Tag Archives: gardening

  • When Autumn Leaves Turn To Gold

    I dillied and dallied and autumn turned to winter too fast. One moment the leaves were turning to glorious colours and I was thinking, wow I must do an autumn post. However I was wrapped up in my new book Woven Textiles of Tunisia, and suddenly it seemed that autumn had vanished.

    To be fair we have still only had one night of frost (although I might have escaped a couple of nights at the beginning of November as I was in sunny Greece), but one night last week changed the landscape of the garden from dazzling colours to silvered and nipped with frost, plants limp and reeling from the cold. Those blazing fiery hues of autumn leaves fell to the ground and became brown and wizened and often wet and soggy. I had been astonished to see asters, cornflowers, red hot pokers, verbena bonariensis and rudbeckia still going strong to the end of November.

    One is reminded of the eternal cycle, the return to earth, the renewal that follows. But for a while it will be frosty photos. So I recall the beautiful colours of autumn. I particularly love the rusty colours of Taxodium.

    You can enjoy year-round colour with my gardening books

    Words and images copyright Karen Platt 2016

  • My Gardening Year 2015

    Highlight of my year was definitely my trip to Madeira. This is my kind of garden paradise. Unusual plants, palms, cycads, tropicals, and fabulous flowers even in December. The gardens are simply fantastic. They are also easily accessible by public transport. My guide to the gardens of Funchal including the low-down on plants, detailed guides to gardens and my itinerary will be out shortly.

    Writing is always ongoing and on my to finish list I still have the purple flowers and blue plants books. So 2016 should be a bumper colour year. I have other plans for new books too so stay tuned.

    I have also been developing my gluten-free range of foods, which I am looking forward to launching soon along with a cookbook.

    This year I have launched the ultimate last-minute garden Xmas gift - you can purchase ebooks up to Xmas Eve and have them delivered to any email on Xmas morning.


    Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2015

  • Remarkable Plants by Helen & William Bynum


    Remarkable Plants by Helen & William Bynum, hardback published by Thames & Hudson. ISBN 9780500517420, price 24.95 available from www.thamesandhudson.com

    Most plants are remarkable, but here we have a selection of plants that shape our world according to the authors. They have created an incredible book to celebrate 80 plants from the immense collections at Kew. The text shows how we have relied on plants for so many everyday things that we take for granted - clothing, food and medicine. The uses of each plant are described, together with their relationship with humans, combined with over 200 exquisite botanical illustrations. The sections include Transformers, which looks at crops; Taste taking care of foods; Heal and Harm discussing the world of natural medicine; Technology and Power discovering the bounty of plants; Cash Crops featuring plants that made money; Landscape for the appreciation of plants on a large scale, Revered and Adored looking at plant mania and Wonders of Nature for the extraordinary in the plant kingdom. Intelligently written and easy to read, this book puts you in touch with the deep roots of nature. Highly recommended.

  • Modern Garden Design by Ulrich Timm


    Modern Garden Design by Ulrich Timm, hardback published by Becker Joest Volk Verlag. ISBN 9783938100424, price 30.00 available in English from www.bjvv.de

    Subtitled 'The Big Book of Ideas' this book presents many photographs of modern garden design. The stunning photographs are taken from gardens in Germany and Holland and at the Chelsea Flower Show, which showcases garden designers from around the world. Each photograph is accompanied by text, which describes the design elements of the garden. Whatever your likes and dislikes, your style, your imagination, you'll find something you like in this book. It shows the trends and how garden designers are pushing the boundaries. You can see at a glance what makes a successful garden design. Ulrich even mentions me in the book for my love of black plants - this was a complete surprise to me, I was unaware of this mention, but grateful for it.

  • Living Wreaths by Natalie Bernhisel Robinson

    Living WreathsLiving Wreaths by Natalie Bernhisel Robinson, softback published by Gibbs smith. ISBN978-1-4236-3264-1, price 16.99 available from www.gibbs-smith.com and in the UK from PGUK.

    This is a glorious book of contemporary wreaths. If you love gardening, you should love this. It has great appeal with its modern take on the wreath for year round colour. From herb wreaths to succulent wreaths, this is the best book on this subject. There are twenty projects in all with step-by-step instructions and beautiful colour photographs. It just makes you want to create a wreath. You'll find out all about the materials and useful tools, tips for hanging and more. Then you are ready to create the fabulous designs with wonderful plants. I love the Irish Moss design, the Mixed succulents and there's even a lettuce wreath. Highly recommended.

