Five Books: Essential Reads for Gardeners

I recently found the website Five Books: The Best Five Books on Everything, where they ask experts to name the five books in their field that everyone should read. (EDIT Jan 20: Looks like just got purchased by, but there are still links to the Five Books articles up.)

I love to read. This is totally my thing.

Unfortunately, they only seem to be inviting legends to post their Five Books. Penelope Hobhouse, Kenneth Cox… And many of their favorites are long out of print, which is madly unfair. I want to get in on this game! And I want to see other people’s Five Books!

Exotic-plants wicked-plants gardening-with-conifers trees-for-the-small-garden gardening-pacific-northwest

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting lists of Five Books for different kinds of gardeners. I’ll link to them all from this page, so you’ll have one central place to come to read all the gardening Five Books recommendations.

Garden bloggers – do you want to get in on the fun? Post your list of Five Books on your blog then leave a comment here, and I’ll add your post to the list!

The idea of Five Books is far too cool to restrict to the Penelope Hobhouses of the world. Let’s do this thing!

Check out the gardening lists on the Five Books website to get started:

Penelope Hobhouse on Horticultural Inspiration

Kenneth Cox on Plant Hunting

Richard Reynolds on Guerilla Gardening

Garden bloggers’ Five Books lists:

Mr McGregor’s Daughter at Carpe Geum has posted The Five Best Books on Gardening

Steve Asbell over at The Rainforest Garden shares his top Tropical Gardening Books

Carol at May Dreams Gardens chimes in with Five Books to Leave on Your Coffee Table

The Garden Geek’s posted not one but TWO top five lists: first one here, and second one here

Liz over at Ginkgo Grass has Five Books from the Extension Office

Joseph over at GreenSparrow Gardens has My Top 5 Gardening Books

Melissa at Zanthan Gardens shares her Five Books: Essential Reads for Gardeners

Ryan at Gnomic Science has his Top Five list as well as the Top Five he wants for Christmas!

Carole over at Ecosystem Gardening has the Ecosystem Gardening Holiday Resource Guide

Frances from FaireGarden shares her Five Best Gardening Books

Balisha at Never Enough Time has her Five Favorite Gardening Books

Carole (from Ecosystem Gardening) posted her Five Books for the Butterfly Garden over at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.

Debbie over at Garden of Possibilities shares her Five Books for New England Gardeners.

Suburban Hobby Farmer has the Best Five Vegetable Gardening Books for Northerners.

My lists here at North Coast Gardening:

Five Books for Pacific Northwest Gardeners

Five Books for Aspiring Landscapers

Five Books for Beginning Gardeners

I am so loving the diversity of the lists so far! It’s incredible to me how few of these books are ones I own or have even heard of. Great excuse to get out and browse some of my local indie bookstores for some winter reading. Nice job, and keep ’em coming, guys!


43 responses to “Five Books: Essential Reads for Gardeners”

  1. Oh,excellent!

    I guess I should check out the Gardening in the Pacific Northwest one. We’re moving from NY to Oregon sometime in the next year.

  2. Yay, you guys! You should definitely join in! And Mr McGregor’s Daughter – I love your list! Some great ones there that I have never heard of. I can see my wishlist is going to be extra-heavy in the book department this year.

    • Super-cool, Jupiter! I’m shocked at how many of these fave books are ones I’ve never heard of! Defiant Gardens sounds fascinating…

      • If I hadn’t been forced into urban gardening, I probably wouldn’t have known them either.
        Defiant Gardens is really amazing. I was moved to tears several times.

    • Not late at all, Joseph! I haven’t even posted my first list. I’ll be reminding people about this list all month, as I think books are the BEST gift. Compact, often inexpensive, and provide years of pleasure…

    • Frances, you managed to hit on one total huge amazing favorite of mine (I ADORE Nan Ondra’s book Grasses), and some that I had never read before as well! Nice list.

  3. Carole, I am certainly adding some of yours to my Christmas list as well! I had actually just gotten a copy of the Tallamy book for my very own (Happy 32nd birthday to me!), had previously checked it out from the library but thought it was time to actually own and mark up the thing. I love the suggestion about meadow gardening.

  4. Hello,
    I read about this at Fairegarden this morning. Since I love garden books…it was right up my alley. I just listed my five. I am a first time visitor here..I know that I’ll be back. I’m anxious to read everyone’s list.

  5. Love it, Carole! I am reading it right now and am so excited that I’ve never heard of most of them. And yeah – my Amazon wishlist keeps on expanding, and nobody gave me an Amazon gift card for Christmas this year!! LOL.

  6. Hi Gen, What great fun to read everyone’ Five Books’ list. I finally got my act together and posted mine – Five Books for New England Gardeners. Thanks for starting the ball rolling.