reflected in her work. The book begins with a gardener’s biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her, including her home Hill Top Farm in England’s Lake District.  Richly illustrated and filled with quotations from her books, letters, and journals, it is essential reading for all who know and cherish Beatrix Potter’s classic tales.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhy can’t my garden look like that? : proven, easy ways to make a beautiful garden of your own / John Shortland.
“John Shortland demonstrates just how easy it is to make adjustments to what is already there to make your garden stunning, whatever its size. Whether it’s an issue with design, plant selection or pruning – or even lack of time – simple solutions are described in clear language that will appeal both to the complete novice and those with more experience.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAustralian coastal gardens / Myles Baldwin, photography by Sue Stubbs.
“The coastal gardens of Australia are as varied as the geography of this vast continent itself. Join Myles Baldwin as he travels around the country, from the gentle landscape of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and the sheer cliffs of Sydney’s Dover Heights to an old copper mining town in South Australia and beyond.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe essential Audrey Eagle : botanical art of New Zealand.
“Presents more than 150 paintings of our most loved native plants, from every major genus. The beautiful full-colour plates are accompanied by detailed notes, and a fresh introduction tells the story of Audrey Eagle and sets her place in the history of botanical illustration of New Zealand’s unique native flora” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe biodynamic orchard book / Ehrenfried Pfeiffer and Michael Maltas.
” This book brings together the best advice for cultivating fruit trees, berries and shrubs using biodynamic methods, with the aim of harvesting healthy fruit free of pesticides.This is an invaluable book with practical advice on all aspects of planning and maintaining a healthy orchard.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGrow your own plants / [Alan Titchmarsh].
“By using a variety of simple propagation techniques you can learn how to grow your own plants for free. Alan Titchmarsh shows how to sow seed, take leaf and root cuttings, divide shrubs, and how to promote growth in your young plants. He covers all the essentials and provides inspirational ideas for filling your garden with flowers, shrubs, trees and vegetables, all grown from scratch.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBackyard foraging : 65 familiar plants you didn’t know you could eat / Ellen Zachos.
“You don’t need to trek into the forest to forage edible plants. Ideal for first-time foragers, this book features 70 edible weeds, flowers, mushrooms, and ornamental plants typically found in urban or suburban neighborhoods. You’ll be amazed by how many of the plants you see each day are actually nutritious edibles. Full-color photographs make identification easy, and tips on where certain plants are likely to be found, how to avoid pollution and pesticides, and how to recognize the plants you should NEVER harvest make foraging as safe and simple as stepping into your own backyard.” (Syndetics summary)

New Gardening books for June

This month we have books covering visual histories of beautiful gardens  and those teaching design principles. Enjoying your garden means engaging the senses  and finding natural pleasurable ways to get things done.  For a bit of fun learn what attracts birds to your garden, build a  treehouse  or garden in your pyjamas.

