New garden books in time for spring planting… and reading

Like most garden lovers, Cheryl and I enjoy reading books on our favorite subject. However experienced you are, you can always learn something new (or re-learn something you had forgotten) and many of today’s books are a delight to look at with page upon page of lavish photographs.
Here are a few books that recently landed on our desks at the Nursery. They might be treasured additions to your own garden bookshelf.
“The Homeowner’s Complete Tree and Shrub Handbook” Penelope O’Sullivan (Storey Publishing) Trees and shrubs are the heart and soul of the home landscape. You can learn how to use them effectively with this comprehensive handbook, covering all the essentials of woody plant gardening.
In addition to basic design principals and plant selection and care, the handbook features an extensive encyclopedia of more than 350 tree and shrub profiles.
“Garden Bouquets and Beyond” Suzy Bales (Rodale) If you love to see an abundance of flowers growing in your garden but are somewhat hesitant about how to bring their color and fragrance successfully indoors, “Garden Bouquets and Beyond” could be the ideal book for you.
Combining her lifelong experience as a gardener with her skills as a floral designer, Suzy Bales puts together fresh flowers and foliage from her landscape for dozens of enchanting seasonal designs.
The book’s subtitle, “Creating Wreaths, Garlands and More in Every Garden Season” points out that getting creative with your flora is something you can enjoy all year round, for special occasions or just your own pleasure.
This is an all-encompassing guide, from when to cut and how to arrange to using flowers, leaves and vines in all types of decorations and arrangements. Lavishly illustrated with more than 150 photographs, Suzy’s book takes found objects, foliage of all colors and seasonal blooms to put together deceptively simple, beautiful arrangements.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Year-Round Gardening Delilah Smittle and Sheri Ann Richardson (Alpha) Most people in temperate zones think of gardening as a seasonal endeavor, but there is a way to stretch the planting season and harvest fresh produce year-round. The authors of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Year-Round Gardening” take you through every step of both covered outdoor and indoor gardening.
I’m not suggesting you’re an Idiot (honest!) but both a complete novice and a more experienced garden lover will find plenty of tips to keep the goodies coming all year long. Particularly useful are the in- depth sections on the best use of row covers, cloches, cold frames and greenhouses. It’s an easy-to-follow guide with straightforward information presented in bite-sized chunks.
Grow Your Own, Eat Your Own Bob Flowerdew (Kyle) If you’re looking for something a little more lavish than the Idiot’s Guide, look for this new book by Bob Flowerdew (Could there be a better name for a gardener?) one of the world’s most respected authorities on organic gardening.
The first part of the book begins in the garden, showing you how to achieve a more continuous crop as well as how to extend your harvest. But Flowerdew’s book goes beyond the garden and into the kitchen to show the best way to preserve and cook these crops by bottling, drying, jamming, smoking, freezing, juicing, soaking and candying. It includes a ton of luscious photos that will appeal to both the gardener and the home chef.
“Dead Head” Rosemary Harris (Minotaur Books) Subtitled “A Dirty Business Mystery”, this is a novel that has all the elements to appeal to gardeners who also love to curl up with a good mystery. Wise-cracking gardener and amateur detective Paula Holliday is back, following her two previous adventures in “Pushing Up Daisies” and “The Big Dirt Nap” in this quick-witted and fast-paced mystery.
Author Harris is a master gardener and a former television producer, and knows how to cultivate a mystery that appeals to gardeners and non- gardeners alike.
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to snipped-for-privacy@landsteward.org and for resources and additional information, including archived columns, visit www.landsteward.org
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I'd suggest that you check your local libraries for any of the following books that might strike your fancy, and if you want them, do a price check, probably starting with Amazon. At least they don't bug us with commercials.
If you are into "Who-Done-Its" you may find the 9 DVDs of Rosemary and Thyme your cup of tea. Me and the missus enjoyed them. http://www.netflix.com/Search?oq=&v1=Rosemary+and+Thyme&search_submit One series I really love is just plain silly, "Allo, Allo" about a restaurant owner in "occupied" Normandy and 9 seasons of running gags. Even the Germans like it. Think of "Hogan Heros" on steroids. http://www.netflix.com/Search?oq=&v1=Allo%2C+Allo&search_submit

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