It’s time to garden! (Or at least read about it until the rain stops)

My gardening life is cyclical…non-existent in the winter, heavy-duty in Spring and Summer and occasional in the Fall.

I am spending all of my free time these days out in the yard, but let’s face it- it’s been pretty damp lately. The reasonable alternative is to check out all of the gorgeous new gardening books from the library. Here’s a quick review of some of the more popular and enticing new ones, along with some really beautiful and excellent older titles. Hope you enjoy them!

All the Garden’s a Stage: Choosing the Best Performing Plants for a Sustainable Garden by Jane C. Gates. In this book you’ll learn how to choose the right plants for growing your best garden. The author encourages you to think of gardening as staging a theatrical production, with tips for lighting, temperature, drainage, and developing a sustainable landscape. The text is entertaining, with easy-to-remember facts and suggestions for putting on the best garden show ever.

Beautiful Edible Garden by Steffani Bittner. I am in line with a hold for this title so all I can report is what our catalog summarizes: “A stylish, beautifully photographed guide to artfully incorporate organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs into an attractive modern garden design.” Sounds perfect as I’m always up for edibles.

The Drunken Botanist: Plants that Create the World’s Great Drinks by Amy Stewart. This book was all the rage at the 2013 Seattle Flower and Garden Show. The author gave a hilarious talk, so I’m sure that her book is just as funny. Why not grow what you drink in addition to what you eat?

Grow Vegetables in Pots edited by Emma Callery. Every rabid gardener is always looking for new soil to till and it’s so much easier to buy a new pot, fill it with soil, and plant away, than to take up sod, isn’t it? This is from DK publishing so it has many gorgeous photos in addition to fantastic container ideas.

The Layered Garden by David L. Culp. Loads of beautiful photographs of the Brandywine Cottage garden illustrate design lessons for you to create a succession of plant combinations which will bloom from earliest spring until latest winter. A dreamy book!

Powerhouse Plants: 510 Top Performers for Multi-Season Beauty by Graham Rice. I love the layout of this book: Clear and simple information on one side with a nice photo on the other side. This book profiles annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, vines and grasses that would all be hard-working additions to your garden. Be sure to have pen and paper in hand as you read so you can create a plant shopping list.

Western Garden Book: The Twenty Minute Gardener: Projects, Plants and Designs for Quick and Easy Gardening edited by Kathleen Norris. This book is as easy to use as it is inspiring, whether you grow plants on a balcony, patio, or huge estate. This is a compilation of articles from Sunset Magazine. I’m a twenty-minute gardener every morning before work as I take our dog out into the yard for slug hunts and other business. With the help of this book, you too can be a twenty-minute gardener.

Why Grow That When You Can Grow This: 255 Extraordinary Alternatives to Everyday Problem Plants by Andrew Keys. Do your Hybrid Tea roses have black spot? Try ‘Knock Out’ or ‘The Fairy’ roses. Are your peonies fussy? Try hellebores. This book offers specific substitutes for troublesome plants. Try it. You’ll like it!

And now for a few awesome, albeit older, book titles which still grace our library shelves:

1000 Garden Ideas by Stafford Cliff is quite the visual sourcebook. It’s like Pinterest in print. If you like pictures, this is the gardening book for you as that’s all it is: Photos. There’s no text (oh, okay, there’s a little if you search for it). This book is definitely for the visual gardener.

Better Homes and Gardens Beds and Borders includes plans for more than ninety plant-by-number gardens you can grow yourself. This book is packed with loads of great ideas.

Container Gardening: 250 Design Ideas &Step-by-Step Techniques from the editors of Fine Gardening is a fantastic book. There are lots of great color photographs along with ideas and step-by-step instructions for creating beautiful container gardens. Love it!

Garden Gallery: The Plants, Art, and Hardscape of Little and Lewis by George Little &David Lewis is a photographic tour of the private Puget Sound garden of internationally famous artists and plants men Little and Lewis. They share their personal wisdom for what informs and inspires their wild fantasia of plants, hardscape, and art.

Shocking Beauty and The Jewel Box Garden by Thomas Hobbs. These books from Vancouver B C’s most extravagant gardener are simply gorgeous. They are good for creative ideas, in particular if you like to make the odd ‘shocking garden statement’ yourself. Just leafing through the artful photography will inspire you to try something a little different. Be forewarned, this book will have you ripping out all yellow &red tulips combinations as clichés just won’t cut it for you anymore.

Hey! I think that the sun’s out. See you in the garden!

Be sure to visit A Reading Life for more reviews and news of all things happening at the Everett Public Library.

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