Syndetics book coverLandprints : the landscape designs of Bernard Trainor / by Susan Heeger ; photography by Jason Liske and Marion Brenner.
“Australian-born landscape designer Bernard Trainor has made it his life’s work to capture the wild soul of his adopted home of Northern California.  Across airy hilltops, craggy seasides, and other one-of-a-kind tracts, Trainor applies simple, understated frames to rugged natural panoramas, the better to bring them into focus. His understated yet powerful landscapes draw inspiration from local plants, regional history, and the contours of the site. Designed to engage all of the senses—the sound of water, the smell of sage—Trainor’s gardens create sensory memories that foster a deep connection to the land.Landprintsshowcases ten of his most ambitious and inspiring gardens through gorgeous photography and detailed project descriptions.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverOrganic gardening : the natural no-dig way / Charles Dowding.
“Bob Flowerdew’s Organic Gardening Bible” is a comprehensive and invaluable guide to gardening in a more natural, sustainable and pleasurable way. Bob has been gardening organically for over 30 years – he knows all there is to know – and he packs this book with advice, top tips, the best varieties of flowers, fruits and vegetables and more, in a typically no-nonsense, practical and anecdotal way. He explains how to get rid of pests and diseases but encourage beneficial wildlife, how to manage weeds, how to grow for flavour and quality using the easiest means and how to plan your garden so that it looks beautiful and runs efficiently throughout the year. This book is a must for organic gardening novices and experts alike.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe elegant garden : architecture and landscape of the world’s finest gardens / Johann Kräftner. 
“Ambitious in scope and lavishly illustrated, this book surveys every period in garden design and landscape architecture, from classical antiquity and the medieval cloisters to the latest trends in modern design.  From the Roman gardens at Hadrian’s villa to the modern work of landscape architects, historical and contemporary gardens are showcased with special attention to the relationship between gardens and houses.  This gorgeously photographed book will captivate travelers and garden admirers alike, and will inspire gardeners themselves with fresh ideas for design, horticulture, and use.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverVeg street : grow your own community / Naomi Schillinger.
 “A few years ago, Naomi Schillinger got together with her neighbours to start a community gardening scheme. Today, they live in a street in which no less than 100 residents have turned their front gardens over to growing their own fruit and veg: lettuces, leeks and beetroot in raised beds, teepees billowing with sweet peas and runner beans, rhubarb by the door… Whether you live in a rented flat with a window box, a house with a front garden – if you have access to a bit of pavement or decide to reclaim some unloved or forgotten corner – there will be ideas in this book which will encourage you to have a go at growing your own fruit and veg (and flowers) throughout the year; and, in so doing, create your own mini Eden” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book cover10 principles of garden design
“A lovely garden can please the eye in the same way as a beautiful painting can, but the advantage of a garden is that it can also involve all the other senses. Covering all aspects of garden design from planning its configuration, to the mixtures of heights and colours that will work together, to choosing the types of plants which allow the garden to transcend the seasons, experienced garden designer Susie White guides the way. 10 Principles of Garden Design provides an introduction to the field for students planning to study garden design or beginning gardeners.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverA practical illustrated guide to attracting & feeding garden birds : the complete books of bird feeders, bird tables, birdbaths, nest boxes and backyard birdwatching / Jen Green.
“Birds are a delight in the garden, not only for their beauty and birdsong, but also because they eat many harmful garden pests. This book contains a wealth of feeding ideas for backyard birds, from seeds, grains and peanuts to fruits, suet cakes and fat balls, and suggestions for the best flowers, shrubs, hedges and trees to plant to encourage birds into the garden.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverGardening from the ground up : getting started with edible gardens / [published by Penguin Books]. 
“Easy steps to homegrown happiness . Growing your own food is an incredibly satisfying way to get fresh ingredients on your table. But it can be daunting knowing where to start. . Gardening from the Ground Up is the down-to-earth guide to starting and maintaining an edible garden.”(Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverEasy organic gardening and moon planting / Lyn Bagnall.
“Organic gardening leaves your patch of earth in a better condition than you found it by working with nature rather than against it. A practicable and better alternative to chemical-dependent and environmentally unsustainable cultivation practices, organic gardening prevents soil damage, and results in more nutritious food, and fewer contaminated waterways and poison-resistant pests.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe vegetable patch : tips and advice for growing your own / Isobel Carlson.
“Get inspired to grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs with this practical and accessible guide to seasonal edible planting. Find out when to plant runner beans, where best to store your produce and how to make cider from your apple harvest. With diary pages for recording your own notes, this pocket-sized companion is an indispensable piece of gardening kit for the green-fingered – homemade produce has never tasted so good.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverKeep out! : build your own backyard clubhouse / Lee Mothes.
“With this guide in hand, any family can easily build their own customized backyard playhouse, clubhouse, treehouse, or fort. Charming designs and illustrations make the process fun, and step-by-step instructions ensure success. Lee Mothes covers everything you need to know, whether you have previous building experience or not. Youll love building a clubhouse with your kids, and your kids will love playing in it for years to come” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverGardening in your pyjamas : horticultural enlightenment for obsessive dawn raiders / Helen Yemm.
“This is the perfect book for you if you are one of the many people who feel that gardening could be your ultimate pleasure if only you knew just that little bit more about it. Helen Yemm manages to strike a happy balance between giving you enough information to get you going and not so much that it scares you or puts you off entirely. She dispenses invaluable advice, minus the mumbo jumbo, with refreshing humour and a clear understanding that not everyone has the wherewithal, in terms of time and finances, to spend every possible moment in the garden.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe good life : four glorious seasons in my country garden / Sarah O’Neil.
“Four glorious seasons in a Kiwi country garden: ‘Discovering how to be a country bumpkin and rub off some of that city-slicker shine has been an interesting journey with a lot of learning things the hard way and definitely a lot of laughter, hard work and a whole lot of fun. But the best part is we now have a flourishing veggie garden supplying most of our vegetable wants and needs. Life couldn’t be more perfect.”(Syndetics Summary)

Recent Gardening picks for May

Recent Picks for May include an array of practical books full of advice and inspiration. To start the selection we have a sumptious book on the gardening heritage of Marrakesh and to finish the story about how gardening in wartime Britain was part of the fight for freedom…

Syndetics book coverGardens of Marrakesh / Angelica Gray ; photography by Alessio Mei.
‘Gardens of Marrakesh’ champions the city’s relevance today in a world of water scarcity and urban development and explores its green heritage, considering some twenty gardens both from an historic and cultural perspective.” (Syndetics Summary)  

Syndetics book coverGarden rescue : first aid for plants and flowers / Jo Whittingham.
“If you need to know how to prevent everyday troubles from turning into gardening disasters, Garden Rescue will save the day. This “first aid manual” for your garden will help you identify, understand, and tackle a wide range of common problems, from poor fruit harvests and unruly trees and shrubs to preventing pests and diseases. You’ll learn what’s normal and what’s not, how to spot early warning signs of distress, and preventative measures to keep your plants healthy. Whether your wisteria is wilting or your fatsia isn’t flowering, Garden Rescue has hundreds of practical solutions so you can be your own garden medic.”(Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverGardening in a changing climate : inspirational and practical ideas for creating sustainable, waterwise and dry gardens with projects, garden plans and more than 400 photographs / Ambra Edwards ; with special photography by Lynn Keddie.
“The approach of this new book is the garden styles of nine regions which have always dealt superbly with heat, drought and water shortage: the Italian Garden, the Islamic Garden, the Patio Garden, the Mediterranean Garden, the Gravel Garden, the Desert Garden, the Bush Garden, the Flowering Desert and the Jungle Garden. Each chapter explains the essence of the style, and its historical roots, including a practical tutorial, a plant focus profiling characteristic plant forms, a colour planting plan and a step-by-step project. This is a critical read for any gardener, offering a practical and inspirational insight into the classic gardens defined by sunshine, humidity and lack of water that will inform the gardens of tomorrow.”(Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverGrow your own plants / [Alan Titchmarsh].
“In this definitive guide, Alan Titchmarsh shows how simple it is to propagate plants by following a few basic techniques. Learn how to produce a flourishing garden filled with ornamental and edible plants, at very little expense. With a  demystified, down-to-earth approach to propagation  and easy-to-follow instructions and step-by-step diagrams this book offers key tips on taking cuttings, sowing seed, layering and division and guidance on promoting growth of young plants.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverGifts from the garden : 100 gorgeous homegrown presents / Debora Robertson ; photography by Yuki Sugiura.
“Brimming with ideas from the pretty to the practical, “Gifts from the Garden” contains more than 100 projects that use the gardener’s bounty throughout the seasons.  If you want to give something practical for the home, indulgent to enjoy at bathtime, or to complement a delicious dinner, there is a present that will suit everyone.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverFruit trees in small spaces : abundant harvests from your own backyard / Colby Eierman ; with photos by Erin Kunkel ; and recipes by Mike Emanuel.
“For gardeners yearning for the pleasures of home-grown fruit plucked straight from the tree, this deliciously encouraging guide cuts the subject down to size. Colby Eierman, garden designer and fruit expert, shows how trees can easily be tucked into the tiniest spots and still yield a bumper crop of gorgeous fruit. Fruit Trees in Small Spaces covers everything a gardener needs to know about choosing and nurturing the most delicious small-space varieties, including selection, pruning, training, irrigation, and disease prevention. With inspiring ideas for spaces of all shapes and sizes and creative recipes for your incredible harvest, you’ll want to plant a mini-orchard in every intimate corner. For the gardener with space limitations, bountiful fruit trees are now within arm’s reach.”(Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe holistic orchard : tree fruits and berries the biological way / Michael Phillips.The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way
“Growing tree fruits and berries is something virtually anyone with space and passionate desire can do – given wise guidance and a personal commitment to observe the teachings of the trees. The Holistic Orcharddemystifies the basic skills everybody should know about the inner-workings of the orchard ecosystem, as well as orchard design, soil biology, and organic health management. Detailed insights on grafting, planting, pruning, and choosing the right varieties for your climate are also included, along with a step-by-step instructional calendar to guide growers through the entire orchard year.Exciting times lie ahead for those who now have every reason in the world to confidently plant that very first fruit tree!”(Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverChristine Walkden’s no-nonsense container gardening : the secret of growing vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers in small spaces / [Christine Walkden].
“Using containers or pots as a base for your gardening is so versatile—try making an eye-catching design feature by growing herbs in a zinc bucket, growing spring bulbs in a pretty olive oil can on your patio, or growing a complete salad in some old tyres. Growing your own containers is both rewarding and fun. This book is packed with Christine’s tips and techniques, from planting to deter pests to choosing the right container for the right crop, along with handy advice on feeding and watering, knowing when to harvest, and treating common diseases. All the projects included are perfect for beginners and provide inspiration for the more experienced gardener; there are even ideas to turn little fingers green.”(Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverDrink your own garden : a homebrew guide using your garden ingredients / Judith Glover.
“Drink Your Own Garden has recipes for berry and bush wines, flower wines, fruit and vegetable wines, grain and herb wines, leaf and sap wines, meads and beers, as well as non-alcoholic fruit juices, cordials and teas. This guide provides a detailed recipe and method for each drink, plus a list of potential problems and remedies, with guidelines for each step of the process, including equipment and ingredients and a seasonal guide to what to harvest when. Make the most of the plentiful ingredients in your garden and enjoy a glass of refreshing home brew.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverA green and pleasant land : how England’s gardeners fought the Second World War / Ursula Buchan.
“Ursula Buchan tells the intriguing and inspiring story of how the British government encouraged and cajoled its citizens to contribute to the war effort by growing their own fruit and vegetables. As a whole nation listened to wireless broadcasts, dug holes for Anderson shelters, counted their coupons and made do and mended, so too were they instructed to #145;Dig for Victory#146;. Ordinary people, as well as gardening experts, rose to the challenge: gardens, scrubland, allotments and even public parks were soon helping to feed a nation deprived of fresh produce. British people tackled wartime gardening and its practical contribution to the Home Front with thrifty ingenuity, grumbling humour and extraordinary fortitude. However, this simple act of turning over soil and tending new plants was potentially just as important in mitigating the psychological and physical shocks endured by a population under threat of bombing and even invasion. Gardening reminded Britons that their country, and its more innocent and insular pursuits, were worth fighting for. Gardening in wartime Britain was a part of the fight for freedom.”(Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Recent Garden Books

These recent additions to our collection are useful and beautiful to look at.  Well worth a pickup is “Flowers” by Carolyne Roehm this beautiful large book is full of sumptuous photographs and for inspiration, the home-grown sophistication of “Contemporary Gardens of New Zealand” is another highlight. 