  • Dream Plants For The Natural Garden by Piet Oudolf and Hank Gerritsen

    Dream Plants for the Natural GardenDream Plants For The Natural Garden by Piet Oudolf and Hank Gerritsen, softback published by Frances Lincoln. ISBN 978-0-7112-3462-8, price 20.00 available from www.franceslincoln.com

    This is a terrific book, written by two highly respected authors and plantsmen. 1200 plants are included and are described in a unique, frank and highly entertaining way. The advice is accessible and interesting. This is a wonderful book that should find pride of place on any plantsman or woman's bookshelf and be of use for many years. Anyone who grows perennials should have this book. The only minor negative is that some of the photographs are not good enough for a book of this standard. Admirable.

    Buy now

  • The Gardens of Venice and The Veneto by Jenny Condie

    The Gardens of Venice and the VenetoThe Gardens of Venice and The Veneto by Jenny Condie, hardback published by Frances Lincoln. ISBN 978-0-7112-3404-8, price 35.00 available from www.franceslincoln.com

    The gardens of Italy figure on any garden lover's to visit list, and those of Venice come near the top of the list. There was a previous book entitled the Gardens of Venice by Albrizzi, published in 1989 by Rizzoli, but this new book surpasses that in text and photography. This book explores just twenty gardens in all. A quick scan on the internet reveals more. In particular Venice could have been explored in more depth.

    Third book offers fabulous garden profiles detailing the history, the villas, the owners and their gardens. The text is interesting and the photography does more than support the text. Explore the different garden styles and the interpretations that reflect their personal character. Some of these gardens are hundreds of years old, fragile yet eternal.

    Jennie knows how to set the scene, tell the story and bring each garden to life. This book is of interest to gardeners, historians, sculpture lovers and to anyone who loves all things Italian.

    Buy now

  • Good Companions by Josie Jeffery

    Good Companions: The Mix & Match Guide to Companion PlantingGood Companions, The Mix and Match Guide to Companion Planting by Josie Jeffery, hardback, spiral bound published by Leaping Hare Press. ISBN 978-1-908005-71-7, price 9.99 available from www.iveypress.co.uk

    This is the kind of book that gardeners dream of. It lies flat affording easy access to 75 plants that just love growing together. It is an easy to use format, the pages are split and symbols are used. If the symbols match up with one another, then the plants can be grown together. There is a short history of companion planting, information on working with nature and achieving harmony in the garden, a guide to planning your garden and the directory of perfect matches. Brilliant. Design your garden with ease. Josie gives us the ability to produce healthy crops. Some of the photos let the book down a bit, but the information is what matters and that is top class.

    Buy now

  • How to Grow Microgreens by Fionna Hill

    How to Grow Microgreens: Quick, Easy Ways to Grow and Eat Nature's Tasty SuperfoodsHow to Grow Microgreens by Fionna Hill, softback published by Frances Lincoln. ISBN 978-0-7112-3471-0, price 12.99 available from www.franceslincoln.com

    Find out all about microgreens, those little seedlings of herbs and vegetables that are full of goodness. Larger than sprouts, but smaller than baby salads, microgreens are a wonder crop. Easy and quick to grow, needing little space and so nutritious. Grow your own fresh food, in 7-10 days on your kitchen windowsill. How cool is that? However, the book does refer them to a superfood and I am sure that term was banned.

    This book includes 20 microgreens and how to grow them plus much general advice as well as a few recipes. There is a limited list of seed suppliers, but you would do better to consult The Seed Search. All in all, it is a very good book with good advice and excellent photography.

    Buy now

  • Gardens of Marrakesh by Angelica Gray

    Gardens of MarrakeshGardens of Marrakesh by Angelica Gray, hardback published by Frances Lincoln. ISBN 978-0-7112-3345-4, price 20.00 available from www.franceslincoln.com

    With its fabulous photographs by Alessio Mei, this is a sumptuous book that will entice you to sit back in your armchair and dream of Marrakech (I prefer this spelling) gardens. Colour is what hits you in the eye and I do so love colour. The wondrous light and the often simple style of gardening that is so effective. I have wanted to travel to Morocco for many years, and this book has in one way fulfilled a yearning because I feel that I now know the gardens. Yet on the other hand, it has re-kindled my earnest desire to see the gardens in person. The book covers the different areas of Marrakech and includes gardens in the walled city and outside. Some of the gardens will be familiar whether or not you have travelled to this part of Africa. Is there anyone in the gardening world who has not heard of the Majorelle Gardens and its famous blue paint? However, you will most likely discover more gardens you have not heard of than ones you know. The author has achieved a balance in writing about a familiar subject but imparting the right amount of information about each garden. The photography is stunning and really makes the book. There are twenty gardens in all - each an oasis of its own. Some of the gardens are open to the pubic, others belong to Riads or hotels and you would need to drink at the bar or order food to see the gardens. Admission details are given at the back of the book. This book is simply beautiful.

    Buy this book now

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