New Year, New Book – Coming Soon

This garden blog started when I first learned to garden from scratch many years ago. I wrote and posted of my experiences, successes, failures, what I was proud of and the joy of plants, flowers, nature and the aim of creating a personal “paradise” on a tiny patch of land. That first garden I worked in and wrote about was small and I developed and learned in it for about five years before we moved to the current garden. I left that previous garden just as it was maturing and just as my skills, knowledge and confidence reached a new peak.

When I realised that I would be leaving my first garden behind, I set about consolidating my experiences into a book. I realised that unlike gardening TV, most people do not have large gardens, large budgets, a lot of experience or a lot of time and so I wanted to create something that was much more “down to earth”, that other people who are in a similar situation as I was when I first started gardening can pickup, associate with and learn from, as well as be entertained, of course. I realised that I had somehow, inexplicably managed to create an enjoyable, beautiful and precious garden (even if I do say so myself) from a small patch and I wanted to write a book that would give other people the confidence and foundation to create their own back garden paradise without having to read a few hundred blog posts first.

Towards the end of my time in that first garden I started to write, “A Year in a Small Garden”, a book which is now just one section away from being proof-read before it is published online. The “Year” covers the full growing season from the depths of winter through spring, the height of summer, the descent into autumn and finally back round to winter once more. I got the idea from a blog post I wrote that showed the garden as a series of twelve pictures, taken of the same view from the same place at the same time each month to give a calendar of the garden. You can see this as a gallery here:

https://www.icloud.com/sharedalbum/#A6JtdOXmJ6irEo;34FA4ABD-750A-4FC0-A652-6CB939E7038A

Three years later, with many fits and starts, lots of procrastination and not a small amount of effort, I am close to finishing the writing of this book and will be moving on to the proof-reading. I wanted to share the contents and section summaries with you as a taster of what to expect and also to compel me to finish this rather monumental undertaking:

  1. Copyright
  2. Dedication
  3. About this book
    • The book as a collection of stories
    • A description of the garden
    • Weather and climate
    • Genuine garden and photos, no post-processing
  4. Where it all Began
    • Down on the Farm – agricultural roots in India
    • Digging with Granddad – marigolds and spinach
    • It was a Dark and Stormy Night – moving in and new garden
  5. Spring
    • Tidying that Mess – starting out, clearing the garden
    • Cherry Blossom – flowering cherry and perfect moments
    • The Lawn Daffodils – naturalising the lawn
    • Welcome the Wisteria – planting and caring for the wisteria
    • Knee Deep in a Big Pile of * – 800kg of manure, enriching the soil
    • Spring bulbs – displays of tulips and Anemone Blanda
    • Flowering shrubs – signature shrubs, spring garden: Ribes, Skimmia and Spirea – space
    • The Garden Arches – garden design, aesthetics and structure, go up for space
  6. Summer
    • The Rush of Summer – parts to summer
    • Germination Impossible – growing from seed
    • Splitting Hearts – dividing plants (Dicentra)
    • Making the Cut – taking cuttings, insurance policy (lavender)
    • Iris of the Beholder – several varieties (Iris Sibirica)
    • New Frontiers – new borders, East Border, border edging, choosing plants, microclimates
    • Coming Up Roses – David Austin Roses and bare root roses, planting, rose pests and diseases
  7. Dog Days
    • Annuals (Escholzia, Cornflower, sunflowers)
    • Biennials – foxgloves, lunaria
    • Falling for Foliage – hostas, ferns, bamboo, canariensis, abutilon
    • Queen of Climbers – trials and tribulations with clematis
    • Bouquet Brownie Points – Cut flowers and flower arranging
    • Gardening Goals – and taking it easy
  8. Autumn
    • Autumn jobs – putting the garden to bed
    • Loving the Lilies – scented plants and pollen – last *bang* before winter
    • Gardening Skin Deep – gardening trends and fashions
    • Pests and Diseases – nod to organic
    • Lawn Care – “terrible mistake” on grass treatment
    • Poison plants, pets and children, thorns, stings, flowers, seeds, roots and leaves
  9. Winter
    • Won’t Someone Think of the Birds? – feeding the birds
    • Christmas Break
    • Crocuses and Snowdrops – late winter/spring flowers
    • A Year in Flower – Sarcococca over the winter and winter flowering plants
    • Back to the beginning – introduction to the next section of pictures
  10. A Year in the Garden
    • Twelve pictures through the garden arches, one per month
  11. A Good Sit-Down
    • Final blog post for this garden – adapted to book
  12. Extras/Appendix
    • Final extras and feedback
    • Plant List
    • Last page

Currently the book is 242 pages long and the only section I have remaining is the one in orange above, about the Garden Arches and garden structure in general. I do need to find a way of getting a garden plan in too. There were many times when this book project was all but abandoned and I felt it was never going to be finished. With all the work going into the new house and garden after the move, there was little time or energy to spare for anything else. I’m not sure what recently prompted me to get back into writing and make a concerted effort to finish, but now that I am close to finishing, it almost feels as though it isn’t real.

I can’t wait to have the final section written, the whole thing proof-read cover-to-cover and then to finally go through the steps of publishing online. It’s not far away and I may even be able to make it for our three-year move anniversary at the end of February this year.

I can’t wait to share this work with everyone and it’s so tantalisingly close.

8 Comments


  1. Proud of you, Sunil – no really! And I can’t wait for publication day. I love all the pics you have taken over the years since I “found” you, and above all, I cannot believe it is three years with the newer garden! So ….. if a tree book publisher approached you, would you say yes?!!!

    Reply

    1. Hello Mrs Mac, I would be silly to say “no” if a tree book publisher approached me! I have to figure out a way of printing the thing for proof-reading and as a keep-sake.

      Reply

  2. Sunil, this is wonderful news. Well done! I know how hard writing a book is. My iBook “The Dirt Diaries” is in the iTunes store and is 5-star rated. Can’t wait to see yours there, too!

    Reply

    1. Hello Lynn, I bought your book as soon as I heard about it. It will be quite a day when I see it on the iTunes and Kindle bookstores.

      Reply

    1. Thanks, Tammy, I’ll expect the spelling and grammar corrections to come from you as well as the pages scrawled with red ink and “see me” written at the top!

      Reply

  3. Congratulations on your soon-to-be book, Sunil. I think many of us dream about turning blog posts into a book,but it takes determination and perseverance to see the project through.

    Reply

    1. Thank, Jean. I wish it was just a copy-paste of content from the blog to the book, but it’s more of a ground-up re-write. I’ve since finished the last section and I’m handing it to volunteers and victims to proof-read. The book almost didn’t happen because of the focus shift to the new house, job and garden.

      Reply

Leave a Reply