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Building a gardeners library is a joy. After all, you are buying information about your favorite pastime.

If you cannot convince your local library to own some of the garden books that you would like, keep in mind these few pointers.

Have at least one good reference book in each area of your interest. If you are interested in orchids, buy the best orchid book that you can. Keep your choice regional. Before you purchase a book, look through it or get a good opinion review before making the commitment to purchase.

We will be reviewing some of our favorite books here.

[go to Bookworms Page Two][to directory]

"Roses for Dummies" IDG Books

Roses For DummiesCan't do any better than this. For the backyard or weekend gardener, this is the book. A sort of "everything you've always wanted to know about roses" type of book.

In case you are not familiar with the basis of the "Dummies" series, they are very popular now because they cut to the chase. Listing this for that with only the needed explanations.

The book gets very specific and so will be very helpful.

Have no mind in being called a dummy - we all are in one subject or another. You're no dummy after reading this book.

"Washington's Garden at Mount Vernon" by Mac Griswold

Washington's GardensIf you are a history buff and a gardener, you must not miss this book. It's almost as good as visiting Mount Vernon itself.

This is the domestic side of George Washington, and how well he documented his work.

He was a garden designer in his own right. Having some influences from the times of the century, Washington did his part in sowing, pruning, grafting, transplanting, and propagating for his own use.

There are great archival materials left to document George Washington's creations. And only slim accounts that Martha was responsible for much more than the kitchen garden and the medicine chest.

The photography is excellent.

A wonderful gift for anyone interested in historical gardening.

"The 3,000 Mile Garden" by Leslie Land and Roger Phillips

3000 Mile GardenTwo garden writers having met at a mushroom convention in New Hampshire start exchanging letters with each other. Each has a separate itinerary in life and separate interests in gardening. 

Mr. Phillips is a British nature photographer and Ms. Land is a food and home editor for the Yankee magazine. She also grows heritage vegetable plants.

But through the lost art of letter writing, they discover each other's world.

She lives in upstate New York and her temporary borrowed acreage is in Maine. He lives with his family in London and cares for a local city park on the side with a garden committee.

In their letters he wrote about his famous Eccleston Square three-acre private park and she wrote of endearing cottage gardens and rural animal problems.

It's nice to peek into their lives. Learning a bit about why they would have any interest in each other at all.

Very enjoyable reading.

"The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady" by Edith Holden

Country Diary of Eduardian LadyIf you like dreamy garden books to ease your achy garden muscles, dream away with this early 1900's diary.

The author was born in Worcester, England. She had attended art school and often illustrated animals for other publications. For one year she wrote and illustrated in her private diary. She wrote of her favorite poems, and personal thoughts.

Her handwriting was beautifully reproduced in this book.

For seventy years this personal diary was on the shelf, undiscovered until published in 1977.

Just sharing the beauty through someone else's eyes is refreshing.

This is a book you can enjoy countless times over.

"Mulch" by Anne Ripley

MulchInterested in murder mysteries? And gardening? You guessed it. They just mulched someone.

Find out who and why and where. A little bit of "I spy" intrigue and there you have it - a gardening mystery.

Louise Eldridge didn't go looking for trouble in her own new backyard, but she bagged it home by mistake. Something many a gardener has done, only she did it with the police on her doorstep forever after.

Read and enjoy.

"Gardening Without Work" by Ruth Stout

Gardening Without WorkWant to have a garden and not do all the work? This just might be the book for you.

In her time Ruth Stout may have been the number on gardener of America.

Certainly she saw a niche everyone would listen to.

In a little over 200 pages she can tell you how not to garden with any effort what so ever. Enough so, that you'll have time to read her other books.

Secrets like hay mulching, co-planting, and recycling kitchen scraps sound dull but with side kick humor she may win you over.

No work? Lazy? How bad can it look? You be the judge. She is very convincing.

