Draussen mag’s grau und trüb sein, aber drinnen hat vor einigen Wochen die gemütlichste Zeit des Jahres begonnen. Das Feuer im Kamin flackert und hüllt uns in wohlige Wärme, die Kerzen brennen, Adventsdeko wärmt unser Herz, dazu eine gute Tasse Tee, selbstgebackene „Gutzele“, ein zufriedener Hund (oder bei vielen von euch eine Katze) – auch wenn ich kein Winterfreund bin, liebe ich diese Zeit! Nicht zuletzt, weil ich frohen Herzens meiner Bücherleidenschaft frönen darf, denn im Garten ist alles getan. Es ist nur noch Genuss angesagt! Und weil geteilter Genuss doppelter Genuss ist, lade ich euch zu einer Bücherwurmstunde vor dem Feuer ein.

It may be grey and dull outside but in our homes we’re enjoying the most comfortable, cosy weeks of the year. We’re warm and snug beside the fire, the candles are burning, christmas decorations everywhere, a nice cup of tea, home-made biscuits, a happy dog (or cat) – I’m not a lover of winter but I love this side of it. Last but not least because I can now indulge in another passion of mine: books. Everything is done in the garden, it’s all about enjoyment now! And because a joy shared is a joy doubled I’d like to invite you to spend a „bookworm hour“ with me in front of the fire.

Willkommen! Welcome!



Das Feuer habe ich schon angezündet… / Just lit the fire…IMG_4170

Here we go…_MG_9096-0389



Gerne möchte ich euch ein paar meiner Lieblingsbücher vorstellen. Viele sind in Englisch, aber manche sind in deutscher Übersetzung erhältlich. Ich lese Bücher wenn möglich im Original, weil Übersetzungen selten den Autoren gerecht werden. Anmerkung: Beverley Nichols und Karel Capek lasse ich heute aussen vor, denn sie gehören ohnehin in jedes Regal.

I’d like to introduce you to some of my favourite books. Please note: I didn’t include Beverley Nichols and Karel Capek because I think their books ought to be on every bookshelf anyway.


1. A gardener’s labyrinth: Portraits of people, plants and places by Patrick Kinmoth & Tessa Traeger/ Welt der Gärten von Patrick Kinmoth & Tessa Traeger

A heavy coffee table book with a difference, because you’ll  go back to it again and again (that’s why mine is looking so worn!). Well written portraits accompanied by the glorious photography of Tessa Traeger whose work I greatly admire.

Ein Luxus-Bildband, den ich immer wieder zur Hand nehme (deshalb sieht er so zerfleddert aus!). Gut geschriebene Porträts, denen Tessa Traegers fantastische Fotografien das Sahnehäubchen aufsetzen. Ich  bewundere ihre Arbeit sehr.

2. The well-designed mixed garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust

Tracy has written many fine books and is a joy to read with her approachable, entertaining style oozing knowledge and garden fun all the way.

3. Plant-driven design by Scott Ogden & Lauren Springer Ogden

Ever wondered why so many -especially designed- gardens have no soul? Here you’ll find the answer. I love their approach and planting style and it’s a very clever and handy book if you’re living in a challenging climate and are in need of advise on drought- and cold-resistant plants.

4. The new perennial garden by Noël Kingsbury

This is by no means a new book but remains inspirational, giving advice on plant communities, techniques and best plants for different settings.

His new book (with P. Oudolf) ‚Planting: A new perspective‘ is lying on my table waiting to be read and looks very promising.

Sein neues Buch (mit P. Oudolf) ‚Pflanzen Design: Neue Ideen für Ihren Garten‘ liegt bereits auf dem Tisch und wird demnächst gelesen. Es sieht vielversprechend aus.

5. Wildlife of the British Isles by Bob Gibbons

Not a new book either but a faithful companion over the years. When I lived in Ireland it used to take me through the year and its content is not limited to the British Isles. It’s the perfect guide to what’s happening in nature each month.

6. The creative shrub garden by Andy McIndoe

Another fab Timber Press book which will help you to look at shrubs differently and to combine them successfully not only in a shrubbery but also in a mixed border. I read the other day that shrubs will be the next big thing in gardening. I was a little confused because surely they were never out of fashion, at least not with gardeners who know what they’re doing.

7. Spirit – Garden Inspiration by Dan Pearson

Dan is one of my favourite designers because of his clear and very individual style which never fails to touch my soul. His books are all great but this one is for those who’d like to dive into that deep blue sea of HIS soul.

