drawn to the garden

Drawn to the Garden is a gorgeous ‘armchair reading’ book on the benefits of just sitting in the garden or growing your own plants. This lovely gift book will have you raising seeds in your potting shed or growing your own produce. The delightful surprise is that author (popular actress Caroline Quentin) is also a gifted artist, and the book is populated throughout with delightful images of both her garden and herself, complete in gardening aprons!

Read food safety for people & petsIf planting green spaces, learn how to make gardens safe for pets (includes indoor plants to avoid). Avoid facing indoor foliage to gardens, to help stop birds flying into windows.

In a warm and engaging book, this is a book of stories rather than gardening tips: of growing chillies from seed in her greenhouse, watching the blackbirds thieve her fruit and swimming in her pond (singing to dragonflies). Life is just a series of happy accidents. And rather than try to work things out, just sit in the garden! Caroline likes to misquote Dorothy Parker: ‘Take to horticulture, it’s cheaper than a shrink’.

a memoir of conservation & community

the volunteers

The Volunteers is the heartwarming story of a woman whose world suddenly unravels. Single and jobless, she stumbles upon an opportunity to lead a ragtag team of countryside conservation voluneteers. At first glass, the prospect of nurturing diverse wildlife in the great outdoors seems like a dream come true. But reality paints a different picture: her office is a ramshackle porta-cabin overrun with mice and plagued by leaky ceilings, and the volunteers are far from impressed with her lack of practical skills.

Despite this rocky beginning, soon they forge a tightknit community that grows to become essential for all. The group spans generations, with each looking to get something different out of volunteering – a sense of purpose, a fresh start in life or a tick on their community service form. Each brings unique quirks and life experiences to the mix. As they bond over their love of nature, mental health battles and desire for friendships, they experience better wellbeing and self-confidence. The journey not only brings solace and joy, but helps the author to move on with her life too.

Carol Donaldson is a writer and conservationist raised in Essex, who has worked for many wildlife charities and runs her own environmental consultancy. She lives in Kent where she enjoys volunteering, cycling and wild swimming.

use nature to boost your sense of wellbeing

nature therapy

Nature Therapy is a beautifully illustrated book, to help you reconnect with the natural world. Whether you wish to find your sense of connection near windswept cliffs or in the solace of a forest (or even the comfort of tending your own garden), this book shows how to refresh your wellbeing.

Dive in to discover activities from gardening and crafts to walking and wild swimming. There is also advice on how to incorporate the outdoors more, in everyday life. And a holistic approach to life overall. From taking a botanical bath to making jam from foraged berries, this book can help you feel better and spark more meaning in life – all by unlocking the transformative power of nature.

Rémy Dambron is a poet who cherishes the natural wonders of the Great Pacific Northwest, where he documents life through writing and photography. He and his wife regularly walk in forests, alongside rivers and enchanting waterfalls and roam across majestic beaches (watching whales), to recharge their batteries and centre their energy for the week ahead.

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