I have produced three books relating to the talks that I present: The History of Cottage Gardens, Cottage Sayings & Superstitions and Companion Planting. The books were a result of requests for information that was provided during the talks and have proved very successful. Below is a summary of each book should you be interested and wish to purchase.

Cottage Favourites

There are a number of plants that are intrinsically linked to the cottage garden and today simply known as ‘cottage garden flowers’. Traditional cottage plants were ones that fitted certain criteria; they had to be reliable, easy to grow, scented and in most cases of ‘some use’ to the cottager. These plants were given a common local name that either summed up what it ‘looked like’ or gave a clue to the vital property it possessed – medicinal, culinary or otherwise. This book focuses on the cottage flowers which were always grown in colourful self-sufficient gardens. It explains their common names, looks at what properties the plants possessed, and reflects on fascinating anecdotes related to the plants.

Cottage Sayings & Superstitions

My grandma always reprimanded me for putting an umbrella up in the house, saying that it was ‘bad luck!’ She also made sure that no one in the family did any washing on New Year’s Day as she believed in the old saying that if you: “Wash on New Year’s Day, wash a family member away” My grandma and many of her generation still held on to certain old superstitions and beliefs that originated in the countryside. These superstitions and sayings were passed down from generation to generation and had a huge influence on their lives. This fascinating book delves into sayings and superstitions related to the cottage way of life, and in particular their relationship with plants and animals. It looks at why we bring ‘holly’ in to decorate the house in winter; why we ‘take pot luck’; and why we need to ‘touch wood’.

Companion Planting

The idea of companion planting is an old method of growing different plants together so that they benefit one another, often combating pests and disease. This idea developed in the English cottage garden where the vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers were all grown together so as not to waste space. This book is a must for anyone wishing to grow vegetables organically and provides an alternative to the use of sprays and powders available commercially. Included are lists of vegetables and their good and bad companions; which herbs actually repel pests; which plants will help reduce problems like greenfly and black spot on your roses; which companions are good to hide unsightly foliage; and much more!


*These books may be purchased by sending a cheque made payable to

A. Sankey at:

26 Mulberry Close


CB4 2AS 

Cost of book and P&P as follows:-

Cottage Favourites £3.50 per book

Sayings & Superstitions £3.50 per book

Companion Planting £4 per book


Please remember to include your own name and address with the cheque, so that I know who to send the books on to!