Books and Gifts
We may be able to get immediate information on plants and advice on gardening from gardening magazines or online, but there is a strong case to be made for using selected garden books for garden and plant reference. Why not learn from the experience of practised garden and design experts, from the passion and knowledge of specialist plants people, from their ideas, tips and recommendations? And always have a source of knowledge and inspiration at hand. Of course you can’t buy every book, and some are very expensive, but if you don’t already have a copy, then the two Adrian Bloom authored books shown on these pages will give your lots of ideas for featuring perennials, grasses or conifers in your garden.
If you feel like sending us a review of these books, however brief, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Gardening with Conifers
Second Edition, Published 2017
17 Years Later … The greatly revised 2nd edition of Adrian Bloom’s book ‘Gardening with Conifers’.
Few other gardeners or garden writers will have the experience and authority of actually gardening with these fascinating plants. For anyone who has conifers in their garden or wishes to use them, the reasonable cost of this 230-page highly illustrated book will soon be repaid. The knowledge and advice Adrian gives – 50 years since he started his own 6-acre Foggy Bottom Garden at Bressingham – is invariable to any gardener.
Michael A Dirr, renowned plantsman and US guru for woody plants in North America, writes in his foreword to the book;
“Adrian harbors an encyclopedic knowledge of plants and with this, meshed with a designer’s discerning artistic eye, has fashioned a remarkable garden at Foggy Bottom in Norfolk, England. Adrian is one of the original champions of integrating conifers into the garden. His is not a collection but an artistic amalgamation of conifers, perennials, grasses, trees and shrubs into an eye-pleasing whole. When viewing the garden, one grasps the plant knowledge of this remarkable man. Fifty years of hands-on garden-making with conifers is the DNA that brings the book to life.” – Michael A. Dirr, Professor Emeritus, Horticulture, University of Georgia
Carol Klein writes in the Sunday Mirror; “Don’t know whether you saw the Great British Garden Revival on BBC2 the other week but for one little film I pleaded the case for conifers and reintroducing them into the mainstream of our gardening ideology. In each programme, the crew visited lots of different venues and pulled all the threads together at one main garden. We were lucky enough to visit Foggy Bottom – Adrian Bloom’s fairytale creation in the 17-acre Bressingham Gardens in Norfolk.
There is much more than a collection of conifers here. The gardens are packed with plants of every description – brimful with perennials, trees and shrubs. But perhaps it is the conifers that are the jewel in the crown. Adrian did more to popularise their use in our gardens than any other single person, though he talks about it with great humility.
Throughout the gardens, every sort of conifer – yews, pines, fir, larches and many, many more – are combined with stunning effect.”
Bloom’s Best Perennials and Grasses
The gardens at Bressingham have proved a great trial ground over the years, and a basis for Adrian’s recommendations aimed at giving gardeners a greater success with time tested plants. Added to that has been Adrian’s experience of planning and planting gardens in North America and northern Germany. His recent book Blooms Best Perennials and Grasses gives expert plant choices and dramatic combinations for year-round colour, focusing on a selection of plants to achieve that purpose. Published by Timber Press, sadly no longer in print but may be available online.
Pamela Lindholm-Levy, of Portland, Oregon, USA, wrote to Adrian to say how the “beautiful photos and helpful information” in the book had inspired her. She said:
“The chapter ‘Take Twelve Plants’ really spoke to me. I live in the Pacific Northwest of the US, where all of them thrive. I already had some of them and plan to fill my lawn-free garden with as many more as there is room for, thanks to the author’s clear and enthusiastic approach. ‘Bressingham Ruby’ Bergenia and Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ are now my ‘must have’ plants for this spring. Five Geranium ‘Rozanne’ plants cover a gentle slope down to my front sidewalk. I’m so happy to see that others think it’s a winner. A wonderful book!”
Gardening with Conifers
First Edition – see above for Second Edition
For an equally practical and useful book on using conifers in the garden and landscape, look at the conifer section for Adrian’s much-acclaimed Gardening with Conifers (above), published in the UK by Frances Lincoln and in North America by Firefly Books, Toronto, Canada – also available online at Amazon).
In this book, Adrian shares his expert knowledge of these often underrated plants.
“This book will surely become a ‘classic’ for all those interested in conifers … inspires, informs and challenges the reader to use a group of plants often ignored in gardens today. Where the book rises above all others is on the range of photographs … I have no doubt it will become a ‘must’ for all gardeners as it is based on real experience from an authority on the subject.” – Colin Morgan, The Guardian
“In a comprehensive encyclopaedia listing more than 600 of the best garden conifers, Bloom concisely analyzes unique features, and offers care tips and critical data on growth dimensions, an important factor in determining proper design and landscape usage. Magnificently highlighted by more than 250 striking color photographs taken by Bloom’s son, Richard, including vivid and fascinating close-ups, conifers are showcased in their full glory as richly textured, brilliantly colored, and subtly structured plants deserving of a spot in every garden.” – Carol Haggas, AM Library Association
“Don’t be so quick to judge the much-maligned conifer. Adrian Bloom is a man on a mission – to break down the prejudice many people hold about conifers in the garden… I admire Adrian for his steadfastness in the face of opposition and he is justified when he says, “Why do parts of the media pick on a group of plants which is so vast and diverse? You might as well say, ‘I hate shrubs’.” – Ursula Buchan, The Telegraph
Summer Garden Glory
While summer is generally acknowledged to be the season of maximum colour and interest in any garden, the crucial challenge is to provide a succession of pleasing plant compositions from spring to autumn. The heart of Adrian Bloom’s philosophy lies in planning and planting for continual change, to achieve year-round interest.
In this book, a natural sequel to his highly successful Winter Garden Glory, Adrian Bloom looks at the changing role of plants through the ‘busy’ seasons of the year, ranging from bulbs to trees, in addition to the more obvious shrubs and perennials. He discusses the particular challenges of summer gardens, such as the need for shade, holding moisture and providing late summer colour.