13 Gardening Books on My To Be Read Shelf

13 Gardening Books on My To Be Read Shelf

I love my local library. In fact, I get pleasure not just from going to the library and reading the books I get there but also from the process of looking through their catalog regularly and adding books to my “for later shelf.” There’s something satisfying about even just learning about which books are out there that I might get to read someday. So, I thought that I’d head over to my virtual bookshelf and let you know about 13 gardening books currently waiting there for me.

13 Gardening Books on My To Be Read Shelf

There are actually more than two dozen gardening books on my SFPL “For Later” shelf. However, here are the top thirteen on my list:

1. The Climate Change Garden by Sally Morgan

Subtitled “Down to Earth Advice for Growing a Resilient Garden,” this book seems like a must-read for gardeners in our times. Soils are eroding, rainfall is unpredictable, and plants are blooming earlier or being damaged by pests.
This book provides techniques, practices, and equipment that can be used to adapt gardens to climate extremes and protect them against exotic pests and invasive weeds. It covers topics such as adapting plant selections, using season extenders, reducing a garden’s carbon footprint, and planting more of the right trees for a future climate.
The aim is to create a low-maintenance, climate-savvy garden that can withstand the effects of a changing climate.

2. To Stand and Stare by Andrew Timothy O’Brien

The subtitle of this one pretty much sums up what interests me about it: “How to Garden While Doing Next to Nothing.” Honestly, I’m a bit lazy about active things. I’m the kind of person who goes to the yoga studio primarily for the restorative yoga class. So, this book feels right up my alley.

3. The Joy of Gardening: the Everyday Zen of Mowing the Lawn by Ellen Mary

With a background in integral psychology, I am a proponent of the benefits of mindfulness. I have a busy mind and I don’t always practice what I preach. However, I regularly read books that remind me to get back in touch with the slower side of life. I like books that teach me again how to “be here now.” This one looks like a must read for me.

4. Growing Joy by Maria Failla

This one’s subtitle is “The Plant Lover’s Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants).” How I love the idea of growing joy! This one was written by the host of the Bloom and Grow Radio podcast. It also seems to look at the mindfulness benefits of gardening.

5.An Artist’s Guide to Planting An Outdoor Sanctuary by Virginia Johnson

Virginia Johnson shares her personal garden journey, from a small city lot to a beautiful and welcoming oasis. Her garden is wild and carefree, with hornbeams, peonies, hollyhocks, roses, and hydrangeas. Johnson explains her process with ease and clarity, bringing her ideas to life through words and illustrations. The book is organized into clear chapters about trees, flowers, seasons, and more. It sounds so inspiring!

6. The Philosophy of Gardening by Karen Caruana

This one doesn’t actually have a very extensive description on the library website. In fact, all it says is, “A collection of essays about different gardening philosophies and practices, mostly from a German point of view.” However, that’s enough to pique my interest. I am so curious to see what is inside those pages!

7. The Regenerative Garden by Stephanie Rose

This one’s subtitle helps explain what it is all about: “80 Practical Projects for Creating a Self-sustaining Garden Ecosystem.”

A healthy, organic, regenerative garden is a self-sustaining ecosystem where everything works together. The goal of permaculture is to turn your garden into a functioning ecosystem that is less reliant on external resources and can sustain itself through many seasons.

The book’s projects cover six living elements of the garden: soil, water, plants, climate, ethics, and community. They reduce workload, conserve water and other resources, and create a habitat for wildlife. Projects include intensive planting, living mulches, self-watering planters, rain gardens, and compost systems.


I live in Northern California so this one makes a lot of practical sense for me. Plus, I love butterflies. I like birds. And I know that bees are important. A friend of mine has a garden here that is a Certified Wildlife Habitat. I imagine that this book has tips along the lines of what she incorporated in her amazing space.

9. Grow More Food by Colin McCrate

My sister is the biggest gardener in my life. She prefers only to grow edibles. So, this book, subtitled “Vegetable Gardener’s Guide to Getting the Biggest Harvest Possible From a Space of Any Size,” seems right up her alley.

10. No-dig Gardening: Raised Beds, Layered Gardens, and Other No-till Techniques by Bella Line

The book says that it teaches you everything you need to know in order to start and care for a kitchen garden. No-dig gardening is better for the environment, easier on your back, and can produce an abundance of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. So, it’s worth reading about, right?


As you might notice, I’m often enticed by the title candor subtitle of a book. The subtitle of this one is: “Design a Dream Kitchen Garden to Fit Your Personality, Desires, and Lifestyle.” That just captures my imagination!

12. Striking Succulent Gardens: Plants and Plans for Designing Your Low-maintenance Landscape by Gabriel Frank

I love succulents. I’m originally from the Arizona desert, so naturally I find myself drawn to cacti and succulents of all kinds. Also, they’re easier to grow than many other plants. Since I’m not really great with plants, that’s best for me. I think that even if I don’t learn a lot from this, I’d love just looking at the images inside!


Subtitled “How Your Garden Can Soothe Your Mind and Awaken Your Soul,” this one intrigues me because of the mental health benefits of gardening and plants.

Do you read gardening books? Any that you recommend me to add to my virtual To Be Read shelf?

Read More: