Variegated dogwood flowerLearning should be a life-long endeavor. And books are one way to store knowledge so that it is available when you need it. So as part of the resources section, I would like to share some books I think are helpful or otherwise interesting.

Find these books at your local library system or Amazon.com.

 

 

4 Must-have Books for Novice Gardeners

The Ann Lovejoy Handbook of Northwest Gardening : Natural : Sustainable : Organic
Lovejoy, Ann. Sasquatch Books 2003.
— A really wonderful resource of good gardening practices for the Pacific Northwest. Many short plant lists for a variety of situations.

Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web
Lowenfels, Jeff, Lewis, Wayne. Timber Press 2010.
— Truly eye-opening information that will change the way you think about your garden. I consider this book a MUST READ.

Cass Turnbull’s Guide to Pruning
Turnbull, Cass. Sasquatch Books 2005.
— Great book with explicit instructions. The best thing about this book is it separates plants into growth-habit categories and explains the subtly different pruning methods each prefers. Such important information; so clearly explained. This is my MOST recommended book.

The New Sunset Western Garden Book
The editors of Sunset Magazine. Sunset Publishing Corp 2012.
— Good encyclopedia of western plants with lists and other information. My only knock is that it utilizes it’s own zone scale which is not yet widely used in the nursery trade. So you also absolutely MUST refer to the USDA Hardiness Zone map when choosing plants as well. There is an app for iPhone & iPad. Yay!

General Garden Practices / Landscape Design

The Ann Lovejoy Handbook of Northwest Gardening : Natural : Sustainable : Organic
Lovejoy, Ann. Sasquatch Books 2003.
— A really wonderful resource of good gardening practices for the Pacific Northwest. Many short plant lists for a variety of situations.

Designer Plant Combinations
Calhoun, Scott. Quadrille Publishing 2008.
— Suggestions to plant pairings you’ve probably never considered before—even designers can learn a thing or two!

Foliage: Dramatic and Subtle Leaves for the Garden
Joyce, David. Quadrille Publishing 2001.
— Nice reference for ways to add color and texture to the garden.

Gardening in the Pacific Northwest
Hall, Carol W. & Norman E. Timber Press 2008.
Good general regional reference.

Landscape Planning: Practical Techniques for the Home Gardener
Adam, Judith. Firefly Books 2008.
— Great overall resource with WONDERFUL lists of all sorts.

The Passion for Gardening
Druse, Ken. Clarkson Potter 2003.

Plant-driven Design: Creating Gardens that Honor Plants, Place and Spirit
Ogden, Scott & Lauren Springer Ogden. Timber Press 2008.
— Wonderful insights into creating gardens that work well with Mother Nature, the site and the region. Lots of interesting plant lists.

Step By Step Landscaping: Planning, Planting, Building
Better Homes and Gardens. Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, IA 2007.
— Great design ideas for patios and style as well as construction instruction & tips.

Tending Your Garden: A Year-round Guide to Garden Maintenance
Hayward, Gordon & Mary. WW Norton & Company 2007.
— Good general garden maintenance reference; only knock is many garden observations come from Vermont, a much snowier climate than we have here.

Understanding Perennials: A New Look at an Old Favorite
Cullina, William. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2009.
— Everything you ever wanted to know (and MUCH more) about perennials, botany, pests, culture, propagation, etc.

Composting / Soil / Organic & Sustainable Gardening

Composting: A Practical Step-by-step Guide
Penguin Global 2006.

Let It Rot!: The Gardener’s Guide to Composting
Campbell, Stu. Storey Publishing 1998.

Organic Lawn Care Manual: A Natural, Low-Maintenance System for a Beautiful, Safe Lawn
Tukey, Paul. Storey Publishing 2007.
— The definitive book on creating and maintaining an organic lawn.

Secrets to Great Soil
Stell, Elizabeth P. Storey Publishing 1998.

Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web
Lowenfels, Jeff, Lewis, Wayne. Timber Press 2010.
— Truly eye-opening information that will change the way you think about your garden. I consider this book a MUST READ.

The Self-sustaining Garden: The guide to Matrix Planting
Thompson, Peter. Timber Press 2007.
— Very interesting primer to more natural and self-sustaining gardening.

The Truth About Organic Gardening: Benefits, Drawbacks and the Bottom Line
Gillman, Jeff. Timber Press 2008.

Food Gardening

Creative Vegetable Gardening
Larkcom, Joy. Mitchell Beasley, 1997.
If you want a truly BEAUTIFUL veggie garden, this is the book for you. There are some reasons why incorporating edibles (crops) in an ornamental landscape doesn’t always work, but this book shows how an edible garden doesn’t have to look dull, drab, or boring.

The Kitchen Gardener
Titchmarsh, Alan. BBC Books 2008.
— Great resource teaching about veggies/fruits and their cultivation needs, but it’s British, and some items use British plant names, which are NOT the same as the American name for the same plant. Some climate information may not match our PNW climate. And I take issue with some of the technical information—most glaringly, the illustration of how deep to plant a woody plant on p. 38. But overall, a good resource for experienced gardeners wanting to learn more about edibles. Beautifully photographed.

