From potentially improving your mood to burning some calories, taking on gardening has plenty of upsides, but getting started is no easy feat. You have to consider the amount of space available to you, the type of garden you want and how much time you actually want to invest in your plants. And if you’ve only ever grown vegetables and want to try your hand at flowers, you have to figure out how tending to blooms differs from veggies. That’s why we compiled this nifty list of the 15 best gardening books you can consult whether you’re a newbie or you’ve done this your whole life.
15 Gardening Books Perfect for Newbies and Seasoned Green Thumbs Alike
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The best gardening books at a glance
- Best overall: The Complete Gardener: A Practical, Imaginative Guide to Every Aspect of Gardening by Monty Don
- Best for a vegetable garden: The Old Farmer's Almanac Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook
- Best for starting a raised garden: Raised-Bed Gardening for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Start and Sustain a Thriving Garden by Tammy Wylie
- Best for starting flower gardens: The Flower Gardener’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Colorful Blooms All Season Long by Lewis and Nancy Hill
- Best for starting a greenhouse: The Greenhouse Gardener's Manual by Roger Marshall
- Best for building a simple garden: Garden Way's Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond
- Best for understanding the science of plants: Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
- Best for people with a little more gardening room: The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan
- Best for creating an eye-catching garden: Annuals, Perennials, and Bulbs: 377 Flower Varieties for a Vibrant Garden by Creative Homeowner
- Best for helping with pest control: The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control by Rodale Organic Gardening
- Best for perennial maintenance: The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden by Roy Diblik
- Best for growing herbs: The Healing Garden: Cultivating and Handcrafting Herbal Remedies by Juliet Blankespoor
- Best for finding deer-resistant plants: 50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants: The Prettiest Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs, and Shrubs that Deer Don't Eat by Ruth Rogers Clausen
- Best for shrub maintenance: The Creative Shrub Garden: Eye-Catching Combinations for Year-Round Interest by Andy McIndoe
- Best for gardening with kids: Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy
When it comes to everything gardening, we certainly trust Monty Don—Britiain’s most famed writer, gardener and broadcaster—to give us the best advice. No one does it better. This latest edition of The Complete Gardener features tried-and-true techniques that have always been at the core of Don’s practice as well as a new key principle: the need to provide habitats in your garden for local wildlife. Juicy.
Best for a vegetable garden
Straight from the farming experts of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, you simply can’t go wrong with this pick. It’s great for seasoned gardeners as well as newbies because it provides the best, most proven methods for sowing, growing and harvesting good veggies. The book gives you insight on how to grow more than 30 vegetables in any zone, as well as tips on which plants help (or hinder) your progress.
3. Raised-bed Gardening For Beginners: Everything You Need To Know To Start And Sustain A Thriving Garden by Tammy Wylie
Best for starting a raised garden
Those raised gardens sure do look like a piece of cake to manage when you’re viewing them on your friends’ Insta stories. But the truth is, there are a lot of logistics to consider when starting one, and this book is here to help you with that. Are you interested in creating a bountiful garden but worried that you don’t have enough space? Raised-Bed Gardening for Beginners shows you how to plan, build and grow your own raised-bed garden in whatever space is available. Find out which plants will thrive in your garden, how to mix and maintain soil and get some harvesting tips so you get the most from your bounty.
4. The Flower Gardener’s Bible: A Complete Guide To Colorful Blooms All Season LongBy Lewis And Nancy Hill
Best for starting flower gardens
You can’t go wrong with a book that dubs itself a “flower bible.” And it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to giving you the rundown on all things flower gardens. It’s organized in three parts and explains how to select the right varieties for individual climates and designs, describes various themed gardens and provides an illustrated reference to more than four hundred species. What more could you ask for?
Best for starting a greenhouse
Waiting for your favorite plants to be in season before you can enjoy them can feel like torture, so why not learn how to grow tomatoes in the dead of winter or have cold-weather pansies blossoming in the spring? With this book, you can learn how to create a greenhouse so you can foster an environment for the types of plants you want to have all year round. Learn how to choose the right design, create a healthy environment, use the space for propagation and choose from the plant directory of 70 best fruits and vegetables as well as 88 ornamental plants that would thrive in a greenhouse.
Best for building a simple garden
For those who want to dabble in the gardening world without spending too much time tending to the crop, Joy of Gardening will be a great help. It offers insights on everything you need to know to grow a bountiful harvest with less work.
Best for understanding the science of plants
We put so much work into understanding all the external factors that affect a plant’s growth, but what happens within the seed itself? Without getting too technical, this book gives a crash course on botany so you can understand your flower from the inside.
Best for people with a little more gardening room
For folks who have a little more room and want to utilize that extra space for gardening, the book is a must. This comprehensive guide to homesteading provides all the information you need to grow and preserve a sustainable harvest of grains and vegetables, with easy-to-follow instructions on canning, drying and pickling your bounty. And for those who’re going the full farm route, there’s also info on how to raise animals for meat, eggs and dairy and safely keep honeybees onsite.
Best for creating an eye-catching garden
Make sure your garden looks nice and lush all year round with tips from this book, which covers all kinds of flower varieties. It provides insight on using color in the garden and guidance for the oft tricky process of plant placement and selection. There are also sections on dividing plants, lifting bulbs and saving seeds for the moments where you want to spruce the garden up.
Best for helping with pest control
All that hard work will be for naught when instead of your family devouring your yummy veggies, worms and mites get to the crop first. So keep this guide handy for info on science-based recommendations for battling garden problems and photos of common pests and plant diseases…you know, just in case.
Best for perennial maintenance
For people whose fave blooms are perennials, this book will help with planting them so they offer the most scenic hues. The book features photos of (and directions for growing) hardy, beautiful plants grown on a 10x14 foot grid. Each of the 62 garden plans combines complementary plants that thrive together and are designed to make maintenance easy-peasy, so you have a magazine-worthy flowers right in your backyard.
Best for growing herbs
Cultivate your own mint, parsley or chamomile right in your backyard using this book as your guide. It breaks down how to plan your garden, gives essential information on seed propagation, soil quality and holistic gardening practices and gives detailed profiles on 30 must-know plants—including growing information, medicinal properties and how to use them.
13. 50 Beautiful Deer-resistant Plants: The Prettiest Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs, And Shrubs That Deer Don't Eat by Ruth Rogers Clausen
Best for finding deer-resistant plants
So, your neighborhood has a raging deer problem, and you don’t want to put in a ton of work only to have your shrubs ravaged by Bambi and his crew. Go for this book, which offers a plethora of plants deer don’t eat.
Best for shrub maintenance
This gem by Andy McIndoe not only lays out the best shrubs to ornament your backyard, walkway or driveway with, but it also gives you expert advice on how and when to prune them, so your landscape looks Martha Stewart-approved no matter the time of year.