Book Review – My Garden is a Car Park and other Design Dilemmas by Kendra Wilson

Book Review – My Garden is a Car Park and other Design Dilemmas by Kendra Wilson


When I was asked to review this book I was unsure if it would appeal to me, you see my garden has not changed much since I moved in over 10 years ago, I’ve moved the odd slab about, widened a couple of existing beds,  put up 2 new greenhouses, and dug out and replanted several areas, but I’ve not done what you might call any actual ‘designing’.

This book is not about how to build, but a book of ideas.  I like ideas.

As the Author has stated in the Introduction “This Book is a garden tour with notes and pictures, sharing the surprisingly simple ideas that can solve complex dilemmas”.

The style of the book is in effect a series of questions imagined by the reader, which are  then answered by the author.

The book starts with what you might call the bigger statements such as “My garden is too small, my garden is too long and narrow, and the ever perennial issue that is “I’ve spent all my money on the house”.

Questions are delt with throughout.
Questions are dealt with throughout.

The Author then sets about making suggestions in relation to the issue stated, for example for the issue “my garden is too small” this is dealt with all the positives in relation to having  a small garden, such as no real need to include a lawn, simplifying the use of materials and even suggesting Cottage Gardening as a suitable style for such a small space.

There are 136 pages of problems covered in this book, and each question and suggested answer is complimented with a picture illustrating the suggestions.

Beautiful pictures throughout.
Beautiful pictures throughout.

I really like this book as it has already given me several simple ideas to issues I believed I had in my garden, the book gives me the sense that my issues are actually not that bad  really and easily remedied, that dark corner I have, the bit of my garden overseen by the neighbours I don’t really like, the really dry bit of garden I have. Solutions and suggestions for all these areas I’ve found answers for in this book.

Other suggestions at the bottom of each page..
Other suggestions at the bottom of each page..

The book is nicely set out, and is suitable for dipping in and out of, it could be ready from end to end as a whole, or just looking up specific dilemmas and solutions.

At the bottom of each page and at the end of each dilemma that is dealt with, there is reference to similar problems and solutions throughout the book.

The book easy to navigate, nice pictures, lots of ideas, information of useful terms used in Horticulture, a page of resources which include details of the RHS, The Hardy Plant Society, and Garden Organic amongst others.

There is a detailed section on the  Photo Credits and a small section called voices in which  Writers whose ideas help influence the sections in this book are highlighted which I thought was a nice touch.

I think this book would suit a beginner looking for answers, and experienced gardeners looking for inspiration, it was certainly a nice inspirational read on a rainy day.

 My Garden is a Car Park and other Design Dilemmas is published by Laurence King Publishers.

Book Review: Charles Dowding’s Vegetable Garden Diary

Charles Dowding’s Vegetable Garden Diary


I recently purchased this book and thought I’d share my thoughts on it.

Over the last few years I have purchased a few of Charles’ other Gardening titles, and  in line with his advice on how to set up raised beds easily I did just that and now successfully grow a wide variety of produce.

My biggest raised bed.
My biggest raised bed.

The Book

The book is intended as a manual of Gardening techniques filled with splendid illustrations and contains many pictures of Charles’ own garden and produce.

Big pictures and lots of information.
Big pictures and lots of information.

168 pages long, at least three-quarters of the book is Charles’ advice on how to grow great crops.

Although devised as a diary, it is in-fact a perpetual or any day dairy designed for you to add your own notes, comments and to  store your own information, for future reference.

Beautifully set out with space to write your own notes accompanied by lovely pictures relevant to the time of month.

The advice printed in the diary section is linked to each week of the year, some of the information included is when is the best time to sow, different tried sowing and planting methods, the advantages of no dig which results in less time needed, and how to control weeds by mulching.

Start of the seed sowing
Start of the seed sowing

The seed sowing starts in the Diary on Valentine’s day, and guides you through on what to sow right through to the week before Valentine’s day the next year, Charles also covers how to feed soil, for resulting  strong and healthy growth and more productivity, and the best times to harvest, including information on storing your produce.

This book has been designed as a gardening companion with seasonal pointers, the intention is that you can add your own notes alongside the advice given by Charles.

Ring bound for easy use.
wire bound for easy use.

The book is wire bound and the covers are laminated for easy use when out and about in the garden.

Sections covering everything you might ever need.
Sections covering everything you might ever need.

I’ve already read this book cover to cover twice and made notes along the way, and I’ve  set out my planned seed sowing regime for the coming Spring following Charles’ advice, and already started adding more mulch to my raised beds in order to get my no-dig adventure off the best start in 2017.

And through the pages of Charles book I’ve discovered the solution to my ponderings  on how to grow lots of onions close together in order to produce lots of pickled onion sized onions for my Pickling needs in 2017.

7 seeds sown close together give many smaller onions. perfect size for Pickling.
7 seeds sown close together give many smaller onions. perfect size for Pickling.

I’ve found this book easy to follow and beautifully set out, there is a large index containing everything I needed to know and I cannot wait o get sowing my seeds.

This is a great book for any beginner or the more experienced Gardener, and would be a great Christmas present for any Allotment Grower.

The Book is priced at £14.95 or Signed at £15.95 Direct from Charles who Self Published the book.

Order here

The book is also available from that other online bookshop, but I suggest you buy directly from Charles as he posts out very quickly.

For more information on Charles Dowding’s other Books, Courses, and the No-dig method visit his site here.


(Disclaimer, I do not, and have not gained in any way by reviewing this book)

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