D. G. Hessayon

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D. G. Hessayon
David Gerald Hessayon

(1928-02-13) February 13, 1928 (age 96)
Occupation(s)Author, botanist
Known for"Expert Guides"

David Gerald Hessayon OBE (born 1928) is a British author and botanist of Cypriot descent who is known for a best-selling series of paperback gardening manuals known as the "Expert Guides" under his title Dr. D. G. Hessayon. The series started in 1958 with Be Your Own Gardening Expert and in 2008 it celebrated its 50th anniversary and the 50 millionth copy in print.[1] They have become the best selling gardening books in history.[2]

Early life[edit]

Hessayon is the son of a Cypriot landowner and grew up in Salford, Lancashire, England. He gained a Bachelor of Science degree in botany from Leeds University. In 1950, he travelled to the United States where he worked as the editor of a small town newspaper. In 1953, he went to the Gold Coast as a Research Fellow at the University College before returning to Manchester to obtain his doctorate in soil ecology. In 1955, he accepted a position as chief scientist with Pan Britannica Industries Ltd (PBI), becoming chairman in 1972. It was whilst working for PBI that Dr. Hessayon formulated the idea for his "Expert" guides to gardening.

The "Expert" guides[edit]

A steady stream of publications followed the initial Be Your Own Gardening Expert, each maintaining the basic formula of down-to-earth writing broken up into short sections with headers, and illustrated with what were at the time lavish numbers of colour photographs, graphic images and charts. In later editions the Be Your Own ...Expert titles were changed to The ... Expert. On the British bestsellers list for the 1980s, two Experts were in the Top 10. There are (as of 2009) over 20 "Expert" titles in 22 languages and in Britain their sales continue to dominate the gardening paperback lists.[3] The Vegetable & Herb Expert [4] continues to be the best seller.

I would say that the Expert Books have been the biggest innovation in gardening publications since the death of William Robinson in 1938[verification needed]

— Dr. Brent Elliott, Librarian, Royal Horticultural Society, [5]


In 1993, Hessayon received the first-ever Lifetime Achievement award at the British Book Awards. He was also awarded the Veitch Memorial Medal of the Royal Horticultural Society in 1992 for his contribution to the advancement and improvement of the science and practice of horticulture. In 1999, he was awarded a Guinness World Records certificate for being Britain's "bestselling non-fiction author of the 1990s".[citation needed]

Despite a resolve to stay out of the limelight,[6] Hessayon has received further awards - a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Garden Media Guild,[7] three honorary doctorates [8] and, in 2007, an OBE.


Since 1959, Hessayon has written many books.

