Container plants Flowers Fruit Garden activities Garden design Gardening Plants RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2020 vegetables Water World 2020

Gardening Spring-Summer 2020


Cover picture: 23 May 2020 real life Water World relatives locked down on their yacht on the Caribbean sea off the coast of Martinique doing a bit of container gardening.


Dig for Victory ...


With no RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year due to Covid-19 Government restrictions, there has been little to inspire amateur gardeners.  However, since the beginning of Lockdown, there has been a growing interest in gardening ... pardon the pun. With a very pleasant Spring this year and time on our hands ... there has been a particular enthusiasm for those able or fortunate to spend every waking hour in our gardens and especially allotments across the country ... not only providing fresh food ... but escapism ... feeding the heart soul and mind.


It’s a quite different scenario to the Second World War and following years of continued rationing.  Our food and goods are still generally available, though with some shortages.  However, with some farm foods not being harvested due to lack of workers, there may be difficulties ahead.


What is perhaps similar to WWII is the genuine support for one another and national pride showing through.  Bunting and Union Jack flags still adorn bridges following VE Day and there is a sense that somehow together we will get through this pandemic.


Even people stranded on their yachts moored off the coasts of islands in the Caribbean, (with the threat of hurricane season approaching in July, and with no country allowing them to make landfall) have turned to growing tomatoes and herbs on their decks in the style of the film “Water World” ... Perhaps a topic for another blog in the future?


Yes you can grow container plants at sea


Lockdown Water World


Growing any plant well can be surprisingly difficult ... they are fussy things ... wanting the right soil type, depth of planting, amount of water, amount of daylight, physical support, protection, etc. etc. ... and also have lots of wildlife wanting to eat them before you do! 


So here at The Book Cave we have put together a sample of the many books we have available to help you learn the complexities of gardening:

(Apologies for layout ... Shopify has a glitch in its publishing format at the moment)


The Essential Guide to Gardening Techniques"

It’s what is says on the cover ...


Remember ... there is nothing wrong with making life easier for yourself ... having recently witnessed the use of a mini-digger machine on an allotment ... (We do however need to be mindful of not annoying our neighbours though ... 🤪)

Organic Vegetable Gardening [Paperback]

Practical advice on how to grow organically ...

You may also like: Delia's Kitchen Garden: A Beginners' Guide to Growing and Cooking Fruit and Vegetables

Garden Pests and Diseases (Royal Horticultural Society's Encyclopaedia of Practical Gardening)

Don’t let all your hard work go to waste ...

Produced in association with the Royal Horticultural Society, the titles in this series have become standard works of practical gardening reference.

Each book is illustrated with easy-to-follow, step-by-step illustrations that clearly guide the reader through all the essential techniques of successful gardening. This volume covers almost every illness that plants can suffer and what to do when things go wrong. It provides techniques for identifying and dealing with pests, diseases, and disorders in ornamental plants, vegetables, fruit, and lawns.

Sadly this book does not advise on methods of keeping ‘pesky-pirates’ from stealing your booty on land or sea ...

The Gardeners' Book: For the Gardener Who's Best at Everything

The Gardeners' Book is the green-fingered friend that every novice gardener needs when embarking on a new project, or just for inspiration on how to rejuvenate or improve an existing garden.

A celebration of the wonderful and ancient art of gardening, The Gardeners' Book also contains a wealth of practical tips. Including: fascinating facts, gardening lore and history; garden games; make your garden the most impressive in the street; how to make and nuture a compost heap; when to sow a lawn; how to keep tools in pristine condition; and planning your garden to maximum effect.

From allotment gardening to tending the topiary and from greenhouse to greenfly, The Gardeners' Book will inspire and spur you on to greater things.

The Complete Guide to Container Gardening [Paperback]

Container gardening not only keeps your plants contained from spreading, but allows you to easily move them around and to have them on hard surfaces.  Indeed ... many people don’t have a garden ... but that does not mean you can’t Garden ...

We are perhaps used to people in flats having window boxes or planters on the roofs of their narrow boats, but the Lockdown has seen a new phenomenon ... food growing in containers on yachts moored at anchor offshore in mass ...

