The Windowsill Gardener
THE WINDOWSILL GARDENER : 50 EASY-TO-GROW PLANTS TO TRANSFORM YOUR HOME Illustrated by Annie Davidson with text by Liz Marvin
Michael O’Mara Books, £9.99
How to solve the problem of wanting to grow more than houseplants without much in the way of outdoor space? The Windowsill Gardener has some ideas. This jaunty little book is fuelled by a can-do attitude and a light, breezy tone that makes indoor growing accessible for the uninitiated – and goes beyond the basics covered by other beginner gardening books and into braver territory.
The book captures the spirit of the novice grower and offers growing activities for around the home. Bookshelves, kitchen worktops and bathrooms all come under the broad windowsill umbrella, encouraging readers to see their home in a new light – one that would be best suited for growing in. This practical advice is jollied along by cheap and cheerful suggestions, such as using recycled household items as growing containers – old coffee bags for chillies, tin cans for herbs and veg pallets for microgreen crops. There’s an emphasis on reducing waste, with carrot tops, celery and lettuce all being used for regrowing, rather than going into the bin. Annie Davidson’s charming illustrations capture the delight of first growing, as well as featuring urban backdrops that are rarely seen in gardening books – a refreshing touch.
Liz Marvin, who has previously written books on astrology and trees, has a witty patter at times – dried parsley is ‘potpourri-tasting’ – and I particularly enjoyed the section on microgreens, including broccoli, beetroot and kale. There’s also a handy step-by-step guide to creating newspaper pots.
It is cheering to see more unusual plants such as chervil, lemongrass, makrut lime (Citrus hystrix), ginger and pineapple included in a beginner’s gardening book. Overall, there is an emphasis on rolling up your sleeves and just having a go, which is key tenet to any gardening journey, especially for a beginner.