Saturday, December 16, 2017

Books for Holiday Gift Giving



Snow has finally arrived this week transforming the garden into a Christmas card. All the fallen leaves have been raked off the pathways and all my spring bulbs have been tucked snuggly into the ground. There is nothing to do now, but dream up fresh new plans for the coming spring. 

What new plants should I add? What improvements can I make? Gardening books are always a great way to find some answers. And with that in mind, I have a list of some book suggestions for last minute gift giving.


I would like to read this book for obvious reasons–it's a book about two things I love; gardening and dogs.

Nigel the golden retriever first appeared in the background of Monty Don's segments for the popular BBC television series "Gardener's World" and has risen to become a star in his own right. Nigel the dog has inspired huge fan interest, fan mail and even his own social media accounts. In this new book, Monty Don writes about Nigel and the other dogs that have been a part of his family's life and explores what it is that connects is with animals so deeply.

To confirm my interest in this book, I looked through the reviews on Amazon where it has received 4.8 out of 5 stars. One reader/reviewer writes,"It made me laugh and cry. A book written from the heart..." On Goodreads, the book has received 4.34 stars. The top review on Goodreads describes the book as "A lovely, light read..." 

All this makes me want to read the book even more. I'm hoping to find Nigel: My Family Life and other Dogs under the tree this Christmas!


The Art of Floral Forager features fanciful images all created with petals, leaves and other natural materials that artist Bridget Beth Collins gathers from her garden.

Included in the book are images of birds, fish, insects, mystical creatures and portraits of iconic women that have all been made using botanical materials. You can take a look inside The Art of Floral Forager here. You can also purchase prints of individual works of art on Bridget's website.


Of all the books I reviewed in 2017, Glorious Shade created the most reader excitement and no wonder. The book is a great resource for anyone interested in shade gardening. It's well written and packed with information. Read my full review here.

Another great gift for the shade gardener is The New Shade Garden (2015) by Ken Druse. This book covers basic topics such as designing your own shade garden and highlights a good array of perennials, shrubs and trees for shady conditions. Of the two books, I'd say this one has the most inspirational photos.


My pick for Best Coffee Table Book of 2017 would be Timber Press's Gardens of the High Line

The High Line was once an elevated rail line that had been neglected for nearly two decades. Today, it has been transformed into a public garden and serves as powerful example of urban revitalization. What I think gardeners will love about this book are the inspired plantings by world renowned Dutch landscape designer Piet Oudolf. 

With page after page of gorgeous photography, this book would do any coffee table proud. Read my full review here.


For those gardeners who love winter craft projects to keep them busy, I have two good books to recommend.

I follow San Francisco artist Tiffanie Turner on Instagram. Her very detailed paper flowers are simply amazing. Tiffanie's recently published book The Fine Art of Paper Flowers offers instructions for over 30 paper flowers including marigolds, roses, daffodils and more. Projects include flower crowns, daisy chains, boutonnieres and garlands. The photography in this book is wonderful.

The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers by artist Livia Cetti features techniques for creating 27 blooms, including peonies, poppies, roses and hibiscus.  The author leads readers through the creation of each flower with clear instructions and step-by-step photographs. There are even pointers on how to create garlands, centrepieces, wreaths and corsages.


Erin Benzakein, the renowned owner of Floret Flower Farm, has written a terrific book full of professional tips for growing, harvesting and creating exquisite arrangements of year-round flowers. 

I have been following Erin's blog for a few years. I admire her openness, business smarts and her passion for flowers. Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden is another book on my personal wish list. 


I enjoyed Marta McDowell's books on Beatrix Potter and Winnie-the-Pooh, so I am looking forward to reading The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder: Frontier Landscapes that Inspired the Little House Books. 

Plants, animals and landscape were an integral part of the Little House series of books. In her new book, she explores Wilder's life, inspirations and her deep connection to the landscape. 


