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Peter Cundall's The Practical Australian Gardener was a favourite book of many.

Your favourite gardening books

We ran a competition back in 2021 with the question: ‘What is your favourite gardening, nature or food book and why’. Here’s what you said!


The Practical Australian Gardener

Peter Cundall (Penguin)

Peter Cundall

Rosalind: There are so many in my collection but the one that has become my go-to is Peter Cundall’s The Practical Australian Gardener. It lays out the entire year, week by week, task by task. It’s a brilliant concept, explained by a true master and beloved Australian personality whose sincerity and passion always gets me off my armchair and out into the sunshine, season after season. Can’t recommend this book enough.

 Romilly: When you read it you hear Peter’s voice narrating in your head! It’s like your own personal masterclass with the man himself! 


Organic Gardening

Peter Bennett (New Holland)

Peter Bennett Organic Gardening

Dean: Organic pioneer, the late Peter Bennett, talks about everything from soil to pesticides and symbiotic relationships. Just when you think it is all getting a bit much you come across a photo of corn as big as your forearm or silverbeet the height of your garden fork to keep you inspired. It is in its seventh (maybe more?) reprint and is my bible. Absolutely love it!

Alison: This book drew me into organic gardening due to his passion and enthusiasm.

See Peter speak:


Organic Vegetable Gardening

Annette McFarlane (ABC Books)

Annette McFarlane

Andrew: It’s a great combination of inspiration and information, and while I can look up individual plants for immediate info, it also goes a bit deeper into the detail than your average vegie garden summary.


One Magic Square

Lolo Houbein (Wakefield Press)

One magic square

Jessica: This is a book I refer back to time and again. It is filled with inspiration to grow food at home, planting ideas and hard-won tips and tricks. It is nitty gritty gardening, not glossy pictures, one step removed. Old seed packets are dotted throughout my copy as bookmarks and there are smudges of dirt. There is always more to be gleaned or re-remembered on a further reading. So, this book gets my vote as my favourite – a hard-won spot!



Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual
& Introduction to Permaculture

Bill Mollison (Tagari Publications)

INtroduction to permaculture

 Jeff: Because [A Designer’s Manual] is such a comprehensive guide to changing the way we think and live.

 Alex: The original permaculture design books by Bill Mollison – partly because I love to learn about permaculture and test it out in my garden, and partly ’cause my dad told me about Bill Mollison and his work so it’s a nice connection that we share now.


Milkwood: Real skills for down
to earth living

Kirsten Bradley & Nick Ritar
(Murdoch Books)


Uschi: Milkwood because these legendary permies provide real skills to nourish ourselves from the Earth and live in harmony with nature. This book can change the world!

Leanne: A beautiful, indepth manual, covering five areas towards a more sustainable life. It is easy to read, informative and the photography is stunning. I love the section on seaweed foraging.



David Holmgren (Melliodora Publishing)


Karen: Covering 595 pages with many topics to prepare the “downshifter” for a resilient future. How fitting right now! Get busy without leaving your yard.

Felix: Because it faces reality with practical action rather than despair.


The Hidden Life of Trees

Peter Wohlleben (Black Inc)

The secret life of trees

 Jane: This book is a warm acknowledgment of the private life of trees, showing their life strategies; given with an abiding affection and understanding. A new approach to the natural world.


Second Nature: A Gardener’s education

Michael Pollan (Atlantic Monthly Press)

Michael Pollan

Tammy: Pollan’s rich and illuminating philosophical musings about what it means to garden inspired me to become a gardener, instead of just dreaming of it.


Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen
Garden Companion

Stephanie Alexander (Penguin)

Kitchen Garden Companion

Autumn: This is a household favourite – the one book we return to time and time again to help us go from garden to kitchen with ease and enjoyment.


Grown & Gathered

Matt & Lentil Purbrick (Plum)

Grown & Gathered

Jessica: Gardening, nature and food combined in a huge-hearted, life-loving way. Simple, informative and delicious, including ways to forage and be self-sufficient. 

Rachel: Matt and Lentil celebrate the slow and simple life, making it easily achievable in our fast paced, extravagant and wasteful world. Their book motivates and inspires!