Book Reviews / Hobbies / nonfiction / The Latest / translation

8 Books to Buy for your Plant and Gardening-Obsessed Friends

A picture of some of my house plants. Triostar stromanthe, monstera, and ruby ficus.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links, I might make a very small commission. This helps me keep my independent blog alive.

Who doesn’t love plants? I mean really. They keep us alive – literally. Whether they are purifying our air, bringing colour and light into our homes, nourishing our bodies, or providing shelter and food for birds and bees, they are without a doubt, amazing. I wanted to bring together a list of some of my favourite books about gardening and plants so that you would never be left wondering what your next green read should be.

1. For the Literary Gardener – Life In the Garden by Penelope Lively

Life in the Garden by Penelope Lively is surrounded by some gum leaves.

This is a beautiful hardback book that explores our love of and our relationship with nature. Lively specifically asks questions about how we celebrate our love of nature through writing. She will take you on a journey through poetry, classic literature, and ancient texts to talk about all this gardening.


2. For the Rose Loving Gardener – By Any Other Name: A cultural history of the rose by Simon Morley

Book cover of By Any Other Name. The cover has yellow roses.

The rose has fascinated the world since its discovery. It’s beauty, scent, form, and thorns have been the stuff of poetry, music, fashion, theatre, and so much more. The rose is as much a part of our shared collective history as any other plant and without the rose, I don’t know what our cultures would look like. I listened to this as an audiobook and it was great fun. It was easy to dip in and out of, so perfect for a book to pick up whenever you just need something a little bit floral.


3. For Curious Gardener – The Secret Network of Nature by Peter Wohlleben

Hand holding the book The Secret Network of Nature.

Peter Wohlleben is a German author, and I’ve reviewed other books by him, including The Hidden Life of Trees. I absolutely love his work. Reading his books has made me extremely sad, but they also offer hope. Trees, flowers, and nature are all interconnected. Trees look after their young, and they have ways to communicate and heal each other. Humans think they are at the top – when we are barely capable of understanding how wonderful and intelligent nature is.


4. For the Would-be Gardener – Garden Like A Nonno by Jaclyn Crupi

Jaclyn Crupi is an Italian-Australian author. She celebrates her Italian heritage, gardening, and cooking knowledge through her book, Garden Like A Nonno. This book is for people who want to learn more about growing vegetables and herbs in their backyards. How to prune lemon trees. This book is for people who maybe didn’t have a Nonno, grandfather, or father in their life to show them these kinds of beautiful life skills. This book is beautifully illustrated and makes a perfect gift for anyone who loves gardening.


5. For the Climate Conscious Gardener – A Life On Our Planet: My Witness Statement and Vision for the Future by David Attenborough

Book cover of A Life of Our Planet. It has a portrait of the author, David Attenborough who is in a blue suit with white-silver hair.

David Attenborough is old. He has spent most of his life in the television and documentary-making industry. In his memoir, he chronicles the decline of our forests and nature. He speaks about the excesses of pollution – its impact on our climate, our flora, and our fauna. He paints an awful and horrific picture. Although there is also hope in his message. I don’t know what we will do when this beautiful man is gone, but I hope we listen to him sooner rather than later. If you have ever felt like the climate crisis was too big to comprehend, then this book is a great starter.


6. For the Fungus Loving Gardener – The Mushroom At the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruin by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

Hand holding the book, The Mushroom at the End of the World in front of a small ficus.

This book is about the most valuable mushroom in the world – the matsutake. These light-brown beauties can cost around 500 USD per kilo. Now there is a big difference between ‘liking mushrooms’ and ‘liking 500 USD per kilo mushrooms’, and I don’t have the budget for boojie fungi! This book looks at the strange world of the matsutake market. It talks about how this mushroom sustains a myriad of commercial and cultural facets. It is also a book about capitalism, its limits, and what might grow in the wake of capitalism’s demise. Mushrooms are truly fascinating, and any one who loves them will enjoy this book too.


7. For the ‘Recreational’ Gardner – This is Your Mind on Plants by Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan is an award-winning author and he has written a lot about plants. In particular, our relationship with certain plants and how they have shaped our understanding of the world and ourselves. In his book, This is Your Mind on Plants, Pollan writes about opium, caffeine, and mescaline which are three powerful plants that have shaped our cultures, minds, and religions for centuries. As an avid coffee drinker myself, without my morning jolt, life just doesn’t seem the same. If you have ever wondered why certain plants have such a hold on us, then this is the book for you.


8. For the Historian Gardener – The Botany Of Desire: A plant’s-eye view of the world by Michael Pollan

You might be thinking, two books by Michael Pollan? Well, I don’t know what to tell you other than his books are just that good. This book is slightly different to his other one above, and this book is about how five kinds of plants have shaped history and the world as we know it. Pollan looks at the tulip and tulip mania, as well as the development and breeding of the apple. This book will turn many of your preconceived notions about the world and the food we consume on their head.


That is it! Thanks so much for sticking around the end of the list. I hope that these books make great gifts for yourself or the people who love all things green. Let me know if you get any of these books in the comments below! Here is me signing off with one of my tiniest green girls, simply called Bean. As always, share the reading love.