This book may be difficult to find. You might have to look around but it is worth the effort. Try her other titles, "How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back", "Company Coming",  and "It's a Woman's World".

"American Garden Design" A Horticulture Book, Edited by Diane Kostial McGuire

American Garden DesignIf you love biographies and those who made a marked difference in the American garden design, this book will make interesting reading.

This is one of the first books that trace the influence of garden design across the country.

Some of these essays are more than 150 years old. They still remain important towards today's thoughts. The essays were originally published from the early 1800s to the present.

Learn that in the normal color value wheel, pink can be used to describe light shades of cherry, coral, rose, shrimp, salmon, peach, apricot, shell, or flesh. You'll discover the true world of color design.

Lester Hawkins, Marian Cruger Coffin, and Elsa Rehmann will be people you wish you could have met.

This is all for a little more than the rainy day.

"The American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation" by Alan Toogood, Editor in Chief

Plant PropagationThis is one of the best books you can own about plant propagation. If this organization doesn't know - then no one knows.

Over 1,500 plants are discussed. All methods of propagation are discussed with excellent and color photographs. Included are propagation methods from the past to present.

All the plant material is covered: trees, shrubs, climbing plants, perennials, annuals, and biennials, cacti and succulents, bulbous plants, and vegetables.

Cut to the chase - learn to multiply your plants in an easy fashion.

"The Craft and Art of Bamboo" by Carol Stangler

Craft and Art of BambooCarol Stangler, an environmental artist, is serious about her art and equally serious about her art with bamboo. She has developed the skills to work in a medium not easily accomplished. Nevertheless, in her book she shares with us 30 projects you, too, can do.

With easy to follow instructions, striking photography, and cultural understanding you will not be disappointed in any of the designated projects whether it be a trellis, screen, or gates for the garden.

I was fortunate to attend and take part in a day workshop and come away with an elegant vase. "All in a day's work" where we sawed, cut, trimmed, and learned the use of the Asian tools that Carol uses in bambooing.

One will appreciate Ms. Stangler's blending of Eastern and Western styles in her projects. She makes it all fun and interesting, too.

If you never make one project from this book you will appreciate the format and why and wherefore of Bamboo Crafting.

"Tough Plants for Southern Gardens" by Felder Rushing

Tough PlantsJust when you think you have read every southeastern "plants for tough places" directed book, along comes author Felder Rushing with his knowledge and humor to guide you once again.

I just love this book! Of course, there are very few gardening books that I don't enjoy. Leaning new tidbits here and there. However, I learned much more from this book. Maybe it is the entertainment factor.

Here Mr. Rushing defines southern and southeast gardening for us. Then, each of his chapters is written with great inside stories: unbeatable bulbs, porch plants, steadfast shrubs, vines with vigor, perennials that prevail.

Mr. Rushing is nostalgic for his grandmother's garden and he shares wonderous memories. His mother has been his toughest critic, stating "I used to have lots of tough plants 'til my boy mowed them all down. Luckily, most of them came back."

There is not a better reference book and enjoyable read around.

It is hot for 2003. Be the first to say, "Felder Rushing says..."

Enjoying his glossary of definitions is definitely a thigh slapping experience. It will explain what southern gardening is all about.

One can not help but agree with his eight reasons why people don't garden and the one reason why we all should enjoy gardening even a teeny bit.

If you are not familiar with Mr. Rushing's past books they are equally well done.

"Diary of a Mad Gardener" by David Hobson

Diary of a Mad GardenerAnd you thought you were a mad gardener? Nothing compares to the life of Dibble. This Canadian gardener shares with us an entire year of gardening experiences. Is any day normal in the life of Dibble? NO!

There aren't many thigh slapping books about gardening but the "Diary of a Mad Gardener" is one of them.

The town knows Dibble, the postman knows Dibble, and every plant in Dibble's garden knows him. 

His neighbor Shirley and thoughtful members of his family get involved and may or may not appreciate his endeavors.

