As a keen amateur gardener with time to do it now my children are independent I am constantly collecting garden books. I saw the preview in the Mail on Sunday and was keen to read the whole book. It's unlike many garden books, it's a personal journey with lots of factual tips advice and projects that anyone could have a go at and the easy layout gives you the confidence to have a go. Laetitia is an inspiration and I look forward to her next book! get writing Laetitia!!
I really liked Laetitia's previous book 'The Virgin Gardener', so I had my eye on this one before it came out. When I saw it in the flesh, it surpassed my expecatations. This is a great book to read through and get inspiration - it really makes you want to get out and do something now, and makes it possible to do most of the 'recipes' even if you've done hardly any gardening before. There is an introduction to talk about basics like soil types and planning a garden, but then most of the book is arranged by month. This means that no matter the time of year, there's a project you can tackle immediately. I've had this book only a couple of weeks and I've already completed two of the projects - a sweet pea screen and a viola pot - and I have a lovage plant ready to go in.
If you want some inspiration to get you out in the garden with little effort, this a great book to have.
This book is, I suppose, targeted at new gardeners and takes them through the process of creating a garden from scratch in a single year (with lots of rest and enjoyment periods). It's written in a style that draws you in with the occasional personal touch such as regular appearances of a creature known as "the hunk" and of baby daughter (the hunk gets demoted to plain husband in the acknowledgements so he clearly didn't help much and must have put on some weight while relaxing). There are to-do lists for each month coupled with little projects that you can take on board for some variety. For every task there's a list of what you will need and clear instructions written without any complicated language.
There are some really good photographs too, some of which illustrate the text whilst others add to the "nice easy read" presentation.
So it's an excellent read for the novice gardener. But it's also a pretty good read for the more established one. Gardens are always changing and every now and again we engage in that radical activity known as the "re-plan". This book will be a good primer should you embark on one of those! It's also got lots of valuable little tips and even with my 50-odd years of gardening (giving age away now but I did start very early in life!) I learned something new and useful.
At the beginning of this charming book, Laetitia Maklouf says: "Growing a garden is challenging, but it's not rocket science." How true. Sweetpeas for Summer takes you through the creation of a garden, starting with a bare plot (impressively large for London), and shows just what can be achieved in a relatively short space of time. Although there are lots of pretty pictures along the way, this is emphatically not one of those "lifestyle" gardening books. There is lots of sound practical advice about the soil, composting, sowing seeds and the nitty-gritty of gardening. It's a good read, too.
I loved this book, along with her first book, The Virgin Gardener. I found her first book in the library when I was off work recovering from a major operation and I don't remember reading anything else for weeks. So I was eagerly awaiting her 2nd book and she didn't disappoint. She makes it all look so easy and I try and copy her laid back attitude at all times. Wonderful photos, easy to follow instructions and wonderful tips - I devoured it page by page and now gardening is my number one thing! Thank you Laetitia for inspiring me!
I am really enjoying this book. I did some of the March projects and am waiting to see the results in the summer. It is a really good read - light-hearted and fun and a bit quirky, but with really useful tips and ideas.