Other books by the author
Title Year published ISBN
Potato Growers Handbook (with P G Fenemore) 1961
Silage Makers' Handbook (with Christopher Hugh Wood) 1962
The Garden Book of Europe 1973 ISBN 0241023866
The Armchair Book of the Garden 1983 ISBN 0712602348
The Bio Friendly Gardening Guide 1990 ISBN 0903505339
The Bedside Book of the Garden 2008 ISBN 9780903505697
Cover of 1959 Be your own Gardening Expert
Expert series of books
Title Year published ISBN
Be your own Gardening Expert  1959
Be your own Gardening Expert (republished) 1961
Be your own Gardening Expert 1959
Be your own Gardening Expert (republished) 1961
Be your own House Plant Expert 1961
Be your own House Plant Expert (revised) 1967
Be your own Lawn Expert 1961
Be your own Lawn Expert (revised) 1968
Be your own Rose Expert (with Harry Wheatcroft) 1965
Vegetable Plotter  1976 ISBN 0903505061
Be your own House Plant Spotter (with J. P. Hessayon) 1977 ISBN 090350507X
Be your own Vegetable Doctor  1978 ISBN 0903505088
Be your own Garden Doctor  1978 ISBN 0903505096
The House Plant Expert  1980 ISBN 0903505134
The Rose Expert  1981 ISBN 0903505142
The Cereal Disease Expert  1982 ISBN 0903505169
The Lawn Expert  1982 ISBN 0903505150
The Lawn Expert (reprinted) 1988 ISBN 0903505150
The Lawn Expert (reprinted) 1990 ISBN 0903505150
The Tree & Shrub Expert 1983 ISBN 0903505177
The Tree & Shrub Expert (reprinted) 1992 ISBN 0903505177
The Tree & Shrub Expert (reprinted) 1994 ISBN 0903505177
The Tree & Shrub Expert (reprinted) 2012 ISBN 9780903505178
The Flower Expert  1984 ISBN 0903505193
The Flower Expert (reprinted) 1994 ISBN 0903505193
The Indoor Plant Spotter  1985 ISBN 0903505215
The Garden Expert  1986 ISBN 0903505223
The Garden Expert (reprinted) 1997 ISBN 0903505223
The Gold-Plated House Plant Expert  1987 ISBN 0712616985
The Home Expert  1987 ISBN 090350524X
Rose Jotter  1989 ISBN 0903505274
Vegetable Jotter  1989 ISBN 0903505282
Be your own Greenhouse Expert  1990 ISBN 0903505320
The Bedding Plant Expert  1991 ISBN 0903505347
The Bedding Plant Expert (reprinted) 1995 ISBN 0903505347
The New House Plant Expert  1991 ISBN 0903505355
The Vegetable Expert  1985 ISBN 0903505207
The Vegetable Expert (reprinted) 1993 ISBN 0903505207
The Garden DIY Expert  1992 ISBN 0903505371
The Rock & Water Garden Expert  1993 ISBN 090350538X
The Flower Arranging Expert 1994 ISBN 090350541X
The Flowering Shrub Expert  1994 ISBN 0903505398
The Greenhouse Expert  1994 ISBN 0903505401
The Bulb Expert  1995 ISBN 0903505428
The Container Expert  1995 ISBN 0903505436
The Container Expert (reprinted) 1998 ISBN 0903505436
The Easy-care Garden Expert  1996 ISBN 0903505444
The New Rose Expert  1996 ISBN 0903505479
The New Bedding Plant Expert 1996 ISBN 0903505452
The New Lawn Expert  1997 ISBN 0903505487
The New Vegetable & Herb Expert 1997 ISBN 0903505460
The New Vegetable & Herb Expert (revised) 2014 ISBN 9780903505758
The Evergreen Expert  1998 ISBN 0903505517
The New Flower Expert  1999 ISBN 0903505525
The Pocket Flower Expert  2001 ISBN 090350555X
The Pocket Garden Troubles Expert  2001 ISBN 0903505541
The Pocket Tree & Shrub Expert  2001 ISBN 0903505568
The Pocket House Plant Expert  2002 ISBN 0903505592
The Pocket Vegetable Expert  2002 ISBN 0903505576
The Home DIY Expert  2003 ISBN 0903505584
The Fruit Expert 1990 ISBN 0903505312
The Fruit Expert (reprinted) 2003 ISBN 0903505312
The Garden Revival Expert  2004 ISBN 0903505606
The House Plant Expert - Book Two  2005 ISBN 0903505614
The Pest and Weed Expert  2007 ISBN 9780903505628
The Orchid Expert  2008 ISBN 9780903505673
The Orchid Expert (republished) 2010 ISBN 9780903505673
The Green Garden Expert  2009 ISBN 9780903505635
The Expert Vegetable Notebook  2009 ISBN 9780903505765
The Best of Experts  2010 ISBN 9780903505932
The Garden to Kitchen Expert (Judith Wills with D.G. Hessayon) 2011 ISBN 9780903505925
The Complete Garden Expert  2012 ISBN 9780903505987
The Indoor Plant & Flower Expert  2013 ISBN 9781909663008
The New Fruit Expert  2015 ISBN 9780903505741