I came across this trio of little books quite by chance late last year whilst I was deciding upon my festive seasonal treat to myself. The title I finally decided on was 'Colour In The Garden' by Val Bourne. I noticed though that three other books had been published by this author at the same time. Intrigued I kept my eyes open for these in the bookshops and eventually a quick peek resulted the conclusion that I would like to read them. If you have not come across this author before do look out for her books. Not only does she write knowledgeably and from personal experience, furthermore she gardens organically - a principle which is reflected throughout these books. Val Bourne's work appears regularly in the press including the gardening supplement which is located in Saturday's 'Daily Telegraph'. I already have her 'The Winter Garden' and 'The Natural Gardener' on my bookshelves whilst my seasonal treat is now upwardly mobile in the to be read pile.
I had intended to wait to see if the books appeared in my local library as I thought that the price for each volume was rather steep for my book buying budget (£9.99 for each in hardback) They are not particularly long books and the few illustrations that appear are rather old fashioned sketches. The lack of illustrations does not however detract from the content. However when I noticed that that they were available in softback for £4.99 for the trio from The Bookpeople, I decided to send off for them and am now dipping into them ~
Although I have been concentrating on the vegetable volume up to now the format of each book appears to be similar. There are up to six suggested monthly tasks, solutions for common problems, did you know facts, organic tips and information where appropriate on varieties. The diaries revolve round Val's attractive premise "Whenever there's a spare 10 minutes, use them. Some tasks inevitably take longer but much can be achieved in short bursts of activity on a regular basis." I like it!
If the weather warms up enough tomorrow as forecast, I will be tackling one of Val's suggested tasks for mid January, which is to start preparing for seed sowing by washing those pots and seed trays. She suggests that a radio helps to ease the pain of the task. Her organic tip for this task is to "resist the urge to to use Jeyes Fluid, bleach or any other chemical cleaner. They are damaging to the environment and will harm many of your overwintering friendly predators." Excellent advice - unfortunately many other publications recommend doing quite the opposite. By the way if you have asthma do not go anywhere near Jeyes Fluid - I did once many years ago - it was an experience I will not forget in a hurry!
In conclusion, I think that these little books contain some most valuable advice and information, for both beginners and those who may have gardened or had an allotment for some time. Another set is on order as a little present for a friend.