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Whether beginners or professionals, customers often turn to gardening books for horticultural advice and inspiration. Make sure you stock a good variety of gardening books for different needs and market the relevant products alongside them to maximise sales. Here's our pick of the latest gardening books on the market…
The Inspired Houseplant, by Jean Stearns (Sasquatch, RRP £22.99)
Jen Stearns is the owner of Urban Sprouts, a speciality house plant store. Jen has a background in urban agriculture and small business operations and has spent the last four years helping her customers learn to pick and care for indoor plants in the Pacific Northwest. She lives in Renton, Washington.
She says: "With a general interest of getting in touch with nature on the rise and personal outdoor spaces getting smaller, owning houseplants is an attractive alternative or addition to caring for a garden for a growing number of busy young adults and city dwellers. Popular social media sites have helped coin and propel an active and hungry culture around caring for, obsessively collecting, and using houseplants as décor and mood enhancers in personal and workspaces. Even those with a love of outdoor plants are jumping on board and enjoying the continuation of their gardens to inside their homes. This has created a need for those interested in becoming “plant parents” and “urban jungle” dwellers access to concise, attractive, and easy-to-follow information on achieving and maintaining indoor green spaces. While possessing knowledge of outdoor plant care is a huge leg up in knowing where to get started and be successful at keeping plants indoors, differences in the two crafts are notable enough that there is a need to differentiate the two.
"The Inspired Houseplant is a carefully curated collection of information, décor inspiration, and projects to excite and empower the novice and experienced plant-keeper alike. This beautifully styled book can be prominently displayed as a coffee table piece or stand out on a shelf, making it an appealing buy for anyone interested in plants, home décor, and even crafting. This book is filled with digestible information about plant needs such as basics of trimming, repotting, and identifying common plant issues and will act as a handy guide for both indoor and outdoor gardeners. The book also includes a helpful care and maintenance guide, home décor and staging ideas featuring a number of different plants and styles ranging from modern to boho, plus step-by-step projects to bring greenery indoors even in small or low light spaces.
"Surround your book display with merchandise that supports and inspires your customers to tackle the projects inside. The projects featured in the book can be the linchpin for a number of enticing and attractive displays in your retail space that will have customers leaving with plenty of supplies in-hand. Try a bowl garden display by offering a selection of shallow containers, fairy garden props, decorative gravel, and a collection of 2” and 4” plants. An impressive Kokedama (a Japanese style moss ball planter) display can be constructed with a few finished pieces suspended overhead or placed in shallow containers on a tabletop alongside an assortment of mosses, 6” potted plants, and some colorful twine nearby. Put together a few terrariums (learn how in the book) and set them alongside the book. Arrange a selection of fun glassware in baskets, hanging on a rack or even overhead for an attention-grabbing exhibit that will have your customers ready to create! Place tiny plants and miniature props around to encourage shoppers to purchase items to make a terrarium or two themselves! For the stylish home decorator, try framing your book display with a few large plants in mid-century modern planters, or stage a cozy reading nook by tucking a sleek armchair and side table amongst large-leafed plants potted in simple white or gray pots and a stack of The Inspired Houseplant on the side table."
Plant, Sow, Make & Grow, by Esther Coombs (Button Books, rrp £12.99)
Esther says: "We’ve all been there, as parents everywhere get to the garden centre and find themselves playing seed pick-n-mix with their children, they all look exciting and totally growable on the rack, but you get home and think “now what do we do?” It’s not an experience that tempts you back the following year.
"With Plant, Sow, Make & Grow placed strategically near the seeds grown in the book you can deliver to the customer not only the seeds or plug plants they might have left with but also the information and exciting activities to encourage them to purchase with confidence all they need for successful growing with their child and therefore every reason to return.
"Plant, Sow, Make & Grow is a book grown out of parental necessity mixed with a classic a primary school Mum experience. My daughter’s school needed a volunteer to run a gardening club that had been a bit neglected to say the least! My daughter loved growing at home and every time we planted and grew the learning and creative rewards were abundant so regardless for the task at hand I wanted to share what I’d learnt and successes we had at school and further afield. This book is the best of what we did there, created to help other parents and carers replicate our home and gardening club experience with very little cost or stress. I believe there is no better place for it than garden centres!
"This book is all about getting growing with children and learning about the fun and rewards that brings, it’s full of interesting activities, information and all the mudtastic sense of achievement eating home grown veg creates."
Decorating with Plants, by Baylor Chapman (£18.99, Artisan Books)
Decorating with Plants is packed with ideas and inspiration to greenify – and beautify – every room in the home. Baylor Chapman begins with an illustrated guide of the easiest-to-care-for houseplants such as Succulents, Ivy, Cape Primrose and Air Plants. She gives tips on how to assess the right light conditions, the information needed to ensure that the plants will thrive and how to keep your plants alive whilst you are away. The main bulk of the book then illustrates and describes how to decorate every room of the house with plants; for example Jasmine in the entryway to greet the guests with a beautiful scent, or a snake plant in the bedroom to purify the air. There are projects such as creating a living centrepiece for the dining room table and how to make a dramatic vertical garden for the entrance of your home.
No matter your experience or the size of your home or its quality of light, you will find ingenious and stylish solutions to bring plants, and all their beauty into your living spaces.
This fashionista of gardening books is published by Artisan Books at £18.99. The hardback chooses 28 of the best and easiest-to-care-for houseplants and then shows readers how to decorate with plants in every room of the house (there are 225 photographs).
Baylor lives in San Francisco and leads workshops to help plant lovers of all skill levels feel confident that they can make their spaces feel like home with just a little bit of green. She is the author of food and gardening books The Flower Recipe Book and The Plant Recipe Book.
RHS Botanical Illustration: The Gold Medal Winners, by Charlotte Brooks (£30.00, ACC Art Books)
Presenting a cross-section of RHS gold-medallists from across the world, this book also contains an introductory essay that delves into the history of this leading horticultural charity.
A historical essay explores the long-standing relationship between artists and the RHS.
The perfect book for the lover of horticulture, as well as an excellent reference both for botanists and aspiring artists, this collection also includes an introductory essay that delves into the history of the RHS.
Charlotte Brooks is the Art Curator at the RHS Lindley Library in London, where she has worked with the botanical art collection for 15 years. She has published a number of short articles on aspects of the collection and has ongoing research interests into 19th-century Anglo-Chinese botanical art.
Abiding by this definition, the RHS Lindley Library – a mecca of gardening books – has secured approximately 30,000 splendid illustrations of buds, fruit, flowers and leaves since they first started commissioning artists in 1806.