One can not help but truly understand his frustrations along the way to becoming the lovable gardener that he is.

Read this book day by day or all at once you won't be able to put it down.

"Safe Sex in the Garden" by Thomas Leo Ogren

Safe Sex in the GardenWith a title "Sex in the Garden" it has gotta be interesting. But we are talking about a very serious subject in this book.

Is it possible to have an allergy-free world?

Well, probably not, but there are tons of things we can do as gardeners to help those who are suffering in with a respiratory illness.

With millions of people afflicted by the rise in allergies, Mr. Ogren, as a horticulturist, knows the enemy is pollen. He discusses why 38% of our American population are now suffering, compared to 5% forty years ago. Basically the problem has been created by unknowing city planners. Our landscapes are gardens which contain the cause the problem.

Alternative solutions are explained in very simple terms - how to eliminate the increase of allergy sufferers. 

This book also enlightens us about houseplants and indoor air quality, organic gardening, and native plants. Subjects included are smog trees and super trees, eliminating molds, and even protecting our pets against allergies.

The USDA has recognized Mr. Ogren's OPALSTM system (Ogren Plant Allergy Scale). It is now used by the US Department of Agriculture.

What we learn is that what we plant in the garden does make a difference. You will learn how to determine a plant's sex, and most importantly how to identify the most effective pollen producers.

With great bonus lists of plants that cause skin rashes, and a comprehensive list of poisonous plants, you will be well versed to prevent future problems.

"Compost,By Gosh!" by Michelle Eva Portman

Compost By GoshThis is certainly the best early elementary introduction to red worm composting (known as vermicomposting). As a popular subject for a children's story book it is different from your typical cute "butterfly and insect" nature book.

Ms. Portman has illustrated and written a great adventure for one little girl. The pictures are very identifiable for little ones.

This wonderful book proves it is never too soon to introduce composting at an easy level.

For something new and different away from fairytales and into worms try this publication the next time you want to enlighten a new small gardener.

"The Expectant Gardener" by Simone Martel

Expectant Gardener"The Expectant Gardener" is an easy read for all gardeners who like the beginning of gardens and the early struggles to learn along the way.

Even the most experienced will learn from Simone Martel as she becomes the expert transplanter in her own backyard.

Simone makes us all appreciate the trials and tribulations of her first garden and how it evolves through the year, in fact through a decade until the birth of her son, Leo.

As an organic gardener, Simone will convert all of us to try and be the same. She became a passionate weeder of all weeds. Her frustration with the water gardens was very trying as were moments of her pregnancy.

Many of us can identify with the growth that took place in her garden along with her nine months of pregnancy.

Enjoy the progressive backyard gardening book set in Berkeley, California.

"Weedless Gardening" by Lee Reich

Weedless GardeningIn seven chapters you will learn how gardening can become easier for all of us.

This book offers page after page of good, common sense combined with scientific data. It has a lot of basic procedures and techniques that may not be familiar to everyone.

Mr. Reich also verses us in his compost methods, planting and maintaining a garden of vegetables, and a bonus section of vegetable selection.

Also offered are resources which complete the picture and give us direction of where to go from here.

This book will add extra free hours to your gardening experience. Weedless and carefree gardening is definitely a reachable goal.

"Four Wings and a Prayer" By Sue Halpern

Four Wings and a PrayerIt is not surprising that Sue Halpern would take an assignment to travel the flight of the monarch butterflies.

The well-known writer accompanies a free lance biologist Bill Calvert to the highlands of Michoacan, Mexico. Here Ms. Halpern assists Mr. Calvert with the travels and studies in the mystery of the monarch migration.

The passion for the monarch butterfly originates from the author's raising a monarch with her daughter in the Adirondacks of upstate New York.

If you ever questioned anything abut the monarch butterfly read and enjoy this book in answering the vast complexities of the butterfly world.