Virginia Woolf's Garden is the story of the garden at Monk's House in Sussex, England where author Virginia Woolf spent summer weekends. Virginia was no gardener, but a little shed in the garden that her husband Leonard created was the place she came to write books like To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway

Author Catherine Zoob and her husband were tenants at Monk's House through the National Trust for over ten years. They helped to return the house and garden to its former glory. The book includes gorgeous photographs along with historical pictures and embroidered plans of the garden hand stitched by the author.


It wouldn't be one of my book reviews without a giveaway. 

Pretty Tough Plants highlights 135 plants that are designed to handle difficult conditions. Each of the water-smart choices has a color photograph and details about the plant's size, feature and bloom time in a handy box that can be read at a glance. The plant list includes perennials, annuals, groundcovers, grasses, trees and shrubs. A handy chart at the end of the book makes it easy to choose the right plant for your garden's specific conditions.

Thomas Allen & Sons has kindly given me a copy of Pretty Tough Plants to give away. Because this book will go to a winner through the mail, I will have to limit entry to readers in Canada and the USA. 

Please leave a comment below, if you would like to be included in the book draw. The draw will remain open until January 1st. If you are not a blogger, you can enter by leaving a comment on the Three Dogs in a Garden Facebook page (there is an additional link to the Facebook page at the bottom of the blog). As always, you are also welcome to enter by sending me an email (jenc_art@hotmail.com).

21 comments:

  1. I love finding more garden books and you have some wonderful ones listed here....I would especially love to get Pretty Tough Plants....either by winning it or buying it in the new year! Thanks for the list and contest...

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  2. Thanks for the recommendations, I'll be keeping an eye out for these books! Have a Merry Christmas Jennifer!

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  3. So many gorgeous books to choose from, I don't know if I could pick a favorite. The paper flowers are astonishingly beautiful, I wonder if I could recreate a reasonable facsimile? I love your book reviews, Jennifer!

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  4. Love the opportunity to win a gardening book. We are building a small cabin where the winds tear across steep banks. I'll need persistence AND "Pretty Tough Plants" to have a garden!

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  5. I love discovering new gardening books. Pretty Tough Plants would be a most welcome addition to my collection. I live in Edmonton where our weather has seen quite the change and with it the need for some pretty tough plants.

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  6. I always enjoy new gardening books. Would love to have 'Pretty Tough Plants'. Please enter me in your draw. Always enjoy your blog.

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  7. Ive been away from your blog for a bit. Im enjoying getting caught up . I would love to win this book. Thankyou for the chance.

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  8. So many lovely new gardening books, but I have put two on my wishlist: 1. Nigel: my family life and other dogs and 2. Gardens of the High Line.

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  9. One can never have too many gardening books. This one looks quite interesting.

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  10. Would love to win one of these great gardening books. thanks for the chance.

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  11. Thanks for the list of books to read over the winter and thanks for the chance to win a book - very exciting.

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  12. Pretty Tough Plants sounds like a great book. Thanks for the chance to win it! I need tough plants to survive our extreme NE temperatures! Merry Christmas!

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  13. Oh gosh, I wish I weren't in such a hurry because I'd love to natter on and on about some of the great book selections you've shared here -- several that I would love to have. The one that jumps out for me is Nigel: My Family Life and other Dogs. I need to keep that one in mind for sure!

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  14. Thanks to everyone who has entered the draw so far. All the best for the holidays and the new year.

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  15. I used to make paper flowers...long ago. My mother loved to receive my paper bouquets since she is allergic to flower pollen. I'll have to look for these books at my library.

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    1. I have been dying to make paper flowers for a while. I am going to be on the lookout for these books too.

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  16. Thanks for the opportunity to win "Pretty Tough Plants"!

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  17. I am in the process of expanding my garden and would love some recommendations- and another book to curl up and dream with during these cold winter months!

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    1. Books are great for winter "gardening" aren't they?

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  18. I have read and so enjoyed your blog for quite some time now, but don't think I've ever commented to tell you how much I enjoy and learn new things from every post. "Pretty Tough Plants" would be a wonderful addition to my small gardening library. My garden is in dire need of tough plants as I re-do lots of mistakes I've made over the years! Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Nancy. All the best to you too for 2018!

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