Syndetics book coverFlowers / Carolyne Roehm ; photography by Carolyne Roehm and Sylvie Becquet ; written with Marc Kristal ; designed by Doug Turshen with David Huang.
“It has been more than a decade since Carolyne Roehm first shared her love of gardening and flower arranging. Now, for the first time ever, she turns her own photographic lens to that passion with Flowers, showcasing more than 300 images of the varieties in her abundant gardens, all captured at their most vibrant and exquisite moments throughout the season. With a gardener’s intimate understanding and a designer’s elegant eye, Roehm shows us the flowers she has cultivated for decades in and around Weatherstone, her historic Connecticut home. While alternating dramatic close-ups with portraits of lovely arrangements and sweeping views of her land, Roehm writes with wit, emotion, and affection of what flowers have meant to her, as well as of the joys and travails of the committed gardener’s life. What began as a casual hobby ultimately became a multi-year endeavor, as Roehm used her camera to explore the special relationship a gardener enjoys with her carefully nurtured beauties. The outcome is a remarkably personal visual essay: sumptuous, surprising, and as revealing of the sensibility behind the camera as the magnificent species that stand before it. This beautiful objet d’art a flower garden in a book is Carolyne Roehm’s most significant and singular volume yet”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverContemporary gardens of New Zealand / Carol Bucknell & Sally Tagg.
“Showcases a spectacular range of unique gardens by more than 20 of the country’s leading landscape designers. Utilising an exciting range of planting styles and architectural forms they have created inspiring gardens that enhance the houses they surround and beautifully complement the environments in which they are located”–Cover flap. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHeritage fruits & vegetables / text by Toby Musgrave ; photographs by Clay Perry ; foreword by Raymond Blanc.
“A sumptuous celebration in words and photographs of the fascinating riches of heritage fruits and vegetables. Published in collaboration with the Royal Horticultural Society and presented by season for growers and seasonally minded cooks, this book introduces heritage fruits and vegetables in entertaining stories and beautifully composed photographs that highlight all the unusual colours, shapes and textures of heritage varieties in a painterly way. It offers full descriptions of each type of fruit and vegetable and includes stories about their origins, development, the reception they received upon introduction to various countries, as well as the folklore associated with them. No one interested in food, plant cultivation or history will fail to be captivated by this glorious tribute to the food we so often take for granted”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLandscape ideas you can use : how to choose structures, surfaces & plants that transform your yard / Chris Peterson.
“A beautiful, inspiring book featuring well-chosen examples of landscape designs that succeed. This book goes beyond pretty pictures to include specific information on plant and hardscaping options so you can make an informed decision on which options make sense for your yard. Subjects covered include: Understanding landscape styles, landscape materials, landscape elements, gardens & border plantings, landscape structures, firepits & fireplaces, landscape lighting, and many more.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGardens for all seasons / Mary Horsfall.
“Gardens for All Seasons is a gardening lifestyle book by bestselling author Mary Horsfall, celebrating the role of gardens in our lives and advising on the timing of jobs in the gardening year throughout Australia. Monthly chapters include topics such as planning, bushfire preparation, watering, pot plant care, mulching, weeding, fertilising, pruning, propagating, pest control, what to plant for different climate zones and what garden venues and events to visit.  Each chapter includes a special topic of the month, such as fun for kids in the garden, biodiversity, manipulating microclimate, and fragrance and first aid”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGrowing for food & colour / Graham Clarke.
“Graham Clarke shows that it is possible to cultivate fruits, vegetables and herbs alongside flowers – and that the beauty of the garden can be enhanced rather than compromised by productive plants”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSalads year-round : a planting guide / Dennis Greville.
“Includes descriptive planting notes and recipes which are accompanied by his own colourful photographs making this a useful kitchen-garden handbook. Salads year-round is the perfect companion for any cook keen to create simple and delicious salads with ingredients picked straight from the garden”–Back cover. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe perfect plot : starting an allotment from scratch / photography by Kim Sayer ; foreword by Christine Walkden ; [writer, Jo Monroe].
“The Perfect Plot paints a vivid picture of how to start an allotment from scratch. Told through the inspirational story of the Cornworthy site, it is a perfect guide for beginners. By following the successes and failures through the seasons of the Cornworthy villagers, budding allotmenteers will learn how they too can set up their own allotment and keep it going and growing. But this book is not just about the allotment – it is also about a community, a cast of characters who describe in their own words their triumphs and disasters, as well as the new methods and growing techniques (some very surprising) they have discovered along the way. Above all, though, it is the story of a diverse group of people united by a shared passion for growing produce”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe NZ vegetable garden : the complete guide to growing vegetables and herbs in New Zealand / Rachel Vogan ; with recipes by Helen Jackson.
“A practical, highly illustrated guide to planting and maintaining a vegetable garden that will become an essential reference for gardeners of all skill levels seeking to grow some, or all, of their own food.This newly revised and updated third edition of The Tui NZ Vegetable Garden contains all the essential information you need, from how to condition the soil to how and where to plant, what kind of yield to expect from each plant variety and tips on planting and harvesting to acheive the best results in your garden. There is also a section on how to combat pests and diseases in order to build a healthy and thriving garden – whether you aim to grow just a few tomatoes in pots on your balcony or enough food to feed a family.Including more than 70 common and more exotic vegetables and herbs, each entry concludes with ideas for turning produce into tasty meals. There is also a garden diary that advises what needs to be done in the garden each month to create a flourishing vegetable patch”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSeedswap : the gardener’s guide to saving and swapping seeds / Josie Jeffery.
“Josie Jeffery shares her passionate expertise in this introduction to seed-swapping, sowing practical information in the context of an exciting global movement. It covers simple husbandry and harvesting techniques plus guidelines on designing your own seedbank.” (Syndetics summary)

New Gardening Books for November

We have an inspiring, visual and anedoctal garden book line up this month. “Seeds: Time Capsules of life” is certainly a notable entry and a bit different from the usual fare. The supermagnified closeup images  of different seeds are truly stunning and verge on the miraculous. There is something here for anyone who has a love for gardens, plants and flowers. 

