Looking for a gift for that gardener who seems to have everything they need for their garden? Most diggers in the dirt enjoy reading about other gardeners and their trials and tribulations. In addition, serious gardeners sometimes need reference books to find the latest information on the plant with which they’re experimenting. Here are a few of my favorite gardening books:
BEDSIDE GARDEN BOOKS
“Passalong Plants“, Steve Bender and Felder Rushing, The University of North Carolina Press.
Accurate descriptions and amusing stories about the ubiquitous landscape plants you’ll find in every Southern garden.
“Legends in the Garden” by Linda Copeland and Allan Armitage, (Wings Publishers, $24.95) Who in the world was Nellie Stevens, for whom ‘Nellie Stevens’ holly was named? This book details the history behind forty-six common garden plants that are named for real folks – including several from Georgia!
“Sex in Your Garden” by Angela Overy (yup – that’s her name!) (Fulcrum Publishing, $19.95)
A fascinating primer on how plants use advertising to propagate themselves. Guaranteed to start conversations at cocktail parties!
“People With Dirty Hands: The Passion for Gardening” by Robin Chotzinoff (John Wiley & Sons, $22.00) I found this book delightful! Robin interviews ordinary people to find out why they garden. From “my meditation”, to “gives food” to “finding the hottest pepper in the world!” this book illuminates why we like to be with plants.
“One Man’s Garden” by Henry Mitchell (Mariners Books, $14.00) Witty, cantankerous and right-on-the-mark observations about what it really means to garden. An inspiration for gardeners of all skill levels.
“Gardening Through Your Golden Years” by Jim Wilson (Cool Springs Press, $19.99) If your back gets creaky like mine after a day outdoors, Wilson has tips to help. He suggests bringing a hoe along when you kneel to weed: “So you can climb up it by hand and stand straight again!”
IF YOU WANT SUCCESS, READ THESE
“Tough Plants for Southern Gardeners” by Felder Rushing (Cool Springs Press, $24.99) Rushing is an eighth generation Mississippi gardener who knows all of gardening’s trials and tribulations. His plant choices almost guarantee success in any Southern garden.
“Bullet Proof Flowers for the South“, Jim Wilson, Taylor Publishing
If your flower beds are an embarrassment in August, this is the book for you. Great descriptions of heat-, drought- and neglect-tolerant plants for our region.
“The Southern Living Garden Book“, Steve Bender, Oxmoor House
A fabulous listing of how to grow more than 5000 Southern plants. Good lists of plants for problem places.
Garden Bulbs for the South, Scott Ogden, Taylor Publishing.
If your bulbs don’t grow like the catalog promised, this is the book to consult. It focuses on the bulbs that perform best in our difficult climate.
REFERENCE BOOKS FOR THE ETERNALLY CURIOUS
“Manual of Woody Landscape Plants“, Dr. Michael Dirr. Stipes Publishing.
Descriptions, cultural details and occasional pithy comments from the dean of woody plants at the University of Georgia.
“Herbaceous Perennial Plants“, Dr. Allan Armitage, Varsity Press.
Great descriptions and color pictures of most perennials that are grown in our state and across the country.
“The Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses: How to Grow and Use Over 250 Beautiful and Versatile Plants“, John Greenlee, Rodale Press.
For folks who know there’s more to grass than a Bermuda lawn. Dozens of common and uncommon ornamental grasses plus good cultural hints.
“Ferns for American Gardens“, John Mickel, Macmillan Publishing.
Shady landscapes demand shade tolerant plants! Easy to read descriptions of ferns plus color photographs.
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