By Kay Burdette
Reading Between the Vines
Gardeners are readers. Reading is especially appealing during those winter days when the “weather outside is frightful.” Here’s a list of mostly 2011 books to entertain, to inspire, or just to enjoy. In order to compile the list I looked at a variety of print and digital sources. Some of the best: Amazon.com (Best Books of 2011 Home and Garden), American Horticultural Society, Canadian Gardening (website), New York Times Sunday Book Review, The Garden Librarian (garden blog), Wall Street Journal (Saturday/Sunday).
From Art to Landscape: Unleashing Creativity in Garden Design (hardcover)
W. Gary Smith
Landscape architect and artist W. Gary Smith explores the various means that artists use — including drawing, painting, sculpture, meditation, poetry, and dance — to create personal connections with the landscape that enrich and inform garden design. Smith is the designer for Santa Fe Botanical Garden’s new Garden at Museum Hill.
American Horticultural Society 2011 Book Award.
Gardening for a Lifetime: How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older (hardcover)
Practical and encouraging roadmap for scaling back while keeping up with the gardening activities that each gardener loves most. Like replacing demanding plants like delphiniums with sturdy, relatively carefree perennials like sedums, rudbeckias, and daylilies. Or taking the leap and hiring help—another pair of hands, even for a few hours a week, goes a long way toward getting a big job done.
American Horticultural Society 2011 Book Award.
Tomorrow’s Garden: Design and Inspiration for a New Age of Sustainable Gardening (Hardcover)
Orr presents gardens in 14 American cities that have been scaled back and simplified without sacrificing beauty or innovative design. A devoted supporter of the organic gardening movement, Orr advises gardeners to think about their gardens as part of an interconnected whole with the surrounding environment—with an eye to water usage, local ecology, and preservation of resources.
Collins Gem Food for Free: A Fantastic Feast of Plants and Folklore (Softcover)
New format—ideal for carrying in a backpack. Over 100 edible plants are featured together with recipes and other interesting culinary information. With details on how to pick, when to pick, and regulations on picking, this new format of a best-selling title provides a portable guide for all those who enjoy what the countryside has to offer.
Edible Landscaping: Now you can have your gorgeous garden, and eat it too! (Softcover)
Latest advice about the basics – how to garden and with what (not peat moss). Slow Food, great design, and exhaustive encyclopedia of edible plants. American Horticultural Society 2011 Book Award.
Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History (hardcover)
Plants, no matter how seemingly mundane, are endlessly enthralling. Tea, for instance, was said to have originated when the founder of Zen Buddhism became so frustrated by his tendency to doze during meditation that he tore off his eyelids, “casting the offending body parts onto the floor, where they were transformed into the eye-shaped leaves of the tea plant.”
Good Bug Bad Bug: Who’s Who, What They Do, and How to Manage Them Organically
The lowdown on 41 of the most common bugs that we come face-to-face with in our gardens. The information given about each insect is thorough enough to give gardeners the confidence to identify the good guys as well as the bad, and how to deal with all of them organically.
Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees (hardcover)
Nancy Ross Hugo and Robert Llewellyn (Photographer)
So what about the trees that we pass on our neighborhood walk or drive past on our way to work? You know the ones – the maples, oaks, walnuts, and pines. If you grow trees or simply enjoy them, you’ll find the uncommon insights shared about ten common trees in Seeing Trees utterly fascinating.
Abundant Beauty: The Adventurous Travels of Marianne North, Botanical Artist (softcover)
Laura Ponsonby (introduction).
Abundant Beauty describes this British woman’s painting expeditions to Brazil, California, Japan, India, Australia and South Africa. North was an unusually independent Victorian lady. Edward Lear, George Eliot and Charles Darwin were among her friends and admirers.
In Search of Paradise: Great Gardens of the World (hardcover)
Survey of the great gardens of the world, presented through photographic images and the descriptions of the garden designer and writer Penelope Hobhouse. Find the oases of the Middle East, the gardens of Chinese scholars, Japanese sages and Renaissance humanists, French baroque gardens, the English landscape garden of Capability Brown and his followers.
The Visitor’s Guide to American Gardens: Garden Walks, Garden Talks, Garden Events (softcover)
Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp
State-by-state listing of each garden; its attractions, benefits, and features; contact information; and a description of yearly events. It also features the popular regional garden shows and even garden tours available for traveling internationally. One-stop resource for American and Canadian public gardens.
Grow the Good Life: Why a Vegetable Garden Will Make You Happy, Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise (hardcover)
Breezy, cantankerous and funny, a co-founder of the Garden Rant blog. Owens’s warm, enthusiastic, bossy-boots tone will make you want to swipe your credit card in soil.
Taunton’s Complete Guide to Growing Vegetables and Herbs (softcover)
Publishers of Fine Gardening & Kitchen Gardner and Ruth Lively
Good for all levels of gardening experience, but is especially useful for those who wish to start a new vegetable garden space or improve the one they have. It has wonderful tips and an excellent gallery of plants to grow and harvest, but the design portion of the book makes a truly beautiful and productive garden a real possibility.
The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible (10th Anniversary Edition) (softcover)
Edward C. Smith
Good primer section at the beginning, loaded with helpful information. Back half of the book is an alphabetical guide to almost every vegetable you could want to grow.