If you are one of these ... this is the Book for you.

If you like this, you may also like: Cool ContainersContainers (RHS Practicals)Containers (The Royal Horticultural Society Practical Guides)The Contained GardenPot it, Grow it, Eat it: Home-grown Produce from Pot to Pan.


The Wrinklies' Guide to Gardening is the perfect gardening companion for seniors - cultivate your garden and you'll cultivate your wrinkly health.

With acres of tried and tested tips and advise, this book will introduce you to this perennial hobby, making your garden the envy of your friends.

The Times - A Century In Photographs: Gardening 1900-2000

This collection combines two of this century's best loved passions - gardening and photography.

Over 300 photographs - a mixture of monochrome and colour - have been chosen for their humour, charm, aesthetic, curiosity and historical value. Some are hauntingly beautiful, others remarkably rare. Others still depict not only garden history, but social history in the making - snapshots, for example, of gardens in the Second World War when every spare yard of soil (castle moats, royal parks and polo grounds included) was devoted to vegetable production.

Arranged chronologically, the photographs are each accompanied by an explanatory caption.

Drawing on the photographic archives of the Royal Horticultural Society, The Times and the Hulton Getty Picture Library, this is the story of gardening's triumph at the century's end as the most popular and multi-faceted pastime of all.


Whether chatting across your garden fence with neighbours, or with your adjacent fellow allotment keeper ... all at safe social-distance of course ... these quotes will help ...

Family Garden: A practical guide to creating a fun and safe family garden

A garden has to serve many roles when bringing up a family ...

Small Space Gardens

A small garden can be beautiful, low maintenance, sheltered, intimate and fun. Good design, both inside and outside the home is timeless and is based on sound principles.

“Small Space Gardens" takes you through the entire planning sequence, providing a progressive organizational sequence that melds interior, exterior and borrowed landscape into an elegant, practical and integrated whole.

The first chapter demonstrates how to analyze your existing space what you have in your garden already, what you want to keep and what you will need to introduce, from furniture to lighting techniques to walls and paths.

This will help you decide what you want from your garden whether it is an eating area or play zone, herbs or barbeques. It then goes on to look at the planning of your new garden how best to maximize the space that you have. It shows how to use dividers, paths, walls and raised areas to create separate areas and hidden corners.

Many people think of plants and planting in the initial planning stages, when in reality it is the spatial framework which must come first.  Once this is established, the planting can then breathe life into the garden, and the chapter on planting strategy will help you formulate a considered plan to create colour, texture and atmosphere.

You may also like: Small Family Gardens: A Step-by-step Guide to Creating Stylish Modern Spaces

New Kitchen Garden: Gardening and Cooking with Organic Herbs, Vegetables and Fruit

This is an innovative work that brings together organic gardening and imaginative vegetarian cookery.

The down-to-earth gardening advice from Adam Caplin has been combined with delicious recipes from Celia Brooks Brown, both experts in their fields.

Water in the Garden

"Water in the Garden" is a celebration of water in all its breathtaking forms, from formal pools and rills to cascading streams and waterfalls, from bog gardens to swimming pools.

Divided into three main sections, the book presents a range of examples of how water can be used in the garden. Pools, ponds, canals and rills, streams, and bog gardens are discussed in "Reservoir", followed by waterfalls, wall-mounted features, springs and wells, and fountains and jets in "Outlet". A section on "Elements" looks at those all importance special features that can be used in association with water, including bridges, islands, stepping stones, sculpture and light.

Each of these chapters contains two case studies that look in detail at a specific, real-life garden.

There are also eight easy-to-follow projects by leading water garden designers for an array of water features, including a Caribbean cascade and bubbling mosaic dish. In a section on "Planting", Gilly Love indulges her passion for water plants, showing how they can be grown together to create brilliant visual effects and providing invaluable advice on their cultivation requirements, while "Practicalities" aims to answer all those practical and technical water garden questions.

Water can bring a garden alive ... making this a must have book ... unless you are living in the real life Water World, perhaps by now longing for land ... 