Edible Wild Plants
Elias, Thomas S. & Peter A. Kykeman. Sterling Publishing 1982.
— Drought-resistant planting through the year.

Trees & Shrubs / Pruning / Maintenance

Complete Guide to Trees & Shrubs
Ortho. Ortho 2004.
— Perhaps not as complete as I’d like, but pretty satisfactory for novices.

Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs: An Illustrated Encyclopedia
Dirr, Michael A. Timber Press 1997.
— An accepted standard. Everyone should have this book.

Month-by-Month: Gardening in Washington & Oregon
Robson, Mary & Pfeiffer, Christina. Cool Springs Press 2005.
— This book shows the basic pruning methods and why one would choose one over another according to the situation. For each plant in the book it is explained which of the basic methods should be employed and when. If a particular plant requires some special pruning that special technique is detailed on that plant record. This is one of the best woody plant pruning guides I’ve seen.

The Illustrated Practical Encyclopedia of Pruning, Training & Topiary
Bird, Richard. Lorenz Books 2006.
— Very good techniques and examples of fruit trees of all sorts.

Pruning & Training (American Horticulture Society) — Revised & Updated!
Brickell, Christopher & Joyce, David. DK Publishing 2011.
— The previous edition of this was good, but this one is REALLY good. It doesn’t list EVERY plant, but lots. And if the plant is not to be pruned in one of the standard methods, it shows the technique specific to that plant. Lots of other good info. IMHO… this is a MUST HAVE book!

The Pruning of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers
Brown, George E. Timber Press 1995.
— One of the most comprehensive, detailed, and useful book on pruning, though beginners may find it intimidating.

Cass Turnbull’s Guide to Pruning
Turnbull, Cass. Sasquatch Books 2005.
— Great book with explicit instructions. The best thing about this book is it separates plants into growth-habit categories and explains the subtly different pruning methods each prefers. Such important information; so clearly explained. This is my MOST recommended book.

Specialty Gardening Topics

Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden
Chatto, Beth. Francis Lincoln Limited 2000.
— Drought-resistant planting through the year.

Gardening with Hardy Heathers
Small, David & Ella May T. Wulff. Timber Press 2008.
— Good general regional reference.

Hillside Landscaping
White, Hazel. Sunset Books 2007.

The Informed Gardener
Chalker-Scott, Linda. University of Washington Press 2008.
— This is Chalker-Scott’s first book dispelling many gardening myths; as with most other things the science of horticulture is ever-evolving—read and learn—this is good, current science stuff.

Landscaping with Ornamanetal Grasses
Sunset Books Publishing 2002.
— Ornamental grasses do so much good for a garden; learn how to use them here.

Moss Gardening: Including Lichens, Liverworts & Other Miniatures
Shenk, George. Timber Press 1997.
— Everything about moss—growing, propagating, etc—great beginners reference.

Planthropology:The Myths, Mysteries, and Miracles of My Garden Favorites
Druse, Ken. Clarkson Potter 2008.
— I saw this recommended on another gardener’s site, and it sounds wonderful. I love the stories behind things!

Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls
Dunnett, Nigel & Noel Kingsbury. Timber Press 2004.

Right Rose Right Place
Schneider, Peter. Storey Publishing 2004.
— A great book for (especially) novices. As well as listings of roses, explanation of the various types of roses, their culture, problems, pruning, etc.

Arts & Crafts

Pebble Mosaics
Schneebeli-Morrell, Deborah & Gloria Nicol. Firefly Books 2002.
— Lots of very creative things you can do with pebbles… instructions for several projects.

— Non-gardening Topics —

These are topics of interest to me because they deal with food, nutrition, agriculture, ecology, the environment, and/or society.

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Diamond, Jared. Flashpoint Press 2004.
— Interesting insights into how societies succeed or fail.

The End of Food
Roberts, Paul. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2008.
̛— By the author of the excellent The End of Oil, this book will scare you about where our food comes from.

Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are Keys to Sustainability
Owen, David. Flashpoint Press 2009.
— This book dares to suggest that Portland, OR and Boulder, CO are NOT the greenest cities in the US.

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
Pollan, Michael. Penguin Press 2008.
— Learn about the connection between the industrialization of our food supply and the degradation of the environment.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Pollan, Michael. Penguin Press 2006.
— You’ll never think about or eat the same after reading this book!

Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change
Cattan, William R. University of Illinois Press 2001.
— This is an older book, but the principle is being more and more discussed in these contemporary times.

The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Food You Were Designed to Eat
Cordain, Loren. Wiley 2001.
— As the subtitle says… it’s about eating the foods we humans were designed to eat.

The Vegetarian Myth
Keith, Lierre. Flashpoint Press 2009.
— This book is about the effects of the vegetarian lifestyle on humans,agriculture, the ecosystem… and so much more. Very interesting read!

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