I thought I'd start this page of book reviews and recommendations with an oldie but a goodie. My copy of Lesley Bremness's Dorling Kindersley book of Herbs has a different cover, but that's testament to how long it's been lurking on my bookshelves. But It's still as useful as ever (and it's one of those sturdy little books that doesn't fall apart from frequent handling too. No loose pages, even though my edition was printed back in 1990.)
When DK get their books right they really excel in clear text and excellent photographs. Just what you want from a book aimed to help you identify herbs and how to use and grow them. The first 100 or so pages give a page each to an individual herb. So, for instance, there's a page devoted to 'Meadowsweet'. A little paragraph about the folk lore or legend behind it, a summary of its decorative and culinary uses, pointers towards its particular leaf shape, seeds, root and stem.
You learn some lovely little snippets of info as you browse this book. Fennel was used by Roman warriors to keep 'em healthy while weight watching Roman ladies ate it to prevent obesity. Coriander gets a mention in Sanskrit texts, the Bible and 'Tales of the Arabian Nights'. Parsley was used to make crowns for victors at the Greeks Isthmian games, while the herb Mullein has over 30 common names such as hag's taper, velvet dock and Aaron's rod.
The book also has a section on cooking with herbs, a lovely bit on making posies with herbs and flowers - known as tussie-mussies, plus herbal homemade cleaning products and beauty preparations. Finally, there's a section on cultivating and harvesting your herbs.
If you're after a good all-round book I'd suggest you snap this one up.
Moved from a garden-less city flat in the South West to a Yorkshire village in 2016. I now have a garden ... of sorts.