Multi-season interest. For some reason, it seems like that phrase has become passe over the past few years. But it’s crazy to design a garden without incorporating plants that offer more than one season of interest, especially if you’re designing a small … Continue reading
I’m so excited to review Lawn Gone!, a new book by Pam Penick. For those who don’t know Pam, she is the author of the fabulously popular gardening blog, Digging. And until recently, Pam was also a member of the Garden Designers Roundtable. For as long as … Continue reading
Garden Therapy Handmade Gifts ebook by author Stephanie Rose is a collection of simple yet sophisticated garden-inspired gifts for every holiday. Rose is the author and creator of the popular and sublimely creative blog, Garden Therapy. The book, divided into … Continue reading
**For the chance to win your FREE copy, simply leave a comment below** “Let’s face it: the garden is a popularity contest.” So begins Why Grow That When You Can Grow This?: 255 Extraordinary Alternatives to Everyday Problem Plants, a new … Continue reading
I recently saw Ken Druse speak at SALT’s Gardening in a Changing Environment conference. In addition to showing some heartbreaking photos of his own gardens in Brooklyn and New Jersey and the havoc that last year’s two powerful storms wreaked … Continue reading
I thought I’d pass along this opportunity to get a FREE Kindle version of How to Choose the Right Plants by Rachel Mathews.
But hurry — this free offer only lasts until September 5th.
Rachel is a garden designer based in England who also has a popular website, Successful Garden Design, where she offers online garden design courses and all sorts of tips, techniques and inspiration for creating your garden.
An Expert’s Advice
Rachel’s easy conversational tone makes reading the book feel more like talking to an experienced friend over the garden fence. Much of her advice is simple and intuitive, and allows you to analyze plants in the nursery and make better decision before you buy. And since it’s really about how to look at plants and make decisions about their cultural requirements based on their leaves or flowers, it works no matter which hardiness zone you garden in.
With chapters about the number 1 (and 2) reasons why plants die, how to tell if your plant needs sun or shade, soil types, choosing plants based on their latin names and creating good plant combinations, there is something here for every gardener.
This book is a must-have for new gardeners who will pick up countless tips to help them save money while creating their garden and avoid some of the inevitable heartbreak that comes with learning how to garden.
And even if you consider yourself an experienced green thumb, How to Choose the Right Plants, will undoubtedly reinforce a few tricks you may have forgotten.
Organic Gardening (Not Just) in the Northeast: A Hands-on Month-by-Month Guide by Henry Homeyer is one of those no-frills, no-photos-just-a-few-illustrations, chock-full-of-useful-info books that you’ll refer to again and again.
Homeyer, aka The Gardening Guy, an organic gardener for four decades as well as a syndicated garden writer and radio personality, knows his stuff when it comes to organic gardening – regardless of where you garden.
Organic Gardening (Not Just) in the Northeast begins in March and continues throughout the year, offering sage advice on topics as varied as starting seeds to sharpening tools to growing rice. This book offers an eclectic mix of gardening advice from a man who has spent his life in the garden.
Written in a conversational, relaxed tone, it is full of helpful basics for newbies as well as gems of wisdom for more seasoned gardeners. I found myself scribbling down notes about additional books to look for, specific plants to try and tricks for making some everyday plants grow even better (I especially liked the tip about adding some sheet rock to the bottom of a hole when planting roses).
Least you think this is simply another how-to guide, I should mention that also included are more esoteric musings on topics such as getting your garden ready for a party and your garden as a source of comfort.
At times the book can read a bit like an infomercial for Homeyer’s favorite products. But that can be forgiven when you realize how much good, sound gardening advice he is sharing that would take years and years to glean on your own.
If you’re in to organic gardening, even if you don’t live in the Northeast, this book has a lot to offer.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the express purpose of reviewing it.
I read a lot of books on gardening. Between books I receive from publishers for review and books I borrow from a local library for research on specific gardens I am designing, most of them fall into the same general category – relaying information to the gardener that, when it comes right down to it, is meant to read and regurgitated.
You have a specific problem in your garden…well, here’s my solution. To be honest, there’s not a whole lot of thinking involved on the reader’s part.
I find that many gardening books are written to share information but not to truly educate the reader/gardener. Decoding Gardening Advice: The Science Behind the 100 Most Common Recommendations by Jeff Gillman and Meleah Maynard is different.
Growing a Gardener
Decoding Gardening Advice is for the thinking gardener, someone who not only wants a beautiful garden but also wants to grow as a gardener. It’s a book for any gardener who wants to understand why specific advice they’ve heard time and again from well-meaning experts, friends and garden gurus, may or may not actually work.
Don’t let the words ‘science behind’ in the title scare you away, this is an easy-to-read but well-researched book that will help you become a better gardener. Gillman and Maynard give humorous, science-based advice that will save you time and money and help you sort out the often contradictory advice we gardeners give and receive.
Good, Debatable & Wrong
Chapters on topics ranging from soil to water to mulch to all kinds of plants, pests and lawn care are divided into three distinct sections: Good Advice, Advice That’s Debatable and Advice That’s Just Wrong.