8. Gartenmanifest von Henk Gerritzen / Essay on gardening by Henk Gerritzen

Welch‘ Offenbarung! Gerritzen ist mein Seelenverwandter und eine Freude zu lesen. Er ist klug, schaut hinter die Dinge, hinterfragt, teilt sein Wissen über Pflanzengemeinschaften, Garten und Natur auf spannende Art und Weise und bringt mich zum Lachen! Wenn mich jemand fragt, mit wem ich mal Tee trinken möchte…tja, Henk ist einer meiner Kandidaten 🙂  PS: Ich hätte das Buch gern im Orginal gelesen, leider sind meine Holländisch-Kenntnisse erbärmlich.

What a revelation! He’s a soul mate and joy to read. He’s bright, gets to the bottom of things, is not afraid to question traditional ideas and shares his knowledge of plant communities, gardening and nature in a fascinating way and he makes me laugh! Should someone ever ask me with whom I’d like to have tea…well, Henk is the answer 🙂 PS: Pity, I couldn’t read the book in its original version because my Dutch is rather poor.

9. Sticky Wicket: Gardening in tune with nature by Pam Lewis

A charming, thoughtful and well written book about a very special garden and philosophy.

10. Cuttings by Christopher Lloyd

Lloyd was bold, cheeky and adventurous in his approach to gardening. His writing is all that and witty too. Whichever of his books you choose, you can’t go wrong. I also love his ‚Gardener cook‘. Pity, he’s no more and I shall never have tea with him.

Leider gibt es nicht viele deutsche Bücher von Christopher Lloyd, aber ‚Traumbeete durchs ganze Jahr‘ und ‚Wiesen‘ sind beide inspirierend.

11. The garden in the clouds by Anthony Woodward

If you’re mad when it comes to gardening (never mind other things) and you’re inclined to do the most peculiar things to satisfy your green passion, this book is for you. It’s the story of the creation of a garden in Wales. I howled with laughter and drove my husband nuts constantly reciting the funny bits…so he had no choice but to read it himself in the end!

12. A gentle plea for chaos by Mirabel Osler

I have all her books for I love the poetry of her words and thoughts but this one remains my favourite. She’s the reason why I planted my shrub roses in the long grass of the orchard. Wonder whether she’d care to come for tea? 😉

13. Old herbaceous by Reginald Arkell /  Pinnegars Garten von Reginald Arkell

A touching story of a small schoolboy who later in his life became a legendary head gardener. Made me weep, so beautiful – have your handkerchief ready.

Die berührende Geschicht eines kleinen Jungen, der später ein berühmter Obergärtner wird. Musste weinen beim Lesen, also haltet das Taschentuch bereit.

14. Gravel garden by Beth Chatto / Der Kiesgarten: Gärtnern auf trockenem Standort von Beth Chatto

All of Beth’s books are an inspiration and her ‚right plant-right place-philosophy‘ just strikes a chord with me. Full of fab planting combinations, knowledge and Steven Wooster’s photographs are a treat too.

Alle Bücher von Beth sind voller Inspiration, und ihre ‚right plant-right place-Philosphie‘ ist genau mein Ding. Voller genialer Pflanzenkombinationen und Wissen – Steven Woosters Fotos sind ein optischer Leckerbissen.


Wow, das ist eine lange Blogpost – seid ihr am Feuer auch nicht eingschlafen? Ich wünsche euch frohe Festtage und für das neue Jahr viele Gartensternstunden und alles, alles Gute! Vielen Dank, dass ihr mich durchs Jahr begleitet habt 🙂

Wow, this is one hell of a blog post today – hope you didn’t fall asleep beside the fire? I wish you all a merry christmas and many great (gardening) moments in 2015! Thanks for joining me through the year 🙂


41 thoughts

  1. Hallo Annette,
    was ist es bei dir gemütlich! Da würde man am liebsten wirklich vorbeikommen und am Kamin mitschmökern.
    Ja das Gartenjahr ist nun vorbei, aber bei uns sind es die Tage 12° warm und einige Sommerblumen blühen immer noch. Sogar die Malve hat noch Knospen und Blüten hervorgebracht.
    Ich wünsche dir ein geruhsames und gemütliches Weihnachtsfest mit deinen Lieben und ein gesundes neues Jahr.
    Freue mich jetzt schon auf deinen Frühlingsgarten!

