I am an avid reader of gardening books (in the days when I had television I watched a lot of gardening shows too), but I don’t usually decide to buy them.
Ethne Clarke’s The Art of the Kitchen Garden
really pleased me though. It is well written and illustrated but it also combines several of my interests.
Basically it is a history of the kitchen garden from the early Middle Ages through the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. She clearly did a lot of research and combines information about plants and growing techniques with a lively discussion of developments in the kitchen and a selection of recipes from the time periods covered.
Obviously you know why I like it: history, cooking, and gardening in one volume! I particularly liked the chapter on fruit, we have a very small yard and she gives detailed instructions for various forms of espalier as well as espalier adapted to pots. I’m strongly considering beginning to train a couple of currant bushes in big pots on the patio.
Definitely a good choice for days of early spring, when it really is a little too early to actually plant things. The Art of the Kitchen Garden and a cup of tea work well together on a rainy day.