blogging friend Dee Nash is the perfect book for a beginning gardener. Designed for a novice with little time to garden, the book covers a multitude of topics from starting seeds indoors to composting to building garden paths.
Dee recommends starting small with container gardens then shows how to build and use raised beds, and finally how to design a larger garden. Although she focuses primarily on edible plants early in the book, she also includes later sections on ornamentals, especially ones that delight the senses and attract pollinators, and even how to add some artistic touches to the garden.
Here is what I especially like about this book:
- Concise but thorough explanations of a variety of topics--all you really need to get started gardening!
- When I pick up a gardening book, I don't want to read a novel. Besides full-color photos on nearly every page, colorful graphics with lots of headings make it easy to quickly find what you want to read about. You could learn about the difference--and advantages/disadvantages--of hybrids vs. heirloom plants while brewing your morning cup of coffee, for example.
- Dee's encouraging tone: "No one is born with a brown thumb, or a green one for that matter. Gardening is a skill learned by trial and error." She remembers what it was like to be a busy professional raising small children and focuses on what a young gardener can do in a short amount of time.
|That's Dee exploring the garden at Floramagoria in Portland, Oregon, this summer.|
Author Evelyn Hadden explains that curbside plantings are more than just a way of increasing your garden space--though there's nothing wrong with that--or showing off your gardening skills. They are important, too, to everyone who views them, even as they drive by. "Natural scenes, even minutely glimpsed in passing, distract us from worry and interrupt negative psychological cycles."
The book includes everything you need to get started from soil preparation to choosing the most suitable plants to dealing with the challenges unique to these areas like foot traffic, animals, homeowners' association rules, and piles of snow left by snowplows (a big concern here in the Midwest). Every chapter is filled with colorful photos to inspire you and give you ideas to copy in your own planting.
|I had the opportunity of meeting Evelyn in person at the Portland Fling |
while touring Timber Press. I wish I had had my copy of her book with me for her to sign then!
Wildflower Farm in Canada, explains in the introduction how her love affair with wildflowers began and later goes on to explain their importance. "Wildflowers are without exaggeration, the unsung heroes of the planet; they are a powerful force that truly sustains a complex web of interdependent creatures."
This is a beautifully illustrated book that you could enjoy just thumbing through for the visual delight of the photos alone. (Can you tell that pictures in a gardening book are important to me?) But the information in the book will draw you in as well: everything from "making babies"--starting wildflowers from seeds and how to transplant them in the garden--to designing with wildflowers, including how to create arrangements and bouquets for a wildflower wedding.
|One of my favorite natives, the purple coneflower, is not only pretty and easy to care for,|
but is sure to attract all sorts of pollinators.
The book describes 60 of Goldberger's favorite wildflowers and native grasses, organized by bloom time, especially helpful for planning a garden through the seasons for pollinators. One chapter is also devoted to her favorite non-native "must-haves." I was happy to see one of my personal favorites in this list--zinnias, which always attract the butterflies in my garden late in the summer.
Each plant is described with the usual info about height, light requirement, bloom time, etc. But here is the exciting part--besides a colorful photo of each native in bloom, there is a photo of the seedling of this plant. Do you know how long I have searched for something like this?? I know that I have often dug up wildflowers I planted the year before, just because I mistakenly thought they were weeds. Taming Wildflowers isn't going to just sit on my nightstand--it is going out to the garden with me this spring!
If I had gotten my act together in time, I would have posted this for the December meeting, because any one of these books would make a great Christmas gift for the gardener on your list. However, it's not too early to start thinking of next Christmas--or, even better, treat yourself with one or all of these helpful books!
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Disclaimer: As usual, I have received no compensation of any kind for these reviews. And even though I met two of the authors, I was not coerced, nudged, or even hinted to in any way about reviewing their books. If they weren't all great gardening books, I wouldn't be reviewing them!