Each common recommendation is reviewed, the authors then look at what happens if you follow the advice and then tell you either how to do it in your garden (good advice) or how to do it better (debatable and bad advice).
Decoding Gardening Advice is one of those books that you’ll refer to again and again. Because it’s filled with practical, and usable advice, you’ll find yourself checking out the facts behind recommendations you’re bound to hear over the garden fence, at your next garden club meeting, or even advice you read on your favorite blog.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Timber Press, for the express purpose of reviewing it.
I’m a huge advocate of gardening in an eco-friendly and sustainable manner. Over the past few years, more and more research has shown how powerful our gardens can be.
The days of simply viewing our gardens as pretty accessories that adorn our homes are waning. Instead, smart gardeners want a green garden — one that supports local wildlife, is a haven for birds, butterflies and bees and is beautiful.
Yes, you can have it all. But, where do you begin?
The First Step
If you live in New England, I’d suggest buying The Green Garden by Ellen Sousa. The official title of Ellen’s book tells the reader exactly what’s inside…The Green Garden: A New England Guide to Planning, Planting and Maintaining the Eco-Friendly Habitat Garden.
As book titles go, that’s a mouthful, but this book truly delivers on that promise.
Sousa’s open, accessible writing style makes the book seem more like reading a letter from a trusted friend, rather than just a book from some distant author.
She walks readers through the ins & outs of what’s actually happening in your garden, from the importance of healthy soil, to the crucial role insects play to the importance of proper plant selection.
It can be difficult for homeowners who are new to gardening all together, or even those gardeners who are making the transition to habitat gardening, to know where to start. The Green Garden is a one-stop resource that you’ll turn to again and again.
With chapters on designing your habitat garden, choosing plants for your garden, managing and maintaining your habitat garden and even dealing with unwanted wildlife, Sousa covers all the basics and more.
A Few of my Favorite Things
One of my favorite things about The Green Garden is all the lists Sousa provides. There are lists of plants that grow in clay soil (page 103); plants for urban New England gardens (page 104); plants for coastal gardens with moist soils (page 127) and even a list of plants for a moon garden (page 88).
I also like that Sousa includes a chapter on invasive plants in New England, complete with photos of the top culprits. The photos, along with brief descriptions of how the invasive plants negatively impact your garden makes it easy for readers to locate and remove these plants from their gardens.
There is also a comprehensive listing of ‘The Best Plants for New England Gardens’ with a colorful, easy-to-read key about how and where to use each plant. While I typically like to see a book include an image of every plant in a listing such as this, I’ll let The Green Garden slide.
At 224-pages, the book is substantial already. Adding a photo of all the plants listed would make the book too large and cumbersome. And frankly, I think it’s much more important for readers to see color photos of the invasive plants since they are rarely offered in books.
The Green Garden definitely deserves a place on your bookshelf. It’s an invaluable resource for those who are just starting to create a habitat garden, as well as those of us who need a quick refresher every once in a while.
Note: I was given a copy of The Green Garden by the publisher, Bunker Hill Publishing, for the express purpose of reviewing it. And, Ellen Sousa and I both write for the Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens blog. From the first time I read one of Ellen’s blog posts, I felt like I’d stumbled upon a kindred spirit. Ellen is farther along her path as a habitat gardener than I am, so I often look to her for knowledge and inspiration. Having said that, I would not have written a review of The Green Garden if I didn’t want my readers to know about the book. Instead of having to tell Ellen and her publisher that I decided not to review her book, I was thrilled to be able to tell Ellen, ‘Oh my goodness, I just LOVE your book!”.
“Anarchy in the garden is a harmless form of indulgence. As you go about your liberated way, trusting your instincts, your inner artist will begin to express itself…”
Bebop Garden is the first book by Ricki Grady, frustrated musician, gifted graphic designer, passionate gardener and author of the blog, sprig to twig. Bebop chronicles Ricki’s passion for gardening and all the pleasures she has found simply digging in the dirt.
Unlike many gardening how-to books that advocate the ‘one-true-way’ to grow a garden, Ricki takes a more pragmatic view of gardening and offers neighborly advice on what works for her in her own garden. Her revelations are based on over a decade of trial and error, following her instincts and creating the rhythmic compositions she’s always dreamed of – only this time with her plants.
Through her open, honest writing style, we get to know Ricki and her family, as well was her garden. While the book doesn’t contain any photos of her garden, curious readers can get their fill by visiting Ricki’s blog.
Chapters touch on an array of topics, from botanical names to garden art to maintenance, and even finding time to enjoy your garden. So who should read this book?
Bebop Garden makes a great gift for any gardener who needs a confidence boost, especially newbie gardeners. After reading it, you’ll understand there is more than one right way to garden. With Bebop Garden, Grady becomes a trusted mentor who’s willing to share her knowledge and experiences to help cultivate your passion for gardening, too.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the express purpose of reviewing it.