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My Top 5 Great Outdoors Garden Books Of 2013

garden books, peter donegan

In all cases, this is not a full blog for you to read about a book. That’s what the book is for. And in all cases, I have read them all, refused to read the press release [ or copy and paste it – pet hate] and given what I believe is a fair paragraph or two on my overall thoughts.

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Peter Donegan/ Fingal Libraries Garden Classes – Recommended Reading

fingal libraries garden class books

The following books were chosen by Peter Donegan with Siobhan Walshe of Fingal Libraries and are intended as a guide list of books to be used by Teachers, Parents and Children during the six week Primary School garden programme, Adventures in Green Gardening, that starts Tuesday 16th October.

More information on this to follow….

Rather than give a short list of [say 5 for example – over maybe 30 students] books, it was felt a longer list was better. This allows for more variation and relevance to ones home set up and also ones existing gardening enthusiasm and level of experience.

The gardening and outdoors books, all available from Fingal Libraries, are listed in no particular order and are divided into two categories, namely Children and Adults.

If you may be wondering – all books were personally selected. To Siobhan and the Librarians [Blanchardstown Library in this case] who tidied them all away, correctly, after me – thank you so very much, sincerely.

More information on Fingal Libraries:


fingal libraries plant books

  • Horrible Science: Wasted World – N. Arnold (J333.7)
  • Disappearing Forests – A Royton (J333.75)
  • Wonderful Water – H. Lanz – (J333.91)
  • Food for Life – J. Baines – (J333.7)
  • Earth: The Incredible Recycling Machine – P. Bennett (J333.72)


  • Our Living Planet – Y. Arthus-Bertrand (J333.72)
  • The Earth’s Resources – R. & L. Spilsbury (J333.7)
  • Why Should I switch off the Light? – M .J. Knight (J333.7)
  • How we use plants for making things – S Morgan (J581.636)
  • How we use plants for making medicine and health – S Morgan (J581.634)


  • How we use plants for making Food – S Morgan (J581.632)
  • How we use plants for making Shelter – S Morgan (J581.636)
  • Cycles in nature: Plant Life – T. Greenaway (J581.7)
  • Watch it Grow: Sunflowers – B Watts
  • The Life of Plants – F. Walton (J581.2)


  • Flowers, Fruits & Seeds – S Morgan (J581)
  • The Plant Kingdom: A Guide to plant Classification & Biodiversity (J580).
  • Growing Plants – P. Riley (J631.5)
  • Vegetables – N. Edwards (J635)
  • Gairdin an Nadur – M. Cox (J639.92g)


  • Little Green Fingers – M An Vanhage (J635)
  • Watch it grow for young gardeners – J. Bullock & D James (J635)
  • RHS how does my garden grow? – (J635)
  • Green Fingers & Muddy Boots: A year in the garden for children & families – S. Santer (J635)
  • Watch it grow – B. Watts (J635.65)
  • Circle of life: Growing Things (J635.9)

Adults Gardening

fingal libraries gardening (9)

  • The complete Book of Vegetables, Herbs & Fruit – M.Biggs, J. McVicar
  • First time Gardener – S. Buczacki
  • How to Garden – (Hamlyn)   (06006083799334)
  • A year in the garden – S. Bradley
  • Gardeners’ Question time – J. Cushnie B Flowerdew et al


  • A handful of herbs – B. Segall
  • New Encyclopedia of gardening techniques – RHS
  • The Gourmet Gardener – B. Flowerdew
  • The complete book of Weekend Garden Projects – J. Wendy
  • The vegetable Gardener’s Ultimate A-Z – E.C. Smith


  • How to make your garden grow –  T. Buckland
  • Your Herb garden month by month – B. Segall
  • The gardening book – P. McHoy
  • The Living Garden – Jane Powers
  • The garden in autumn – E. Clarke


  • Reader’s Digest complete guide to Gardening – Season by Season
  • A farmer’s life for me –  J. Doherty
  • Composting Inside & Out – S. Denies
  • Illustrated Dictionary of Gardening – RHS. M. Pollock.
  • The Thrifty gardener – A. Fowler
  • Complete Fruit book – B. Flowerdew

Adults contd.

