Great Gardening Books for the Gardener in Your Life

For valuable planting tips and inspiration, add these gardening books to your collection or give them as a gift.

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Gardening Books

Do you have a gardener in your life? Someone who love to grow beautiful flowers, trees, shrubs and/or maybe fruits and vegetables? Well, if you have caught yourself scratching your head wondering what to give them this holiday season, worry no more! Here is a great gift idea for those who love to garden (or for yourself).

As a horticulturist and garden writer, I am often given advance copies of gardening books to review, which is a very enjoyable perk. There are so many wonderful gardening books that cover a variety of gardening topics such as edible gardening, companion plants and how to create a beautiful garden without a lot of work.

Gardening books are a great source of inspiration for the beginner gardener to the advanced. So, I raided my bookshelves so that I could show you some of my favorites.

Lawn Gone And The New Low-Maintenance Garden Book

Low-Maintenance Gardening Books

Both of these books are great choices for the homeowner in your life who wants an attractive landscape, but doesn’t want to have to spend a lot of time working outdoors to maintain it.

The NEW Low-Maintenance Garden by Valerie Easton, is filled with great photos and easy to implement strategies for a low-maintenance garden that looks beautiful without the fuss.  Smart plant choices and garden design are given to help achieve this goal.

Lawn Gone, is written by my fellow blogger, Pam Penick, and I must say that I have been so inspired by the beautiful examples of lawn-free landscapes.

In her book are a lot of pictures showing how attractive lawn-free landscapes can be along with helpful tips and plant choices for how to create a beautiful garden without the lawn.

A few photos in “Lawn Gone” are especially important to me because they are mine.

planting with kids

In this photo, my son and I are planting a perennial called Whirling Butterfly (Gaura lindheimeri ‘Siskiyou Pink).


The photo on the left is mine also, taken of a beautifully xeriscaped landscape.

Sugar Snaps and Strawberries Book and the Backyard Homestead

Edible Gardening Books

One of the most popular gardening trends right now are growing edible gardens. Sugar Snaps and Strawberries is a great resource in helping your create an edible garden in smaller spaces such as growing favorite herbs in containers.

The Backyard Homestead takes this a bit further in showing you how to transform larger areas (a side yard or  backyard) into a mini-homestead filled with vegetables, fruit and chickens.  This book also gives great ideas in how to use your home-grown produce such as making fruit vinegars.

Vegetable gardening books

Garden Problem Solving Books

Whether the gardener in your life has grown vegetables for years or is thinking of starting one, each of the books above has something to offer.

Carrots Love Tomatoes is hands down, my favorite vegetable gardening book.  It is talks about companion planting, which is the idea that certain plants do best when planted with others.  An example is planting roses with garlic.  Bad bugs such as aphids don’t like garlic and will tend to stay away.  Garlic has other properties that also help you grow healthy roses and you can read more here.

This book also covers some vegetables that don’t like each other and will actually impede the growth of others.  For example, did you know that you shouldn’t plant tomatoes near potatoes?  The tomatoes will make the potatoes more likely to get potato blight.

Have you ever wondered what is causing those little holes on your leaf lettuce?  Or maybe you are curious about the light yellow speckles on the leaves of your cucumbers and squash?  The book, What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden, is filled with the answer to these and many more problems affecting your vegetables.  There are photos showing each problem, making diagnosing your problem easy AND they offer solutions to help correct the problem.

Does the idea of growing vegetables that are ready for the table in short amount of time appeal to you?  The Speedy Vegetable Garden will teach you that young radish greens are delicious in salads or that you can eat young carrots, just 6 weeks after planting from seed?  If you know an impatient gardener, then this is the book for them.

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist, writer and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. She is the CEO and owner of 'AZ Plant Lady,' an education company that aims to help people garden successfully in the desert climate. She is the author of the book, Dry Climate Gardening, and her byline has appeared in publications such as Birds & Blooms and Phoenix Home & Garden magazine. She is an instructor at the Desert Botanical garden and Tucson Botanical Gardens.