Armchair gardners who would rather read about gardens than toil in one, however, can put themselves into imaginary gardens by reading the following cozies that blend horticulture and landscaping with a bit of mystery.
There is The Lost Gardens (English gardening mystery) by Anthony Eglin, Death in the Orchid Garden by Ann Ripley, and Deadly Nightshade by Mary Freeman.
My favorite garden mystery writer is Ann Ripley, who sprinkles her early books with tips on plants and landscaping in the same way that author Diane Mott Davidson sprinkles her food catering mysteries with recipes. Their protaganists work hard at what they do - digging, planting, mulching or cooking, baking, and carting trays and platters of food around.
Ripley has her main character working hardest in Mulch, when she goes out to collect bags and bags of raked up leaves that all her neighbors have set out on the curb at night for garbage pick. She wants to add the leaves to the mulch in her wooded back yard, you see. This gets her into some big trouble, but in a way you couldn't forsee.
All the garden work you read about in Ripley's books will either make you tired or motivate you to start digging in your own backyard to plant bamboo or start a water garden.
Other gardening mysteries I have just discovered are Michelle Wan's Deadly Slipper and The Orchid Shroud, and Heather Webber's Digging Up Trouble, not to mention J.S. Borthwick's The Garden Plot, plus A Deadly Bouquet by Janis Harrison.
I hope to enjoy some pleasant spring gardening... I mean, spring reading.
Let me add Anthony Eglin's most recent gardening mystery: see a review of The Trail of the Wild Rose: An English Gardening Mystery