  • Woodlands – O.Rackham (52.16)
  • Trees of Ireland – Nature and natuilised E. Charles Nelson (582.1609415)
  • Trees- an Explore your world handbook (Discovery Channel)
  • How to Identify trees – P. Harding (582.16)
  • Flowers at my feet – B. Gibbons (582.13)


  • Going Green: The Irish Guide to Living a greeer life Tony O’ Brien (333.7209415)
  • Drive like a woman, shop like a man: Green is cheaper M Muvihill (333.72)
  • There’s a hippo in my cistern: One man’s misadventures on the Eco- Frontline – Pete May (333.72092)
  • Shades of Green: A (mostly) practical A-Z for the reluctant environmentalist – P.Waddington (333.72)
  • Communities, councils & a low carbon future- what we can do if governments won’t – A. Powell (333.72)
  • Pocket Guide to Wild Flowers Of Britain & Europe. – H. L. Pursee (582.13)
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4 New Garden Books For My Local Library

fingal libraries card

I did ask fingal Libraries to keep me posted on new gardening books as and when they came in. In short, it’s a nice and easy way for this Dublin based gardener/ horticulturist to keep in touch with what’s coming on the market and also what might take my fancy.

The last post I published regarding new garden related books hitting the shelves of Fingal Libraries was August 9th. I was suffice to say, pretty impressed when an email came in again this month with the note of four new gardening publications attached.

The Self Sufficiency handbook by Alan & Gill Bridgewater

A practical guide to growing your own organic food, rearing chicken, goats and pigs, having an eco friendly home, this book is full of tips and advice with clear illustrations.

The Cook’s Garden – Australian Women’s Weekly

Information on when and where to plant, pest control and harvesting, tips on storing produce – bottling, freezing and drying, and lots of delicious recipes.

Gardening Landscape manual by Paul Wagland

[haynes] It describes the full range of popular landscaping techniques e.g. laying paving and building walls that even an amateur gardener could tackle with each project clearly explained and illustrated step by step.

The Veggie Gardener’s Answer Book by Barbara W. Ellis

A Questions & Answers format that covers a wide range of topics from dealing with pests and diseases, advice about soils and composting to the secrets of success with different vegetables.

Many thanks to Siobhan Walshe of Fingal Libraries PR Department for the above.

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5 New Gardening Books from my Local Library

fingal library

I got an email in from Siobhan Walshe of Fingal Libraries PR Dept letting me know of some great new gardening books that will be coming to the shelves of Fingal’s Libraries quite soon.

Siobhan notes:

Here’s a list of some new and interesting books that will be in the branches in the next couple of weeks:-

  1. Your wildlife garden month by month – Jackie Bennett
  2. Your herb garden month by month – Barbara Segall
  3. Incredible Edibles: 43 fun things to grow in the city – Sonia Day
  4. The Edible Balcony: Growing fresh produce in the heart of the city – Alex Mitchell
  5. River Cottage handbook No 9 – Fruit – Mark Diacono (there’s recipes in this book too).

They are all well illustrated and none seem too complicated though No 5 is quite detailed.

Siobhan also notes

I found one new book on camping –

  • The art of Camping: the history and practice of sleeping under the stars – Matthew De Abaitua

I have to give Siobhan credit and I simply love the added camping book…. someone is paying attention to my blog 😉 On a serious note, having learnt from my mistakes – I now buy my gardening books like I add to my vinyl collection. Far too much clap trap out there and I like my books to be investments and archivable reference books for the future.

Also the staff of Fingal libraries are very intelligent people and they don’t choose books with any sort of willy nilly approach. Watch this space…. or just watch Fingal Libraries.

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Fingal’s Most Popular Library Gardening Books

With thanks to Siobhan Walshe and the team at Fingal Libraries, the following are Fingal Libraries most popular gardening books. The list was compiled for use in The Sodshow July 15th 2011 for which you will find the audio below. That aside, the selections may just surpeise you slightly.

Most popular adult gardening books:

  1. The Irish gardener’s handbook, how to grow vegetables, herbs, fruit – Michael Brennock
  2. How to be a gardener – Alan Titchmarsh
  3. Joe’s Allotment: Planning and planting a productive plot – Joe Swift
  4. Grow your own groceries: how to feed your family – Linda Gray
  5. How to grow your own food, a week by week guide to wild life, friendly food and vegetable gardening – Dirty Nails

Most popular children’s gardening books:

  1. Grow it, eat it – Dorling Kindersley publication
  2. Growing Things – Ting Morris – sticky fingers series
  3. Kids in the garden, growing plants for food and fun – Elizabeth McCorquodale
  4. Green fingers and muddy boots, a year in the garden for children and families – Ivor Santer
  5. Grow your own strawberries – Helen Lanz
  6. Grow your own tomatoes – Helen Lanz

The SodShow – July 15 2011 – Dublin’s Garden Radio (mp3)

This week, as a by the way and coincidentally, book of the week was Jane Powers book, A place that works with nature.