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”. (

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”. (

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”. (

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 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)

New Home and Gardening books

This month the major focus is on Gardening, although given the season the one book on low energy housing in this selection is very apt.  To follow we have books about how to make your own worlds within worlds… the magic of terrariums, edible ornamentation, vertical gardening to bulb forcing and rustic garden projects.

Syndetics book coverTiny world terrariums : a step-by-step guide to easily contained life / Michelle Inciarrano & Katy Maslow ; photographs by Robert Wright.
“Terrariums are a vibrant, unique way to inject a little greenery into any home. In Tiny World Terrariums , authors Katy and Michelle of Brooklyn’s celebrated Twig Terrariums offer step-by-step instructions for building your own, from selecting glass containers to layering soil and filtration to adding moss, succulents, and other plants. To give each terrarium a whimsical, personal touch, Katy and Michelle demonstrate how to use tiny figurines and toys to create to-scale scenes, such as a couple at their wedding, a CSI crime scene, and Central Park in springtime. Photos of gorgeous finished terrariums and detailed instructions will empower anyone–whether green-thumbed or not–to create their own Lilliputian worlds.” – (adapted from 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.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRustic garden projects : 28 decorative accents you can build / by Dawn King.
“Rustic structures and accents made from green, “bark-on” woods, is the hottest trend in garden and yard d’cor and this new book has the projects everyone wants! Rustic Garden Projects offers readers a tremendous opportunity to save money while learning a new hobby.The heart of the book is 28 plans and step-by-step directions for a wide range of projects, from decorative hangings to rugged garden furniture. The projects are remarkably easy to build, and most can be completed in a single weekend.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGardening vertically : 24 ideas for creating your own green walls / Noémie Vialard with Méline Vialard ; foreword by Patrick Blanc ; translated by Bryan M. Woy ; illustrations by Dominique Klecka.
“Until recently the idea of vertical gardening was limited to growing climbing plants on walls and trellises, but it has been completely transformed in recent years through the impetus of Patrick Blanc, who invented the concept of the Vertical Garden, also known as the Mur Végétal, or Green Wall. Since then, many new developments have appeared (ready-made walls, small garden scenes, etc.). Step-by-step photographs guide you through the different stages in the development of a wall like this for personal enjoyment. Among the themes: foliage wall • mosquito repellent wall • aromatic herb wall • perfumed wall • wall of mosses • wall of ferns • black-and-white checkerboard wall • patchwork of succulents • circle of thyme • winter jasmine screen • wall of vegetables • and many more!” – (adapted 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.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBulb forcing for beginners and the seriously smitten / by Art Wolk ; [foreword by Brent and Becky Heath].
“You can grow tulips, daffodils, crocuses, and the rest of their spring-blooming brethren indoors, all winter long, when the view outside your window reveals snow, sleet, or icy rain. Instead, imagine your windowsills filled with an array of dazzling flowers. In this informative and entertaining book, famed bulb forcer Art Wolk humorously reveals the secrets he’s used for three decades to win silver cups and baskets of blue ribbons. And, he admits, bulb forcing requires no Green Thumb. As long as you can put soil and bulbs in a pot without mortally wounding yourself, you’ll succeed. Wolk’s book is filled with laugh-out-loud humor and more than 350 glorious photos that show you exactly how to produce your own indoor, wintertime flower show every year.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Art of Creative Pruning

Just imagine what some creative pruning or perhaps a green roof could do for your garden….  Or if you would like some up to date tips on vegetable gardening or organic gardening we have some new books that could appeal….

Syndetics book coverThe art of creative pruning : inventive ideas for training and shaping trees and shrubs / Jake Hobson.   “Nothing brings a touch of artistry to the garden like ornamental pruning, and a series of deliberate cuts can create landscapes and evoke faraway places. All that’s needed to recreate the effect in the garden are a sharp pair of pruners, some imagination, and the instruction found in The Art of Creative Pruning.  Picture boxwoods trimmed into whimsical Russian nesting dolls, hedges inscribed with words, and a tree snipped to resemble the toppling tiers of a wedding cake. These are just a few of the unusual ideas featured in the beautifully photographed pages. All the practical considerations are here as well, including pruning to improve a view, remedial pruning to fix problems, and pruning fruit trees to increase yield.” ( 

Syndetics book coverSmall green roofs : low-tech options for greener living / Nigel Dunnett … [et al.].
“This colorful guide to building small scale living roofs provides practical instruction for creating ecologically friendly coverings for sheds, garages and accessory buildings with grasses, moss, lichens and other growing plants. Sections cover the structural requirements for building green roofs and retrofitting existing structures, types of plants and planting strategies and encouraging biodiversity. The bulk of the volume showcases finished small scale green roof projects form the UK and the United States in numerous color photographs. (” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGreen roofs : a guide to their design and installation / Angela Youngman.   “Environmentally friendly buildings are a must for the future, and among the many new ideas for buildings are green roofs—but what exactly is a green roof, and how do they work? Why are individuals and businesses installing them, and how difficult is it to install and maintain a green roof? This guide introduces the range of green roofs available, from the small garden shed to towering skyscrapers. ” (

