With holidays fast approaching and a gardener (or would-be gardener) on your gift list, consider a book. Beware. You may be tempted to buy one for yourself. Edible Gardening is an exceptionally good reference source that fulfills its promise to be all about gardening any size, anywhere. A wide variety of vegetables can be grown in limited space as well as in traditional large gardens. Author William Moss offers advice on selection for the gardener's growing conditions, along with growing from seeds as well as plants, pest control, harvesting and even the joys of eating homegrown produce. William Moss takes you from community garden etiquette, container and vertical growing, window boxes, wall and hanging baskets, and much more. Recommended by this reviewer who discovered the joys of homegrown tomatoes in a garden that is confined to pot size and a mini-garden now measured in inches rather than feet. Well worth the money!
ISBN: 978-1-59186-508-7 Cool Springs Press William Moss $21.99 200 pgs.
THE MIDWESTERN NATIVE GARDEN
Congratulations are due for Little Club of Wilmette's member Charlotte Adelman and husband Bernard
L. Schwartz on their latest book, The Midwestern Native Garden. This 272 page book is beautifully
illustrated and an excellent reference for gardeners interested in native alternatives to replace
nonnative flowers and plants. Our NGC Fall issue of The National Gardener review pointed out that
"Midwestern gardeners who aim to create native landscapes that provide important habitat to birds and
other wildlife have a valuable new resource."
Ohio University Swallow Press, Paperback "6 x 9" ISBN 978-0-8214-1937-3.
SQUAREFOOT GARDENING ANSWER BOOK
Author Mel Bartholomew has been writing gardening books for 30 years. This one (new for 2013) is all about small, intensively planted little garden spaces. This reviewer can't imagine that there are questions gardeners with small space may pose that the answers aren't found in this valuable book.
ISBN 978-1-59186-541-4 Cool Springs Press. Paperback. Available in book stores, Amazon.
THE HEIRLOOM LIFE GARDENER
Jere & Emilee Gettle, co-founders of The Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company have authored an exceptionally interesting well written book with beautiful photographs and a wealth of practical information. This is more than a paean to heirloom seeds. Information is provided on collecting seeds, how to successfully grow them, when and where to plant, and using homegrown produce in the kitchen. Our great great grandparents early on discovered that seeds collected from their own gardens were more likely to thrive despite the vagaries of challenging weather andpoor soil conditions. As seeds were traded and transported worldwide they were domesticated and voila our plates offered all manner of new taste experiences. Anyone interested in something other than genetically modified food will applaud the wisdom offered by the Getties in its 228 pages. Available at www.Hyperion Books $29.98. Also offered as an Hyperion e-book.
Are you someone not much interested in insects, except those that manage to dessimate your garden? Pick up Amy Stewart's book, Wicked Bugs. You won't want to put it down. In her own words, she "set out to tell a deliciously frightening story." Painful, destructive, deadly are a few terms she used to describe insects from African Bat Bug to Zombies. This reviewer was captivated by Stewart's wealth of information and lively prose. Charming etchings and drawings of insects by Briony Morrow-Cribbs roamed the pages. Resources, bibliography and index were complete and helpful. Even if you are not ready to join The American Arachnological Society, BugGuide.net is an online source for insect enthusiasts, or a visit to Chicago's Field Museum insect and butterfly collection is worth your while. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. $18.95. Hardbound, exquisite book, and American Horticultural Society Book Award winner. Buy one for yourself. Consider giving a copy to a friend intrigued by inhabitants of this sometimes sinister natural world.
Late summer is an excellent time to look around your landscape with a critical eye. Are the annuals languishing? Do you have any fall blooming perennials or shrubs? What steps can you take to make certain that next year your landscape will have three season appeal? Visiting public gardens such as the Chicago Botanic Garden and Morton Arboretum will inspire you. Take notes, photograph special combinations that flower brightly at this time of year. Stop by a local nursery and see what they may have to offer in the way of late-bloomers. “Fall Scaping” is an outstanding resource with a wealth of information. There are many practical ideas such as pruning perennials for rebloom and shopping for sales, along with specific information about plants that thrive in cooler weather.
Authors: Nancy J. Ondra and Stephanie Cohen. Storey, $22.95.
A reader will surely be tempted to create one of the garden mosaics described in this book. Mosaic is an age-old and beautiful art form. “Garden Mosaics” provides specific directions to guide you through 19 projects . Although emphasis is placed primarily on outdoor objects, there is no reason why anyone shouldn’t start a smaller one as a basement indoor craft for wintry days. Directions are very easily understood with specific information on tools and materials. Learn to create a mosaic flower pot for example, house number, or table top. Emma Biggs and Tessa Hunkin. St. Martin’s Press $22.95.
THE BIRDER'S COMPANION
Almost any question, however obscure, you or that inquisitive child may have about birds is answered in this book. It is not a bird guide, but rather a fact specific, and excellent reference source. Released in 2006, but well worth adding to your book shelf. Why don’t females sing? How long do birds live? How high do birds fly? How many birds have become extinct in recent times? 208 pages, including index, with answers to these and hundreds of other fascinating questions. This would be an excellent gift for an aspiring ornithologist, young or old. “The Birder’s Companion” Firefly, Stephen Moss, author. ISBN-13:978-1-55407-212-5 $16.95.
A must read if you’re interested in
making “Every Drop Count.” Although written by a British
gardener there are some excellent tips on developing
a water-saving garden here in the US. His directory
of low-water plants is comprehensive and useful and
the section devoted to a “cloche” for growing earlier
crops was particularly interesting. With many of us
facing up to the need to deal with hot summers and water
restrictions, it is a book whose time has come. Trade
Paperback $14.95, ISBN 089-1-86108-484-2 Graham Clarke.
Guild of Master Craftsman, Sterling distributors.
WITH SUN-LOVING PLANTS
This book reminds the reader that sun-loving
plants can be a gardener’s friend when days are long
and the sun is HOT! And even more so when drought threatens
and there’s little rain in sight. The author suggests
providing some shade even for sun-loving plants and
provides ways to do just that. Plenty of specifics on
plant, tree and shrub selection. Author Graham Clarke
has written an easy to understand and helpful book for
those of us who truly enjoy those brilliant annuals
and perennials that thrive in the sun, but whose water
needs must still be met. $14.95 Trade paperback. ISBN
978-1-86108-474-. Guild of Master Craftsman, Sterling