Syndetics book coverSeeds : time capsules of life / Rob Kesseler & Wolfgang Stuppy ; preface by HRH the Prince of Wales ; edited by Alexandra Papadakis.
“Seeds are the most complex organs plants ever produce. A major keystone in the evolution of land plants, the first seeds appeared some 360 million years ago. Since then they have developed into highly sophisticated propagules that have enabled plants to dominate the Earth’s surface and conquer almost every possible habitat from the Antarctic to the hottest deserts. The diversity of shapes and sizes encountered in seeds is nearly endless and ranges from the impressive Seychelles nut at twenty kilos to the dustlike seeds of the orchids. No matter how small, packed into every seed is the complete genetic information needed to give rise to a new plant, whether it is a tiny herb or a giant rainforest tree. True time capsules of life, seeds may travel thousands of miles and, if necessary, wait for hundreds of years before germinating”. (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThe roots of my obsession : thirty great gardeners reveal why they garden / Thomas C. Cooper, editor.
“Collects essays by thirty world-famous gardeners on why they garden, whether it be for aesthetic beauty, food production, or environmental sustainability, and includes contributions by Stephen Orr, Anne Raver, and Helen Dillon.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe seed underground : a growing revolution to save food / Janisse Ray.
The Seed Underground is a journey to the frontier of seed-saving. It is driven by stories, both the author’s own and those from people who are waging a lush and quiet revolution in thousands of gardens across America to preserve our traditional cornucopia of food by simply growing old varieties and eating them. The Seed Underground pays tribute to time-honored and threatened varieties, deconstructs the politics and genetics of seeds, and reveals the astonishing characters who grow, study, and save them”. (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverPermaculture design : a step-by-step guide / by Aranya.
“Are you excited about permaculture but unclear how to put it into practice for yourself? In this unique, full colour guide, experienced permaculture teacher Aranya leads you through the design process from beginning to end, using clear explanations, flowcharts and diagrams. It is based on course worksheets which have been designed, refined and tested on students over time. Linking theory to practice, he places the ethics, principles, philosophies, tools and techniques directly into the context of the process itself. While written for anyone with a basic grasp of permaculture, this book also has plenty to offer the more experienced designer.This guide covers:Systems and patterns ~ Working as part of a design team ~ Land and non-land based design ~ Design frameworks ~ Site surveying and map making ~ Interviewing clients ~ Working with large client groups ~ Identifying functions ~ Choosing systems and elements ~ Placement and integration ~ Creating a design proposal ~ Project management ~ Presenting your ideas to clients ~ and much more.A great reference for anyone who has done, or is thinking of doing, any kind of permaculture course.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book coverThe gardenist : a new way to create inspiring garden spaces / text and photography by Michael McCoy.
” Michael McCoy is ‘The Gardenist’: garden designer, author, broadcaster and obsessive home gardener. In this bold new look at gardens, he shares the secret to understanding what makes a good garden, and shows you how to plan and create your own. ‘The Gardenist’ teases out the anatomy of gardens to discover the different roles plant types play”.(Syndetics summary).

 Syndetics book coverNatural companions : the garden lover’s guide to plant combinations / Ken Druse ; botanical photographs by Ellen Hoverkamp.
“In Natural Companions, acclaimed garden writer Ken Druse presents recipes for perfect plant pairings using diverse species that look great together and bloom at the same time. Organized by theme within seasons, topics include color, fragrance, foliage, grasses, edible flowers and much more, all presented in photographs of gardens that show planted combinations from a wide variety of climates and conditions. Natural Companions also features more than one hundred special botanical images of amazing depth and color created in collaboration with artist Ellen Hoverkamp using modern digital technology.Filled with an incredible amount of horticultural guidance, useful plant recommendations, and gardening lore—all written in Druse’s charming, witty style—this book is a must-have for gardeners and lovers of plants and flowers. ” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe thrifty gardener / Alys Fowler ; photography by Simon Wheeler. 
“Gardner’s World presenter Alys Fowler shows us how gardening is something you do, not something you buy. You don’t have to spend money to have a great garden. Slow gardening – like slow food – is taking time to savour. It’s the process, not this sudden transformation that matters. When you build a little, dig a bit, plant a little, harvest often and more importantly don’t try and do it all at once, nature will work for you. For this is gardening that won’t cost the earth. This is a book that will eliminate the intimidation factor and reveal the ins and outs of soil, seeds, sowing and growing. Designed to be highly appropriate for beginners, it will cover the basics like planning, planting and pruning using organic and inexpensive methods. Its quirky projects and thrifty ethic will mean that it reaches beyond the usual gardening audience – this book is for those who would rather be found hunting through a skip than be seen in a garden centre”. (Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverGardens for all seasons / Mary Horsfall.
“Gardens for All Seasons is a gardening lifestyle book by bestselling author Mary Horsfall, celebrating the role of gardens in our lives and advising on the timing of jobs in the gardening year throughout Australia. Monthly chapters include topics such as planning, bushfire preparation, watering, pot plant care, mulching, weeding, fertilising, pruning, propagating, pest control, what to plant for different climate zones and what garden venues and events to visit. Mary details her own gardening year, including jobs done, fruits and vegetables harvested, food cooked based on the harvest, what was in flower and wildlife observations – all on a month by month basis. Each chapter includes a special topic of the month, such as fun for kids in the garden, biodiversity, manipulating microclimate, and fragrance and first aid.” (Syndetics summary)

Garden fresh – time to get that green feel good feeling

Here are some new gardening books that will help inspire you to make a garden and home  that reflects your personal style. Your little piece of kiwi paradise no matter how grand or simple it is.  Nothing beats the taste of home-grown veggies and that feeling when harvesting something you have sown, planted and grown yourself, nor the delight of seeing your garden coming alive with colour.

