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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Leaf Magazine Giveaway. Don’t Wait!

leaf is one of the magazines I  mentioned in my Gifts Gardeners Dig post. You really should check out their inaugural issue … filled with wonderful photos, interesting ideas and informative articles. Liking leaf on Facebook opens the chance to enter the daily giveaway drawing they are running.

Don’t wait. The contest only runs four more days, including today, December 6, 2011. It’s really, really easy to enter. Just like Leaf’s daily giveaway post and share it on your wall.

I rarely enter contests but I found this one intriguing. It paid off. I’m the winner of the Day 6 drawing.

Leaf Magazine

Day 6 Leaf Magazine Giveaway –
Our Day 5 Winner is Joene Hendry!
Don’t miss out today! Anyone who has a small space or loves container gardens will want this prize – a frost proof Italian terra cotta planter from Seibert and Rice and a 2012 The Garden Conservancy + 6 tickets to visit gardens.

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Now I get to enjoy the anticipation of receiving a frost-proof terra cotta Seibert and Rice planter – very useful in my zone 6a region – and Garden Conservancy tickets.

What a great surprize!

Head to leaf on Facebook and you, too, could win one of the remaining daily giveaways.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Joene Hendry

Reluctant Membership: A Gardening Oops

I’m a reluctant joiner… a characteristic that prevents me from jumping onto some fly-by-night bandwagon. But my hesitancy to join groups – I have many excuses: too chummy, too cliquey, no time – kept me from sending membership dues to a valuable organization. This is my December 2011 GOOPs, my Gardening Oops, when I confess/share a  mistake, an oversight, or a general faux pas I’ve made in my gardening life. There are many. This link to previous GOOPs posts proves it.

I share my GOOPs to prevent you from walking in my mis-steps or … to offer some camaraderie if you’ve already muddied your gardening shoes on the same path. Then I offer you a chance to share a GOOPs you’ve made, if you are willing and comfortable enough in your gardening skin to confess a blunder.

First, my GOOPs.

What’s the valuable organization that took me too long to join? The Connecticut Horticultural Society (CHS). After being a member for just a few months I wonder why I waited to join.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The mission of the Connecticut Horticultural Society is education. CHS’s goal is to encourage enjoyment, appreciation and understanding of plants and the art and science of growing and living with plants and their/our environment. They do so through newsletters, presentations and programs during regular meetings (open to the public for a small donation), and separate educational events, garden tours and an annual symposium.

At the first regular meeting I attended, Margaret Roach (learn more about Margaret through her wonderful blog, A Way to Garden) humorously and thoughtfully discussed and shared photos of her 365-day garden. If you get a chance to see Margaret speak, don’t pass it up. I even purchased her book, and I shall have some peace there,  at the meeting. Love the book and super enjoyed listening to Margaret describe her gardening life. There are many days, Margaret, I would love to walk in your boots.

Subsequent and future speaker presentations include shade gardening (Judith and Dick Tyler who created a wonderful garden on their wooded Virginia land), soil science (Thomas Rathier), sustainable lawns (Tom Christopher), planting natives (Larry Weaner), water gardening (Tim Jennings), sustainable solutions for garden pests (Nancy DuBrule-Clemente) and autumn plants (Stephanie Cohen).

But meetings may also include unexpected presentations. For instance, November meeting attendees learned tactics to save storm damaged trees from immediate demise and when storm damage is tree-fatal … a timely subject following the massive, state-wide tree and shrub damage caused by tropical storm Irene and the snow of the October Nor’easter.

The program meetings alone make membership worthwhile. But, in my best cheesy TV infomercial imitation, ‘wait, there’s more!’ CHS sponsors garden-related trips, holds a plant auction, displays at the Connecticut Flower & Garden Show, P9040313 Thumbsponsors scholarships and maintains a lending library.

It only took attending a couple of meetings for CHS to turn my reluctance into enthusiasm. I’m already signed up for the CHS-sponsored movie night showing of A Chemical Reaction (December 6 at the Portland Library, pre-registration through CHS) and I look forward to seeing the line-up of gardening gurus at CHS’s spring symposium (Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery, Kerry Ann Mendez of Perennially Yours, and horticultural educator and landscape designer Nan Sinton).

Why did I wait? This is my GOOPs.

No chiding needed, I’ve done ample self-scolding.

Are you, too, a reluctant joiner? Tell your tale in a comment below, or share a link to your GOOPs post – on this topic or any other – on your blog. Just be sure to leave a teaser in a comment below so we know how to find your GOOPs.

Garden thoughtfully and may my GOOPs not be yours.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Joene Hendry