Dispatches from Across the Pond–Whose Top Ten?


The UK’s Times presents its round-up of garden gift books for 2007.  The list includes a few books we’ve ranted about here, including the latest from the late great Christopher Lloyd (It’s reassuring to know that garden writers don’t let a little thing like death stop them from publishing books) and another book by Helen Dillon.  There’s also an intriguing garden history, described this way:

The Arcadian Friends (Bantam, £25/£22.50), in
which Tim Richardson explores the invention of the English landscape garden
in the early 18th century, and the intellectual Whig versus Whig and Whig
versus Tory agendas they symbolised; how the landscape garden grew out of
geometric baroque gardens rather than sweeping them away as is always
claimed; and how the best, most interesting landscape gardens had already
been made when the gardening superstar Capability Brown came on the scene,
“striving to be meaningless, to blot out complexity with a smothering

and a number of other pretty coffee table books, specialty plant guides, and the like.

What surprises me is that there is no overlap between the Times’ picks and their own garden bestseller list.  In other words, the books that the Times chooses are all beautiful and interesting, but the books the public actually buys tend toward the practical.  The bestseller list leans toward vegetables, not ornamentals, and guidebooks, not narratives or pretty pictures.  (An allotment is like a community garden plot and is usually used to grow food and maybe house a few hens)  Here, then, are the bestselling garden books in the UK in 2007:

1. Grow Your Own Veg by Carol Klein

2. The Vegetable and Herb Expert by D.G. Hessayon

3. B&Q Outdoor Living by Nicholas Barnard and Ken Schept

4. The Yellow Book 2007: Gardens Open for Charity

5. The Allotment Book by A.M. Cleverly


  1. Worth noting that #1 was a TV tie-in so received massive publicity compared to almost everything else.

    At #3 B&Q is our version of Home Depot type places….

    In other words the best-selling garden books may have been popular as a result of being best placed to attract ambitious new gardeners and “yardener-types” as opposed to the established garden-book reading gardener demographic.

  2. I just received an advanced copy of Taunton Press’s new book Water Garden Idea Book by Lee Anne White and I think it is a winner !
    Like many of their other books in their Idea Book series it shows a broad cross section view of water garden styles and water garden installation projects across the United States.
    Everything from a simple basins plumbed with a pump to large sprawling cascading ponds to architecturally designed sculptural water elements.

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