– Posted in: Book reviews

This time of the year ushers in the beginning of my reading season. The daylight is less to be outside in, the chores are (supposedly) winding down, and the gardening books at the library are all checked in. ‘Regular’ gardeners are turning their attention to other topics so I find books I didn’t know the library had.
In paging through my last load from the library I find I netted a nice herb growing book, a nice herb using one, a well illustrated garden design book, a lush & inviting vegetable garden book, and a good all-around fruit production book which is boring from a design standpoint. While I am a voracious reader and demand lots of detailed information for a book to be worthwhile, I also want books to be beautiful. This may not mean photos; I swoon over elegant lino cuts and botanical illustrations, sweet type faces and decorative details. There is a similarity to gardening here; all trees and no flowers make for a dull scene, all flowers and no trees cause indigestion, but the right combination makes one want to stay, peering into corners and around bends.
I nowdays include internet sites and plant chat lists in my reading. I have subscribed to many societies and chat lists over the past few years. There are the usual human bents, soap boxes and such, which I generally overlook for the range of enthusiasm and information provided, but my last holdout, a list usually dry as dust and invaluable in its wealth of detail, has slipped into prideful recounts of garden possessions and approved topics vetted by superior folks. Evidently the hoi polloi were boring. I find I feel dejected, like a country-mouse churchgoer booted from going to the potluck as my clothes ‘Just aren’t nice enough for the newcomers, you understand, dear’. But ah, there is the library, and book catalogs abound.

About the Author

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4b/5aLocation: rural; just south of British Columbia/Idaho borderGeographic type: foot of Black & Clifty Mountains (foothills of Rockies–the Wet Columbia Mountains in BC climate- speak)Soil type:acid sand (glacial lake bed)/coniferous forestExperience level: intermediate/professionalParticular interests: fragrant & edible plants, hardy bulbs, cottage gardening, alpines, peonies, penstemons & other blue flowers, primulas, antique & species roses & iris; nocturnal flowers Also: owner of Paradise Gardens Rare Plant Nursery

What differentiates a bulb from a perennial plant is that the nourishment for the flower is stored within the bulb itself.…There is something miraculous about the way that a little grenade of dried up tissue can explode into a complete flower.

~Monty Don in The Complete Gardener pp. 142

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