My favourite Garden books


Throughout my career as a garden designer I have ploughed through many gardening books… in Dutch and English… and here is a list of my old time favourite’s

I checked on amazon whether they are still being published and those with a link to it are still available to order. For me they were an inspiration and ‘fieldwork’ for creating my designs for all my clients.

I started off with first only a very small balcony in Utrecht on the 7th floor with lots (often too much sun), struggling around my husband bought me my very first gorgeuos book
1. The art of gardening in pots: Elisabeth de Lestrieux & Hazel Adams

then I continued with some real British favourites such as Rosemary Verey and Penelope HObhouse, and Gertrude Jekyll

2. Good planting plans: Rosemary Verey (my own copy is full of scribles and notes on the pages and worn to bits!)
3. The making of a garden: Rosemary Verey
4. The garden in Winter: Rosemary Verey


5. On gardening: Penelope Hobhouse

All used extensively…. and were for me the very beginnings of really getting into becomming a professional garden designer…. so I suppose now that I am making this list, I am realizing that I go back quite a long way now as an expert on garden design and plant knowledge…

Then during my days as a KLM stewardess, traveling the world and especially loving to go to New York and always ending up in the Big Nobles & Barnes bookstore near 57th street 6th ave… some where around there … and ofcourse end up at the gardening section… and discovered then just starting out
6. Martha Stewart her great book ‘Gardening with Martha Stewart’

7. Family Gardens: Bunny Guiness (great for wonderful treehouses and little kids) UK site
8. The Tulip: Anna Pavord
9. Gardening at Sissinghurst: Tony Lord
10. Complete book of herbs: Geraldene Holt (I loved this book to pieces!!!! great info and some nice designs)
11. The Oxford companion to the garden: Patrick Taylor (beautiful pictures and great inspiration!)
12. The vanguard Landscapes and Gardens of Martha Schwartz (crazy and wonderfully clever designs by worldwide famous designer)

martha-schwartz-splice garden

13. The Botanical Garden Volumes I & II: Roger Phillips & Martin Rix (the famous botanical pair who discovered almost every single plant on this planet)
14. Gertrude Jekyll”s colour schemes for the garden (nice to have, not essential)
15. The lost Gardens of Heligan: Tim Smit (a historical book about the discovery of these gardens in Cornwal, UK)
16. Passages: Andy Goldsworthy (Landscape artist, famous creations of using materials from the countryside in the countryside, beautiful… a must have a true nature lover)

anthony-goldsworthy spiral of stones

17. Good planting: Rosemary Verey (one of my first books)
18. Gardens in time and space: Piet Oudolf
19. Designing with plants: Piet Oudolf (always carry this one around with me)
20. Dream plants for the natural garden: Piet Oudolf (another favourite of mine)
21. Gardening with grasses: Piet Oudolf (another favourite!!!! as I am fond of integrating prairie grasses in my designs for movement and action and filtering of the light)
22. Natural landscapes: John Brookes (nice to have in your collection, but an oldy though)

Then I have another 25 books or so on various individual topics like pruning, composting, design, roses, shrubs etc …. and Dutch volumes of Architectural landscape design.

I would like you to comment below and please leave me your favourite gardening book title…. I am curious what else is out there… I can go hunting for!

Enjoy the list and happy gardening and reading
You are designed2b inspired!

Love Carolyn

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  1. Hi! I like your srticle and I would like very much to read some more information on this issue. Will you post some more?

  2. Monique Jansen says:

    Hoi Carolyn

    Ik geniet van je garden advises. Je bent erg inspirerend voor mij en laat een heel fijngevoelige “butterfly” afdruk na op je site en in mijn gedachten.

    Liefs Monique

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