Syndetics book coverMaking home : adapting our homes and our lives to settle in place / Sharon Astyk.
“Other books tell us how to live the good life — but you might have to win the lottery to do it. Making Home is about improving life with the real people around us and the resources we already have. While encouraging us to be more resilient in the face of hard times, author Sharon Astyk also points out the beauty, grace and elegance that result, because getting the most out of everything we use is a way of transforming our lives into something much more fulfilling. Written from the perspective of a family who has already made this transition, Making Home show readers how to turn the challenge of living with less into settling for more – more happiness, more security and more peace of mind. Learn simple but effective strategies to: save money on everything from heating and cooling to refrigeration, laundry, water, sanitation, cooking and cleaning; create a stronger, more resilient family; and preserve more for future generations. We must make fundamental changes to our way of life in the face of ongoing economic crisis and energy depletion. Making Home takes the fear out of this prospect, and invites us to embrace a simpler, more abundant reality.” (Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverLandscaping : principles and practices / Jack E. Ingels.
“Newly reorganized and updated, the fifth edition of this popular text offers a comprehensive introduction to landscape management. To present a balanced view of the industry as a process, the text is now organized by the industry’s three career areas – design, contracting, and maintenance – to illustrate the interdependence of these areas. New material covers such current topics as xeriscaping and landscape calculations, providing students with the latest in landscaping techniques and management. Excellent for launching students into landscaping careers!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRain gardens : sustainable landscaping for a beautiful yard and a healthy world / Lynn M. Steiner and Robert W. Domm.
“Rain gardens are at the forefront of the green revolution. This environmentally friendly landscaping captures rainwater runoff rather than redirecting it into storm drains. The result is less erosion, less water pollution, and a beautiful, low-maintenance, sustainable garden. This is the first rain garden handbook for the backyard home gardener. Co-authors Robert Domm and Lynn Steiner draw on hands-on experience to help homeowners build beautiful rain gardens in their own yards. Illustrated with color photography, this instructive book offers specific advice about planning, building, planting, and maintaining your garden. Learn about city grants, how to calculate runoff, rain barrels, attracting wildlife, gray water recycling, and much more.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ornamental edible garden / Diana Anthony ; photographs by Gil Hanly.
“Combine creativity, aesthetics and practicality in your very own garden with an inspired mix of fruit, vegetable, herbs and flowers. This beautifully illustrated book gives practical information on everything you need to know to design and plant an ornamental edible garden, including advice on laying pathways and edgings, building raised beds, erecting plant supports, hedging and enclosures, how to espalier, as well as plans for traditional ground layouts for any garden size or shape.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover30 minute gardening / Jenny Hendy ; [photography by Peter Anderson & Brian North].
“Shameless shortcuts for a great garden super-fastLove being in the garden but not keen on spending the whole weekend making it look perfect? If so, then 30 Minute Gardening is just the book you’ve been looking for. This will have you sitting down enjoying a drink on the patio after just 30 minutes of stress-free, guilt-free gardening. Packed full of shameless shortcuts and practical tips and ideas that have instant impact, all the know-how is broken down into simple steps and picture sequences including 122 projects on creating beautiful borders, perfect patio pots and how to keep your salad growing all summer.30 Minute Gardening is the perfect rescue remedy for anyone who loves gardening but has little time on their hands. It’s all about how to have a neat garden, a pretty garden, a productive garden…and still have a life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe anxious gardener’s book of answers / Teri Dunn Chace ; illustrations by Colleen Coover.
“In the tradition of classics like Beverly Nichols’s Merry Hall, this is a marvelous account of how one gardener created his garden and a sense of place. It’s an essential title in the “how I did it” genre of garden writing”.-Bonnie Poquette, Whitefish Bay, WI (c) Copyright 2012.

Syndetics book coverGarden DIY / Chris Maton … [et al.].
“Garden DIY provides a thorough grounding in basic garden landscaping skills and offers a host of inspiring projects to show how to put them into practice. Ideal for experienced and novice DIY enthusiasts alike, this book covers a wide range of different garden features including boundaries, surfaces and water features”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe garden source : inspirational design ideas for gardens and landscapes / Andrea Jones ; foreword by James van Sweden.
“This is a must-have for anyone looking for garden design ideas. Hundreds of full-color images are cleverly arranged to offer thousands of possible design solutions and inspirations for any type of garden. The book includes gardens from all over the world and features projects by the best contemporary designers at work today, including Topher Delaney, James van Sweden, Piet Oudolf, Rick Darke, Sean Hogan, and many others. Alongside never-before-seen private gardens, the book also includes celebrated public spaces such as Manhattan’s High Line-a disused elevated freight track redesigned into innovative, naturalistic plantings-whose ideas can be adapted for the home garden.
The book is divided into four sections: “Connect” looks at design features that act either as connecting or dividing elements; “Divide” considers elements that can be used to create rooms within gardens; “Space” explores different spatial types; and “Styles” covers every type of garden style throughout history, from cottage gardens to today’s minimalist designs. Rounded out with a series of useful directories on designers, sources, and public gardens, this is the book for garden design ideas.” (Syndetics summary).