    Liebe Grüße

    1. Auch bei uns blüht es, und die ersten Frühlingsboten drücken schon ans Licht…hoffe, sie bereuen es nicht noch! Alles Liebe für dich und deinen Garten, Renate 🙂

  2. What an interesting party you would have! I have not read any of the books in your pile (but have my own Beverley Nichols and Karel Capek thanks an introduction from you and other bloggers) but am making a particular note of nos 7, 9, 11, 12 & 13 – good job I have just asked the Golfer to extend the bookshelves I have my favourite gardening books on…! Thank you so much for allowing us to join you by the fire – what a lovely ambience you have created…. Do enjoy your festive season whether by the fire or pottering in your gardens and thank you for keeping us company throughout the year 🙂

    1. Do you sometimes imagine meeting up with people you admire, Cathy? I constantly have to extend my shelves. The pleasure is all mine, Cathy, thank you too for inspiring me throughout the year…and happy reading 🙂

      1. Oh I do, Annette – but it might get to be a very big dinner party! ps after reading your post I immediately ordered 3 of the books that I had taken a fancy to 😉

      1. My favourite is ‚Botanica‘ a big, 1000+ page book of plants. It’s dry, encyclopaedic reading, but it is far and away the favourite book in my collection

  3. Oh some familiar friends Annette but some new to me books too. I do like the sound of the Henk Gerritzen book so will have to try to locate it. Books that make you laugh are quite magical. It’s been a pleasure visiting your blog over the last year. I hope that you have a peaceful and joyous Christmas and that you are able to make good inroads into that tempting pile of books. Your Christmas wooden angel looks rather special 🙂

    1. I agree, if someone can make you laugh, it’s a treat. I’ve just got Carol Klein’s book you mentioned in one of your recent blog posts, Anna. That’s the 2nd or 3rd book I got after you recommended it, so thanks for that 🙂

  4. A lovely selection of books, many of them favourites of mine too. A couple of friends of mine were so bowled over by The Garden in the Clouds that they wrote to Anthony Woodward to ask if they could visit the garden last year. He and the garden were charming.
    Dan Pearson spoke last year at the Festival of Garden Literature organised by the Garden Museum in the garden of Tom Stuart- Smith. It was a lovely weekend called A Friend, a Book and a Garden.There were some wonderful speakers there, including some big names in the gardening world but I enjoyed Dan‘ s talk the best.
    A couple of the authors are new to me so thanks for the recommendation.

    1. Bet Anthony is a lovely guy, Chloris, and I would like to go to one of Dan’s talks one day. You have so many great gardens and garden related events…I envy you a little but you can’t have it all. Maybe you’d like to make a book list too – I’d love to hear about books people I appreciate recommend. Hope we can have tea together some day 🙂

      1. We will have tea together one day, Annette that would be fun. I will do a book post this winter. In the meantime I am enjoying a biography of Constance Spry very much at the moment. It is called The Surprise Life of Constance Spry. It is by Sue Shepherd.
        Have a very happy Christmas.

  5. Great list. I’ll have to get my hands on some of these. I have the DiSabato-Aust book and Planting, the others I haven’t read. Fortunately I’ve got a couple of months of winter left to do lots of reading.

  6. Eingeschlafen bei deinem Post, liebe Annette? Das geht doch gar nicht bei so stimmungsvollen Fotos und so inspirierenden Buchporträts! Wunderschön hast du’s in deinem weihnachtlichen Cottage … und ich nehme mir gerade vor, auch mal wieder den Kamin anzuzünden und nicht nur den Kachelofen. So ein knisterndes, offenes Feuer hat doch wirklich was.

    Liebe Grüße und fröhliche Weihnachten

  7. I really do appreciate this post. I am not a big reader of books on gardening but one of my NYR is to read more gardening related books. I have a few that were given to me by the family of an old lady my mum used to work for and will make a start on those but will bookmark this post for when I need it. Thanks.
    Wishing you and your family a Very Merry Christmas and All the Best for 2015! x

  8. Your home looks so inviting, I can just see you snuggled by the fire with one of these books. I love how you decorated for Christmas, very inviting. Merry Christmas to you and your family. I think I would like to spend Christmas in your part of the world. I must get there one day since my realtives came from Germany. It feels homey to me.

  9. Hey Annette, what a wonderful post and just gorgeous pics. I love your collection of books. I must get ‚Garden in the Clouds‘ it sounds fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful garden this past year, and your lovely comments on my blog. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas I hope it is a very special day and all the very best for 2015 😀

  10. I enjoyed this post. I agree that winter is the perfect time to read. I am a novice gardener having started about 6 years ago when I wanted to plant for wildlife and butterflies but I have collected quite a library since then. I guess I have become a backyard naturalist in the last 10 years.. My birds at the feeders keep me company all winter … Michelle

  11. Merry Christmas to you too!
    I’ve added quite a few titles to my reading list and have been reminded of a few favorites. I’m hoping this holiday season will give some time to indulge 🙂
    Beautiful pictures, your home looks as if it has a number of cozy spots to settle down in with a good book…. fireside or not. Here’s to a wonderful 2015!

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