Books are my weakness. Fact or fiction, they’re all super and don’t even get me started on book shops – especially ones that have coffee, cake and enthusiastic sales folks. I am afraid that since we started to develop the Meadowmat range of wild flower mats, I have somewhat over indulged myself with wild flower books (and beekeeping books, and butterfly guides, and wildlife gardening books and oh dear! Don’t tell my husband how many I’ve bought)
Here is just a selection of my favourite books
Making Wildflower Meadows By Pam Lewis
This was the first book I bought when I first started researching meadows, and it’s packed full of inspiration and ideas. It’s written with the voice of experience and gives a practical guide to creating, restoring and maintaining a traditional meadow of any size.
The Weeders Digest By Gail Harland
When an inhabitant of the 21st century views a road verge, a hedgerow, a species rich meadow or a woodland floor, they may notice an abundance of different plant species, they may even admire a floral display. But if they were alive 200 years ago – or even, more recently, during the world war or the Great Depression, they would have seen the potential for several meals.
In Gail’s book, she describes some of our edible wild plants and even better, tells us how to cook them. Now I’m a great one for picking blackberries, cherry plums and sloes. I’m even partial to a glass or two of elderflower cordial but I’ve yet to try clover blossom syrup, fat hen frittata or pickled daisy buds. I’m tempted though. Maybe next spring?
Wildflowers On The Edge By Margaret Atherden And Nan Sykes
What a wonderful book. It’s not all commercialised or flashy, it’s just like something I would write myself. These lovely ladies take great pains to point out the different types of habitat thriving unseen and unappreciated beside our busy roads. Roads are not only a means for people to get out and about and meet each other, the vegetation beside the highway forms a network of wildlife corridors. Trust me, after reading this book you will appreciate how valuable our verges are and how the should be better managed and preserved.
Wildflowers By Sarah Raven
Sarah Raven’s Bees, Butterflies and Blooms program on TV in 2012 was an inspiration to many people to at least try to reintroduce wild flowers to village greens, amenity areas, gardens and paddocks all over the UK. Sarah’s passion for the beauty and diversity of our native species will rub off on anybody who takes time to flick through this amazing volume. The photography is awesome and the plant descriptions are fascinating. One of the things I love most about wild flowers is their history. How they came to be in this country, what did our ancestors use them for? How did they get their names. Fascinating. The book is quite expensive but worth every penny in my view. Aim to add it to your Christmas wish list.
Where Have All The Flowers Gone? By Charles Flower
A really good account of the history of farming and countryside management. A real eye opener. I grew up in the countryside and was taught by my Grandmother aka Nanny Brown, how to identify and appreciate wild flowers but I had no notion of the decline in the numbers of hedges, woodland and farm ponds, of the way that meadows had disappeared 2 decades or so before I was born or even that I would be hard pressed to show my own grandchildren a wild primrose wood or honeysuckle growing in the hedge.
Charles book also highlights the plight of rare butterflies whose long term survival is dubious because their habitat is shrinking. The conservation work he’s done in and around species rich meadows sets an example to us all.
If you’re looking for something to help fill those lengthy winter days….look no further. Any or all of these 5 books will lift your spirits and hopefully inspire you to find a spot in your plot for some of our wonderful native plants.
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