Syndetics book coverThe Timber Press guide to succulent plants of the world : a comprehensive reference to more than 2000 species / Fred Dortort.   “A great companion book for beginners as well as avid collectors of these fabulous plants.”–Nancy Szerlag (Detroit News) (Fishpond)

Syndetics book coverThe New Zealand vegetable book / [written by Glenda Gourley ; gardening tips by Dennis Greville].   “Everything you need to know about the wide variety of vegetables available in New Zealand, including: * What to look for in selecting the best quality vegetables * How to prepare * How to keep * Ways to eat * Tips on growing * Nutritional value * Selection of delicious recipes From Artichokes to Watercress – a huge variety of veges, and even herbs and garnishes are covered.” (

Syndetics book coverThe complete countryman : a user’s guide to traditional skills and lost crafts / Alan Titchmarsh ; special photography by Jonathan Buckley.  ” In a comprehensive and practical guide to the countryside, passionate and hugely knowledgeable countryman Alan Titchmarsh explores the heritage of rural Britain, its landscapes and wildlife, and its traditions, customs, and crafts.  He identifies the best breeds of cattle for meat and milk, explains how best to look after a pig, and shares the secrets of a successful small holding. From keeping chickens to dressing a stick, from dry-stone walling to creating a wildflower meadow, the essence of country life and the best places to encounter it are identified in this celebration of the British countryside and its delights, skills, and treasures. Lavishly illustrated, beautifully produced, and information-packed, this is an inspirational showcase for all that is best about rural Britain and a primer on how to reconnect with its wonderful wise ways.” (

Syndetics book coverOrganic gardening for dummies / by Ann Whitman and the editors of the National Gardening Association.  “For many gardeners, the term “organic” has become synonymous with “safe, ” which makes sense, since avoiding harmful pesticides and chemical fertilizers is a big part of organic gardening. But going organic also involves selecting the right plants and garden locations. This guide offers: Ways to develop soil naturally, use safe fertilizers, manage pests, and battle plant disease without harmful chemicalsSteps to grow an organic lawn, plus hands-on advice for cultivating vegetables, herbs, fruit and nut trees, and flower gardensResources for organic supplies and information Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.” (Syndetics summary) 

Syndetics book coverThe new organic gardener / Tim Marshall.  “Organic gardening is much more than simply throwing a bit of mulch onto your garden beds.. Tim Marshall’s passion and love of gardening is present on every page of this book. He not only guides you through the principles of organic gardening, he explains the reasons behind these principles and why they work. Successful organic gardening, Tim fervently argues, is not just a matter of blindly following a set of rules, it is about experimenting, being creative and making discoveries about how plants best thrive and flourish in your unique garden.The New Organic Gardener shows you how to grow a large range of not just vegetables and herbs but also flowers, trees, including fruit trees, shrubs and even a traditional lawn.” (

Country houses, veggie patches, and creating a sanctuary in the city : it’s all about the garden!

We’ve been combing through the new books on gardening, gardens and enjoying them – here are our picks! Come in and check them out, or reserve them online in time for the Christmas break. Discover projects for your backyard, beautiful gardens, and tips for recycling and reusing materials creatively. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverThe Kiwi backyard handbook / Justin Newcombe.
“More than any other people in the world, Kiwis live their lives in the backyard. Whether it’s a quarter acre or a tiny patch of lawn, or if you aspire to a burgeoning veggie garden and a few chooks or to relaxing by a palm-edged pool, a good spot for your barbecue is always a must. The Kiwi Backyard Handbook is an essential if you’re planning a garden makeover. It contains 25 easy but impressive projects with step-by-step photographs to stir up your creativity, along with a wealth of good advice to get you started.  Justin Newcombe is a professional landscape gardener and a DIY guru, and will show you how to turn your backyard into your dream oasis.” (

Syndetics book coverGertrude Jekyll and the country house garden / Judith B. Tankard.
“This is a grand project, mining the archives of Country Life to select a 150 images that exemplify the work of England’s extraordinarily gifted and influential designer, Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1942). Tankard is a seasoned landscape historian who taught at Harvard for 20 years and has written extensively in her field. The text thoroughly supports the visual presentation, offering readers in-depth understanding of Jekyll’s projects, innovations, and approach.”Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (”

Syndetics book coverThe Little Veggie Patch Co. : how to grow food in small spaces / Fabian Capomolla and Mat Pember.
“Lots of Fun packed full of all the information you’ll need (plus some hilarious tips and stories from the little Veggie Patch boys own experience along the way), this colourful guide is for anyone interested in growing their own food.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHome ground : sanctuary in the city / Dan Pearson ; photography by Howard Sooley.
“Dan Pearson is one of our most accomplished and innovative of our garden designers today. We’re treated to a year in the life of Pearson’s garden. If you’re expecting a designery kind of tome, you’ll be disappointed. This is more about one man’s approach to his garden, getting the feel of the soil and how and why certain decisions were made. This is a man who thinks deeply about his garden and takes his time. It’s a heartfelt and personal volume and is much richer as a result.” (

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