Garden Bloggers' Book Club

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need”. ~Cicero

Would anyone like to join me in a garden bloggers’ winter book club? I’ve read recently that a lot of garden bloggers, at least in the Northern hemisphere, are concerned they will run out of topics to write about this winter since they are not actively gardening outside. I think reading and sharing your thoughts on gardening related books may help you stay out of that topic rut!

(Okay, at this point in time, I can either suggest a club and get input on how it would work, or I’ll just say “I’m starting a garden bloggers’ book club, want to join, here’s how it works.)

Pause for me to think it through.

Okay, I’m starting a garden bloggers’ book club, who wants to join? I may get no one to join or one or a bunch to join. But, isn’t that how clubs start? Maybe just a few come along and then they invite a few and it gets going from there.

Here’s how it will work…

Via a post on your own gardening related blog, nominate one or more or a lot of gardening books that you have read and want to recommend to others to read, or that you plan to read this winter, and then add a comment to this post so I can find your list. My only suggestions on the books are to choose books still in print, written in English, and that are readily available either at a library or through a bookstore. Oh, and the book must relate to gardening in some form or fashion.

I’ll go through the recommendations, and determine the most often suggested books and add a post on my blog in a few weeks about the books that the online book club will read, and in which month. We'll go with most frequently suggested books. So, don’t worry that your list of books must be original. It should just be your list, what you want to read or recommend to others to read.

We also need a few garden bloggers to volunteer to be the “host” for a particular month. The host of the month will need to post an entry about the book on their blog at the beginning of the month to remind people which book to read. Then, sometime that month, each garden bloggers’ book club member should write their own post with their thoughts on the book and send a comment to the host to let them know about it. At the end of the month, the host will put together a post on their blog with a summary of the main thoughts from everyone with links back to the blogs of those who contributed.

And on it will go until spring when we will all be busy in the garden again and there will be no time to read and reflect on gardening books. At that point, maybe the Southern hemisphere can take over?

Should be easy, right? No dues, just read some books, write up a post about what you read, leave a comment for the host, and the host summarizes it all at the end of the month. Then we all comment on the final summary. And just like a real book club, if you aren’t interested in a particular book or don’t read the book, that’s fine, you can still “attend” by reading all the book posts of others and adding your own comments.

Another suggestion… to keep track of which blog posts relate to the book club, start the title with “Garden Bloggers’ Book Club”. (I googled “Garden Bloggers’ Book Club and got no related hits, so I don’t think this club exists, but if I am tromping on someone else’s idea, let me know.)

In case it is confusing, I’ll host the first month and work out the logistical issues that might come up. I’ll also add some info on my sidebar for the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club related posts on my blog.

Here’s my list of books to start us off.

Mrs. Whaley and her Charleston Garden by Emily Whaley
The Old Farmer’s 2007 Almanac
Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden by Eleanor Perenyi
The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean
Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels & Wayne Lewis
One Man’s Garden by Henry Mitchell

So, if you would like to participate, send a comment to this post to let me know you are “joining” and also indicate if you are want to host a future month. Then put a post on your blog with your list of books and send me a comment when your list is ready. We’ll read the first book in November.

Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is?” ~Frank Scully


  1. Do you have to havae a blog to participate? I just read yours. The book "The $64 Tomato" would be a good one. I don't remember who wrote it.

  2. Good question! No, you don't need your own blog to join. You can participate merely by adding comments to the host blogger's post about the book or commenting on any other blog that has a post about the book.

  3. You can definitely count me in! I'll post my list shortly.

  4. Coincidence - I read your post immediately after publishing a new post on my blog about a gardening book I've just read. And had already planned a list of books to write about during the winter.

    Would love to participate in the club, but can see a problem - I don't think it's feasible to expect everyone in the club to read each book chosen. Some might be difficult to get hold of if you're in a different country, or they just might not be relevant to your gardening situation.

    But it's a great idea. Count me in too. I'll publish my list soon.

  5. Oh, this will be fun! I'm in, and I'd love to host a month. I'll start putting together my suggestion list today.

  6. Carol,

    My list is posted over at In the Garden Online. Thanks!!

  7. I'd love to try this! And I can host a month if needed. Books I've read that I enjoyed and would like to revisit include A Garden Story by Leon Whiteson, Slug Tossing by Meg DesCamp, Gardening in Eden by Arthur T. Vanderbilt, Paths of Desire by Dominique Browning and any of Henry Mitchell's books. But I'm up for almost anything...gardening essays are another obbsession for me!

  8. I think it’s a great idea and you can count me in. I will post a list of books on my blog in an upcoming post.

  9. I am up for it, too. You ARE thinking ahead, now, aren't you? I am hoping not to be too unbusy this winter, suggestions are at least 3 by Michael Pollan, anything by Wendell Berry, and even The Secret Life of Plants from way back when.

  10. Sounds great to me. I am from the U.S. but live in Mexico. I really miss easy access to English language gardening books and magazines.
    Count me in too.

    My garden blog is
    "Gardener in Chacala, Mexico"

    Good job on getting this idea going.


  11. I love the idea. I am from the U.S. but live in Mexico. I really miss having easy access to gardening books and magazine, and hearing about other people's favorites sounds great to me.

    I may have posted this twice. My connection seems to be hiccuping today.


    Gardener in Chacala, Mexico

  12. I'd love to join, I do not have a blog but love yours, and I love to read. count me in.

  13. Thanks all for the great response. Send me those links to your book suggestions via a comment to my blog when you have your lists of books put together. I'm working on some additional ideas to organize, so if you have ideas around that, please comment.

    I do want to try to pick at least a few of the books that are universally available/applicable, so that anyone, anywhere has a chance to participate.

    After all, the beauty of an online, virtual book club is that there is no limit to how many can participate no matter where they. We have room for more!

  14. This is a great idea - I once belonged to a book group and it was a lot of fun.

    Please count me in. I am enjoying DIG by Meredith Kirton at the moment, but I love anything by Richard Mabey, Anna Pavord or Maggie Campbell-Culver, for starters.

    I will put my list together soon.

  15. Great Idea Carol.I will put up my list soon too.What a nice way to make our way through the dark and cold winter months.There are loads of suggestions already i have not heard of.Should be well educated by springtime!

  16. Carol,

    I'm definitely in -- I think it's a great opportunity for me to learn more about gardening, as well as get some good reading done over the winter. I'm not really sure what to post as my list, though, so is it OK if I just leave it to whatever you and the rest of the group come up with and then participate from there?

    The Inadvertent Gardener

  17. Genie, It is definitely not a problem to "join" and not send me a list! We are an easy going group. Happy to have you included.

  18. Please count me in. I'll think of a list soon.

  19. this is a nice idea. i would like to participate also

  20. Such a wonderful idea! I would like to participate. I'll try to keep my book list short...will post soon for this.

  21. Sounds like a winning idea! Count me in!

  22. Oh, please count me in! Perhaps this will shame, er, encourage me into updating more often.

  23. Count me in too! I'm working on my book suggestions!

  24. Great Idea!
    I suggest the two Mrs. Greenthumbs books by Cassandra Danz

    "Mrs Greenthumbs, How I turned a Boring Yard into a Gloriuos Garden and How You Can Too."
    "Mrs. Greenthumbs Plows Ahead, Five Steps to the Drop-Dead Gorgeous Garden of Your Dreams."

    Both of these books got me through last winter, and gave me tons of inspiration to use this year.

  25. Hi Carol

    We started but time is against us, well done for whipping up some enthusiasm, count us in.

    Now to dig :) up those reviews.


  26. I suggest reading Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran-- Trust me this is magic!


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