New home and garden books – retro style chic, creative kids spaces to magical gardens

This month we have a smorgasboard of books showcasing creative ideas for garden and home on offer.  A particular favourite is “My cool caravan”. Check it out.

Syndetics book coverMy cool caravan : an inspirational guide to retro-style caravans / Jane Field-Lewis + Chris Haddon ; photography by Hilary Walker.
“A weekend away in a stylish caravan provides the perfect antidote to 21st-century living, and more and more people are now breathing fresh “retro” vibes into the humble recreational vehicle. Old-style campers also tap into the nostalgia/retro market and the desire for a simpler lifestyle. “My Cool Caravan” aims to inspire a new generation of camper owners and provide an idiosyncratic sourcebook for the design conscious. This book looks at 30 styled campers in detail, covering themes such as Country Cottage, Rustic, Romany, Funky 1970s, Airstream, Trailer Park Treasures, and Recycled.” – (adpated from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFleamarket chic : the thrifty way to create a stylish home / Liz Bauwens and Alexandra Campbell ; photography by Simon Brown.
“This hunting and foraging how-to features collections of china, jewelry, kitchenalia, frames, mirrors, fabrics and furniture arranged in innovative interiors. Mixing, not matching, is extolled and family heirlooms mingle with IKEA. Clever tricks of the design trade are plied with confidence and skill as a home’s floorboards are painted with a tile motif from the Alhambra. Even a leather sofa is painted red: “if you haven’t paid much for them in the first place, then you have much less to lose.” Investment tips are shared on vintage and modern collectibles and there is sound buyer-beware advice on Internet purchases.(Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.” – (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)

Syndetics book coverFood@home / Christine Dann. 
“Author/gardener/cook Christine Dann looks at the ways in which food production, distribution, preparation and service are being brought back home to produce superior food with minimal environmental impact. Christine’s journey starts with the rediscovery of home food gardening traditions of both Maori and Pakeha, and ends at the dining table where a delicious healthy feast is being served. Her route takes her to community gardens, farmers’ markets, artisan food producers, the Slow Food Movement, organic orchards, school gardens, backyard edible empires, the Spud in a Bucket programme, foraging, freeganism and fine ecological dining. And along the way she shows how everyone can get a piece of this delicious action.” – (adapted from Fishpond summary)

Syndetics book coverBringing nature home : floral arrangements inspired by nature / text & photography by Ngoe Minh Ngo ; arrangements by Nicolette Owen ; foreword by Deborah Needleman.
“This is the first volume to showcase how to be inspired by nature’s seasonal bounty and bring that nature into the home through floral arrangements.
From the well-known lifestyle photographer Ngoc Minh Ngo and Nicolette Owen of Brooklyn’s Little Flower School, “Bringing Nature Home” presents a portfolio of unique and original floral arrangements directly inspired by the seasons and the local environment, with sources ranging from farmers’ market offerings to the backyard garden. A how-to section offers advice on the selection, trimming, and care of the arrangements and on repurposed and unique containers, making this book practical as well as inspiring.” – (adapted from Fishpond summary)

Syndetics book coverGreenhouse gardening / Peter Blackburne-Maze.
“Packed with advice and tips, this practical book explains how to get the most from your greenhouse. By first looking at the design and site of the greenhouse, it leads the gardener through the joys and opportunities of growing a large range of plants, both edible and ornamental, under glass that would be impossible in the open.” – (adapted from Fishpond summary)

Syndetics book coverStarting out with bulbs : easy-to-grow and collectable bulbs for the gardener and bulb enthusiast / David L. Jones.
“Not only are bulbs such as daffodils and tulips beautiful, many such as garlic or onion can also be eaten. With practical information about where to plant, when to prune and how to feed, this book features information about 200 species of these plants, organised by family and including great colour photos. A comprehensive index is included for quick reference.” – (adapted from Fishpond summary)

Syndetics book coverMagical gardens : cultivating soil & spirit / Patricia Monaghan ; foreword by John Dromgoole.
“Discover the spirituality in your own gardening experience with the meditations, journal exercises, and simple rituals contained in this fascinating book. Featured are 16 schematics for unique gardens, including an angel garden, a fairy garden, a witch’s garden, two sun gardens, and Kuan-Yin’s Garden of Mercy. color insert.” – (adapted from Fishpond summary)

Syndetics book coverThe homemade home for children : 50 thrifty and chic projects for creative parents / Sania Pell.
“Following the success of The Homemade Home, Sania Pell now turns her attention to a younger audience, creating a stylish, innovative, contemporary and child-friendly collection of 50 projects for parents to make with and for their offspring. There are ideas for decorating the nursery and children’s bedrooms, with great storage tricks, display ideas, and decorations ranging from a nautical-themed bed throw to a banner embellished with silk flowers. When it’s playtime, choose from making planes from balsa wood, sewing simple yet fun costumes, or creating a fabulous play boat from a metal bath tub and a canvas sail. There are suggestions for the garden too, including a waterproof picnic rug and a play tent which utilises the washing line rather than cumbersome tent poles. There are even quick ways to customise children’s highstreet clothing by adding collars, applique and buttons. If you can thread a needle, hold a paintbrush or wield a glue gun, you will find this book packed with inspirational ideas.” – (adapted from Fishpond summary)

