Garden designer Joy Grey shares the sources of gardening information she has found useful. Perfect for those of you who are new, or not so new, to gardening!

As I write, it’s early May and we’re in the midst of the COVID-19 lock-down. Hopefully, by the time you read this issue of Local Life, life will be less restrictive. For those of us, who are lucky enough to have a garden, this time has been an opportunity to not only enjoy our gardens but to find solace in them. In fact, official statistics show that 45% of Britons are coping with the lock-down by gardening – slightly higher than those people who are cooking or reading! We are, after all, known as a ‘nation of gardeners’.

As a garden designer, I have over the years, consulted many books and websites. Here are some of my favourites.


RHS Gardening Through the Year by Ian Spence (Hardback)
RHS Gardening School: Everything You Need to Know to Garden Like a Professional
Charles Dowding’s Vegetable Course
Scotland for Gardeners by Ken Cox – this is a guide to Scottish Gardens, Nurseries and Garden Centres.


Gardener’s World Magazine
Garden Answers Magazine
The Garden – the official publication of the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society).
The gardening section of Saturday’s Daily Telegraph


Gardeners’ Question Time – Radio 4 on Friday and Sunday afternoons.
Gardener’s World –  BBC2 on Friday evenings.


RHS, the Royal Horticultural Society, is the world’s leading gardening charity. Its website offers a wealth of information:

Charles Dowding on vegetable growing:

Sarah Raven for a range of gardening tutorials:

The UK Gardening website provides a list of seasonal gardening jobs along with lots of gardening advice, tips etc:


The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a world-renowned scientific centre for the study of plants, their diversity and conservation. It offers a wide range of formal and informal education programmes for people of all ages and at all levels. In fact, this is where I started my career in garden design!


You can learn a lot from visiting gardens. Owners and gardeners are always more than pleased to answer questions and give advice. Throughout lock-down many are offering virtual garden tours. Visit websites for more information.

Scotland’s Garden Scheme 
This organisation opens a fantastic selection of gardens across Scotland raising money for hundreds of charities.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) 
While you can’t visit the Gardens right now, they share seasonal highlights from each of their Four Gardens and stories from their collections and projects across their digital channels.

Benmore, Dawyck and Logan Gardens 
Are the regional specialist gardens of the RBGE.

Saughton Park and Gardens
This is one of Edinburgh’s hidden jewels with 34 acres of recently refurbished gardens offering something for every gardener.


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