Books for Gardeners–Holiday 2011

It’s easy to become overwhelmed trying to decide on just the right book for the gardener or plant lover on your gift list. There are so many wonderful gardening-related books from which to choose, so here’s a few suggestions.

Gardeners or homeowners looking to re-do an existing garden or add a new one might appreciate having the winter months to read The Perennial Gardener’s Design Primer. Co-authors Stephanie Cohen and Nancy J. Ondra delve into the ins and outs of gardening with perennials in all types of conditions – soggy, shady, sunny, dry, small, and large. These two life-long gardeners and plant aficionados share their wisdom, which they have a ton of, and offer suggestions for gardens in various color themes and for creating year-round interest. They give step-by-step instructions for creating a new border, expanding an existing garden, and reworking old gardens. This is one of those books an active gardener will reach for whenever germinating ideas for new plantings. Published by Storey Publishing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA An aging gardener who finds it more and more difficult to keep up with gardening tasks will surely enjoy Gardening for a Lifetime: How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older.  Sydney Eddison, one of Connecticut’s garden-world treasures, shares her experiences transforming some of her extensive perennial beds to easier-care shrub borders as she realizes she just cannot maintain her gardens as she did while younger. But she doesn’t just share her own wisdom, she draws from experiences of other local gardeners who downsized. Published by Timber Press.

Speaking of aging, grandparent gardeners are sure to find fun outdoor and gardening-related activities for grandchildren in Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars. Author Sharon Lovejoy describes hundreds of ways to entice a child’s interest in the outdoors. I know I will reach for this book many times for ideas to encourage my granddaughter’s curiosity of nature. She already loves eating sun-warmed cherry tomatoes she picked from the vine. Lovejoy offers a lot of ideas for cross-generational outdoor activities. Published by Workman Publishing, available through Storey Publishing.

Another go-to reference book is What’s Wrong With My Plant? (And How Do I Fix It?). David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth take readers  through plant symptoms, what causes them and how to remedy them, and organic methods to deal with plant problems. The book goes into basic botany then illustrates the meaning and potential culprit of different types of leaf munches and which flower or leaf spots equate to specific diseases. It even has photos of common plant problems. This book is sure to make at least one trip outside to help diagnose a gardening problem each season. Published by Timber Press as is the authors’ newer book, What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden? which I have yet to read but expect is a similarly great resource.

Timber Press also has available what they refer to Michael A. Dirr’s ‘most comprehensive visual training yet.’ It’s Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs.  This is not on my bookshelf but I wouldn’t mind adding it to my copies of  Dirr’s Hardy Trees & Shrubs and Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants … both fantastic reference books for serious gardeners.

A book I’m in the midst of reading and enjoying is Energy-Wise Landscape Design. Author Sue Reed is a landscape architect who provides practical planting and landscape ideas to beautify outdoor spaces while reducing energy costs. Want to reduce or eliminate a lawn, plant trees to block the summer sun or winter’s winds, or manage rainwater? This book has answers. Published by New Society Publishers.

When it comes to book suggestions I could go on and on. If these ideas don’t meet your gift needs then visit the publisher’s websites … that’s where I’m headed to add to my reading wish list.

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4 comments for “Books for Gardeners–Holiday 2011

  1. December 12, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Joene, It looks liks you’ve come up with a great list of books. I have not read Sue Reed’s book yet, but it is on my winter reading list. I somehow missed Stephanie & Nan’s perennial’s book but it sounds like another geat resource. I’ll have to add it to my list as well.

    • joenesgarden
      December 12, 2011 at 8:55 am

      Debbie, I’ll watch for your comments on Energy-Wise Landscape Design and Teh Perennial Gardener’s Design Primer. I think you’ll like both.

  2. December 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    The Stephanie Cohen / Nan Ondra book sounds great, I may have to get that. I did get Sydney Eddison’s book since I am in that category of aging gardener, but I thought it was thin, most of the advice was to hire more help and plant shrubs. I was expecting something a little deeper about aging and changing. Still, she is a charming fixture in the gardening world.

    You’ve put together a great list of books!

    (. . . . MUST get Dirr’s new encyclopedia. . . )

    • joenesgarden
      December 13, 2011 at 9:20 am

      Thanks, Laurrie. I think you will enjoy the Perennial Gardener’s Design Primer and I’m with you on Dirr’s new book. I think weekend gardeners and those not as finatical as us will enjoy Eddison’s book. It is not a primer, but more a tale of one gardener’s life changes.

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