Syndetics book coverSabrina Soto home design : a layer-by-layer approach to turning your ideas into the home of your dreams / by Sabrina Soto.
“The thing that stands between most homeowners and the home design they dream of is the lack of a simple, effective decorating process. They have the ideas, but they’re hungry for the “how.” In this accessible design manual, Sabrina Soto helps you realize your design visions one step at a time. Packed with useful and time-tested tips and shortcuts like those Sabrina features on her TV shows and website, the book also shows you how to save money, time, and effort without sacrificing style.* The process works for any room, or for a whole house, and applies to any decorating style” – (adapted from Fishpond summary)

Syndetics book coverPlayful home : creative style ideas for living with kids / Andrew Weaving.
“Tapping into today’s trend to return to unstructured playtime and move away from over-scheduling and electronic games, “Playful Home” is perfectly suited to the times. Andrew Weaving celebrates the best of childhood, from his favorite games and crafts projects to the whimsical decor that kids love. The result is kids’ rooms designed to feed and inspire the imagination, as well as to hold fabulous collections of toys and books. With the philosophy of integrating play into our daily lives, “Playful Home” looks at twelve family homes designed with children in mind, from the foyer to the back door, which stylishly embrace kids’ activities and interests. The featured spaces are the kids’ rooms, which combine flair and fun so successfully that they end up being the hub of the entire house.” – (adapted from Fishpond summary)

Home and Garden Recent Picks: What to do about everything

Although these new items include one book that will tell you what to do about everything – which is extremely handy – there are some more in-depth guides too. A couple I have my eye on teach how to build a wood fired oven – backyard pizza! – and how to cultivate a lawn that never needs to be mowed. Find your own projects below …

Syndetics book coverWhat to do about everything : a manual for domestic life / Barbara Toner.
What to Do About Everything is the ultimate guide to 21st century living. It covers everything from changing a tire to surviving divorce, and addresses all kinds of households, not only the traditional nuclear family. Applying researched information and empathy to all aspects of domestic life, this book ensures that anyone with a roof over their head can find the help they need.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLiving in a nutshell : posh and portable decorating ideas for small spaces / Janet Lee ; photography by Aimée Herring.
“A do-it-yourself guide to transforming the smallest of spaces into fun and functional living areas easily and economically features tips on organization, personalization, and using colors and vintage materials.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBird-friendly nest boxes and feeders / Paul Meisel.
“Invite feathered visitors to your yard with these simple projects. Meisel  offers a range of unfussy birdhouses and feeders. Each project is well organized, including lists of materials, templates with dimensions, and instructions. Knowledge of woodworking is assumed, though Meisel provides lots of useful information about materials and the birds themselves. This slim volume delivers, with great dimensional charts for attracting specific bird species. While more bare-bones than fanciful birdhouse books like Richard T. Banks’s Designer Birdhouses, this is a solid addition. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.” – (adapted from Library Journal summary)

Syndetics book coverEnvisioning the garden : line, scale, distance, form, color, and meaning / Robert Mallet ; drawings by Yves Poinsot ; translation by Bryan Woy. 
“An expert shares practical, easily achieved principles for making beautiful gardens.What style to give a garden and how best to lay it out are perennial puzzles for creators of gardens. Gardener/designer Robert Mallet shows how the basic elements of design—line, scale, distance, shape, color, and other sensory associations—can open the viewer’s outlook toward broad perspectives or, conversely, can lock us up in a cage. Reviewing all these elements, Mallet explains what really works, offering a range of practical ideas that can be adapted to visually enlarge space and liberate the mind.” – (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverThe gardener & the grill : the bounty of the garden meets the sizzle of the grill / Karen Adler & Judith Fertig.
“Maintaining a brand can sometimes be a thankless proposition. Adler and Fertig, better known in the previous decade as the BBQ Queens, wore tiaras in their 2005 The BBQ Queens’ Big Book of Barbecue and proclaimed, “We grill and smoke like girls.” Seven years and several cookbooks later, they appear to have taken a Shakespearean tumble and are now humble gardeners, “two women who love to cook and especially grill.” It is indeed a matured collection featuring a host of complicated taste combinations.  (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved” – (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)

Syndetics book coverBuild your own wood-fired oven / Alan Watt.
“This book is a treasure trove of guidance and wisdom, advice based on years of practical and personal experience. It is a comprehensive guide to building your own wood-fired oven. It offers a brief history of wood-fired ovens, basic design considerations, and a guide to starting your wood fired oven project.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeautiful no-mow yards : 50 amazing lawn alternatives / Evelyn J. Hadden.
“In many American towns and cities, the steady hum of lawn mowers and gasoline-powered weed whackers constitutes a summer symphony.  Drawing examples from expert gardeners from around the world, garden design expert Hadden (Shrink Your Lawn) suggests a number of ways that lawns can be replaced by meadow and prairie gardens, rain gardens, or edible gardens, among others. She then takes us step-by-step through the process of converting a lawn to a garden and maintaining it, offering very thorough recommendations for a significant variety of plants that thrive in various types of gardens. With refreshing zeal, the author urges us to rethink our yards, helping us to see that a lawnless or a less-lawn landscape can fascinate us with its beauty, complexity, and variability. (Feb. 7) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved” – (adapted from Publisher Weekly summary)