I’ve taken a look back over the gardening books I have read in 2015 and selected those I have enjoyed most. It is, I believe, important to say that these are my personal favourites and I don’t aim put them out here as the best books of the year. We all have our likes and dislikes, our particular interests and biases and my choices are influenced by my particular set of likes and dislikes. Books with an Irish interest will always attract my attention while I always enjoy reading of plants, gardens and gardeners.

Top of my list for 2015 and top of that list by a long mile, was The Irish Garden by Jane Powers and Jonathan Hession. It was, I felt, a book we needed here in Ireland, a comprehensive and substantial treatment of Irish gardens which would not only show the wonderful gardens we have here but would do so in a manner and with an authority and beauty that would lead garden lovers, Irish and non-Irish, to appreciate the horticultural heritage of this island. It is no wonder that it won the Inspirational Book of the Year award at the Garden Media Guild Awards in London in November.

Read a full review of The Irish Garden…. HERE! 

Somewhat peculiarly, I have a series of books rather than a single title for my second choice as I feel The Plant Lover’s Guides from Timber Press has been a series of books of the highest standards of editing, production, writing, illustration and information presented in the most accessible and reader friendly manner. I mention “editing” first as I have been very impressed by the work of those at Timber Press in this project. They have selected a dozen flower groups, sought out experts on these and then had each write to a format so that the books in the series are similar in layout and design and are also pitched at a similar lever which will appeal to the enthusiast while being accessible to the beginner. Salvias, Ferns and Snowdrops were published in 2014; Dahlias, Epimediums, Sedums, Tulips and Asters in 2015 with Hardy Geraniums, Magnolias, Primulas and Clematis due in 2016. The titles to date have all been excellent and those coming will certainly be as good.

asters     DAHLIAS     TULIPS

For full reviews: Asters                         Dahlias                                        Tulips

This is the Burren by Karsten Krieger depicts a most beautiful region of Ireland with photography which does it justice. The Burren is among my favourite walking locations where there is also an incredible wealth of wildflowers so it is no surprise that this book would appeal to me. It is a gem of a book.

This_is_the_Burren  Read a full review …… HERE! 

I hold the following three books in equal regard though they each deal with a different aspect of horticulture.  One covers flowers in the wild; the second the delights of a single garden and the third the gardens of a single designer so each has its appeal to different interests.

I have only recently read Flowers of the Silk Road by Christopher Gardner and Basak Gardner and it was a book of almost overwhelming beauty displaying a range of plants which most of us could only dream of seeing.  Christopher and Basak have travelled sections of the Silk Road from Turkey to China over fifteen years and have recorded the beautiful flowers along the route.  The photography is stunning and is presented in a large format and sumptuous book.

Flora of the Silk Road Cover    Read a full review…… HERE!

Paradise and Plenty is Mary Keen’s account of Eythrope in Buckinghamshire, the private gardens of Lord Rothschild, where she gives an historical insight into the development of the gardens as well as describing present day gardening methods and practices there. It is wonderfully written and delightfully illustrated and recounts not only tried and tested gardening techniques which have come down through the years in the garden but also tells of today’s approach and successes.

paradise-and-plenty-131112-800x600     Read a full review …… HERE!

The Gardens of Arne Maynard is a book of the most sumptuously beautiful gardens designed by the author. The photography matches the designs and is quite breathtakingly beautiful. For most of us these are gardens to dream of and with this book you can dream perfectly.

ARNE MAYNARD COVER    For a full review read…… HERE!


Finally, worth mentioning:


Paddy Tobin

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