South Asian gardens come in many forms: from busy backyard vegetable plots to exquisite mughal terraces. Whether you want to investigate the influence of the British empire on India's botanic gardens or simply find out how to grow Asian vegetables of your own, this selection of books should satisfy your desire to discover more.
Brookes, J. 2001. Gardens of paradise: the history and design of the great Islamic gardens. London:
Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 240 p.
With colour and black and white photographs, this book traces the origins of Islamic gardens and explains their spread throughout the Islamic empire.
Crowe, S. and Haywood, S. 1972. The gardens of Mughal India: a history and a guide. London: Thames and Hudson, 200 p.
Lavishly illustrated with photographs and plans, this book explores the history and design of various Mughal gardens of India.
Titley, N. and Wood, F. 1991. Oriental gardens. London:
The British Library, 128 p.
This book describes the development of exotic gardens and includes oner 100 stunning illustrations from manuscripts and books at the British Library.
Wescoat, J.L. and Wolschke-Bulmahn, J. (eds) 1996. Mughal gardens: sources, places, representations, and prospects. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 288 p.
Several authors have contributed to this well illustrated book which covers many aspects of Mughal gardens including design, horticulture, their use and place in poetry.
Brockway, L.H. 1979. Science and colonial expansion: the role of the British Royal Botanic Gardens. London: Academic Press, 215 p.
This book is about the search for economically important plants by the British during the imperial era of the 19th century. It describes how British botanic gardens developed and the role they played in the spread of plants from one part of the world to another in order to benefit the empire.
Growing Asian plants
Larkcom, J. 1991. Oriental vegetables: the complete guide for garden and kitchen. London: John Murray, 232 p.
This classic book is now slightly dated in style but it contains sound cultivation and cooking advice.
Woodward, P. 2000. Asian herbs and vegetables: how to identify, grow and use them in Australia. Victoria:
Hyland House, 146 p.
Excellent photographs and background information on cultivation and use. Some of the more unusual plants may be difficult to get hold of in the UK.
Hickmott, S. 2003. Growing unusual vegetables: wierd and wonderful vegetables and how to grow them. Bath: Eco-Logic Books/Wordly Goods, 266 p.
This book is a complete guide covering the history of each plant as well as how to grow it and how to use it.
Pears, P. (ed) 2001. The HDRA encyclopedia of organic gardening. London:
Dorling Kindersley, 416 p.
Although this book covers vegetable growing generall, it also features some of the more unusual vegetables. It includes all areas of gardening including fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Biggs, M., McVicar, J. and Flowerdew, B. 2003. The complete book of vegetables, herbs and fruit: the definitive book on edible gardening. London: Ted Smart, 640 p.
This is a comprehensive guide to selecting, cultivating, harvesting and cooking vegetables, herbs and fruit.