Good Garden Reads

As those of us in cold climates can only dream of the warmth of the summer sun and those in warmer climates are beginning to tackle their early spring gardening projects, we thought our readers may enjoy hearing about a few our favorite gardening books – both old and new.

Gardening books

Container Theme Gardens is one of our favorite new books from Storey Publishing. With award-winning garden designer Nancy J. Ondra as the guide, gardeners of all levels and budgets can transform drab front steps, patios, decks and balconies into fabulous decorative masterpieces! This comprehensive, hands-on guide provides clear step-by-step instructions for creating gorgeous containers, while allowing the reader to add their own flare and personal touch.

Another new hands-on guide is The Perennial Gardener’s Design Primer by Stephanie Cohen and Nancy J. Ondra. This book is chock full of easy-to-follow plans, complete with suggested plants, beautifully illustrated garden diagrams, color photos and so much more. Each garden includes a “Designer’s Checklist” with practical advise for beginners and experienced gardeners alike.  Anyone who’s had the good fortune to meet either Stephanie or Nancy will know how joyful and passionate about gardening they are!

Looking to add a tropical touch to your garden? You don’t have to look any further than Pam Baggett’s book Tropicalismo!: Spice up Your Garden with Cannas, Bananas and 93 Other Eye-Catching Tropical Plants. You’ll find over 93 plants, each with gorgeous color photos, care tips and even pronunciation guides.

Interested in garden lore?  In Coffee For Roses . . . and 70 Other Misleading Myths About Backyard Gardening horticulture expert and radio host C.L. Fornari uncovers the truth behind common garden practices – the good, the bad, and the just plain silly. This is a great gift book for that gardener who “has everything”.

Ready to tackle some tree and shrub pruning projects this year?  If so, one new excellent resource is How to Prune Trees & Shrubs. Gardening expert Barbara Ellis shows you how to determine each plant’s needs and develop a simple plan before you begin, and her clear, fully illustrated instructions ensure great results. You don’t even need to know the name of the plant you’re pruning; you can work according to visual characteristics (such as leaf shape and growing pattern) that Ellis outlines for you. The perfect guide for complete beginners!

 

good gardening booksDealing with a drought? With reports of ongoing drought becoming part of our daily news, gardeners and small farming enterprises are looking for ways to conserve water yet still ensure healthy, robust crops. Enter the clay pot and other ingenious methods of water conservation for gardeners, proposed by David A. Bainbridge in his new book Gardening with Less Water, Low Tech, Low Cost Techniques. It not only describes the simple process of irrigating using clay pots, it also provides in-depth information on buried clay pipe and using porous capsules, porous hose, and wicks to save water while gardening

If you’re on a limited budget and could buy only one gardening book, we would definitely recommend Barbara Damrosch’s beloved class, The Garden Primer. First published in 1988 the 2008 edition has gone totally organic. The publisher calls this hefty 802-page book “the most comprehensive, entertaining, down-to-earth single volume gardening reference ever”, and we agree!

 

organic gardening bookGarden writer, radio and TV Host Doug Oster and his co-host Jessica Walliser teamed up to create Grow Organic, Over 250 Tips and Ideas for Growing Flowers, Veggies, Lawns and more. This easy-to-read guide is ideal for both first-timers and old-timers alike and includes everything from soil management to companion planting, beneficial insects and more.

 

Pittsburgh gardens

Doug says “if you’re worried about growing roses because you’ve heard they’re fussy, try ‘Flower Carpet Yellow.’ It’s a winner.

And for all you Steel City gardeners, don’t miss Doug Oster’s fabulous book The Steel City Garden: creating a one-of-a-kind garden in black and gold. Doug reminds us that “the main goal in creating any garden is to have fun” and that’s what his book is all about. Steel City gardens can be anything from a tribute to a city, a sports team, or just a relaxing place to sit and enjoy.  He’s selected groups of plants (flowers, trees, shrubs and foliage: fruits and veggies) and then included information about where each plant works best, its pests and diseases, and plant partners.

 

children's gardening booksSince we’re reviewing books, we thought it would be fun to add in a few choice books to encourage children’s interest in gardening and how-to projects.

Nationally known garden writer and designer Sharon Lovejoy has written two wonderful children’s gardening books and we highly recommend both of them. The simple act of reconnecting with children with nature is her purpose, and her books are pure joy!  Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children is filled with activities to do in the garden.  Sunflower Houses: Inspiration from the Garden, a Book for Children and Their Grown-ups, is touted as being “a fetching primer on gardening for children.

childrens woodworking projectsFor those looking to pass the hammer to a new generation, the Kids’ Building Workshop by J. Craig Robertson and his wife Barbara includes 15 woodworking projects for kids and parents to build together, including birdhouses, lemonade stands and more! This kid-friendly guide covers the essentials of carpentry, including safety tips, the importance of measuring, and much more.

Do you have a favorite garden book?  If so, we’d love to hear about it and share it with our readers.  Please add a reply below if you’d like to tell us about your “go-to” gardening book.

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