Review by Ali Burdon of Very Berry Handmade
This is a lovely book for anyone who doesn’t have much room to garden in, or for someone who enjoys container gardening in general. The title is rather misleading because out of the 35 projects, there are a lot that are either not suitable or much too big for a table, be it indoors or out! But, in my opinion, that’s all to the good because it means there’s a lot more to this book than the title suggests!
Hardy starts with a selection of lovely projects for indoors, including succulents, airplants and cacti. The ideas are interesting and some are quite unusual; I love the underwater indoor garden. Then she moves on to outdoor ideas, with projects for edible plants as well as ornamentals, sometimes combining the two - blueberries with scabious and boysenberries with ragged robin are particularly gorgeous.
She makes great and imaginative use of all sorts of unusual containers and pots (ladles, jelly moulds, vintage biscuit tins and much more), some of which are going to be much harder to get hold of than others. These vintage finds and upcycled projects do make a difference when it comes to the final impact of the project, but I’m sure a lot of the ideas would be easy to achieve using more easily available items.
One of the things that I really appreciate is the effort that has been made to provide all the essential detail, including Latin names of the plants used for each project. Even better, it’s all on the same page, rather than having to refer to a glossary or something similar. There’s also a short but thorough introductory section about materials and techniques, and excellent aftercare advice for each of the projects. Aftercare instructions are so often missing from this kind of project-based gardening book, so I’m really glad to see this.
The fantastic photography by Debbie Patterson should get an appreciative mention – the final projects look fabulous – very natural and appealing, and there’s also some very useful step-by-step pictures too.
One minor quibble I have is the editorial insistence of ‘translating’ some extremely obvious American English words into UK English – for example the word ‘can’ is translated into ‘tin’ in brackets, almost every time it appears, sometimes three or four times on a page. It’s not really a big deal, but it does get annoying and I think detracts from what is a very pretty, inspirational and useful book.
Tiny Tabletop Gardens by Emma Hardy
Photography by Debbie Patterson
Published by CICO Books