You may also like: Water Gardens in a WeekendRHS Practical Guide: Ponds & Water Features

Garden Planning (The Royal Horticultural Society)

It’s worth spending some time designing the layout of your garden, since it will be time consuming to change once in place.  A well designed garden can give great joy and lead the eye around the space, whether you are in the garden or viewing from your house ...

Other titles worth considering: John Brookes: Garden and Landscape Designer,   Garden Structures (The Royal Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Practical Gardening)Garden UK

The design of existing classic gardens can bring great inspiration, with one of England’s lost garden recreations being interesting from the aspect of discovering how previous generations designed and constructed their gardens: Heligan: The Complete Works

The texture, colour and height of your planting will be essential for construction of your garden, so the following may be of interest: Climbers and Wallplants (National Trust)Bamboos and Grasses: Simple Steps to SuccessLilies (Wisley Handbooks)

Hard surfaces have an important part to play in many gardens where there will be a regular thoroughfare: RHS Practical Guide: Paths & PavingB&Q Outdoor Living: The Inspirational New Step-by-step Guide to Today's Outdoor Living Space


Food for Thought: A Culinary Tour of the English Garden Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit

Simon Courtauld, whose “Food for Thought” column has become such a success in The Spectatormagazine, presents his first collection of food musings and garden gossip.

Focusing primarily on vegetables and herbs, these witty observations and quirky illustrations will fascinate foodies and delight just about anyone who can't resist a good story or delicious anecdote.

Tantalising tidbits include the dos and don'ts of roasting chestnuts over an open fire and reflections on whether apple sauce was invented thanks to pigs. Plus, Courtauld offers extremely practical tips on growing, cooking, and eating legumes, which makes this a must-have for any kitchen or greenhouse.

Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening

The book that helps readers plan their garden planting right, so they can dramatically increase the bounty of their garden. "An informative, illustrated and practical guide."

Herb Gardens (RHS Practicals) Royal Horticultural Society

A guide providing practical information on the selection, display and cultivation of a herb garden.

This book is one of a series that addresses specific plants or plant groups, garden problems, design and planning solutions, as well as building projects for garden structures and features.

100 Garden Games: As published in 1936

Ever wondered what kids did before television and games consoles?

With this practical little handbook from the 30s you will rediscover forgotten fun. First published in 1936, this new edition reproduces the charm and innocence of the original.

There are 100 favourite pursuits of our forefathers from everyday sports, such as badminton and croquet, to more inventive games like lawn billiards and balloon goal. All the rules are explained succinctly with playing areas and key equipment illustrated.

Whilst Lockdown is only slightly and slowly being eased, it will still be necessary to spend a great deal of time at home and in our gardens ... hence rediscovering these games will be a joy ...

The Ladybird Book of the People Next Door (Ladybirds for Grown-Ups)

With increased time with our neighbours we need to retain our sense of humour ...


Logan is reporting his next-door neighbour to the police again.

This time, it’s for using a hairdryer before 8am. Last time, it was for trespass by blossom.

“You again,” says the duty sergeant, and he gets the forms.

We all try to ‘Love thy neighbour’, but sometimes they just try our patience.

The people next-door see everything we do, and often, we see more than we would like of them. Sometimes literally.

Their dog barks all day, their children play the recorder all evening, and sometimes, they even grow enormous, genetically-modified vegetables in their garden.

You can always rely on your neighbours; if for nothing else, then at least for an endless supply of passive-aggressive notes of complaint about the position of your recycling bin.

"It’s enough to make Peter and Jane choke on their watercress sandwiches." – The Independent

Do you ever find yourself longing for a simpler time? That time before the horrors of speed-bumps, automated supermarket checkouts and infernal switchboard options; the days when telephones had wires and a reassuring rotating dial, a tweet meant birdsong and Brexit might possibly have meant a new kind of breakfast cereal?

Fear not, for you are not alone. What you need are the new manuals for our times, simple primers for the everyday predicaments we find ourselves in.

Dear friend, what you need is a Ladybird.

For a great many more titles, simply search: “Garden”

Your 25% Lockdown discount has been extended to help in these difficult times

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