What better way to daydream through these late winter months than with a good book?
And what better topic to whittle away a sunny, brisk Sunday than a book about gardening? Let's discover some of the most provocative reading material for gardeners to get inspired and mentally transport ourselves into a floral fantasy for the time being.
According to Amazon.com, there are quite a few fantastic selections of 2008 edition literature to keep avid gardeners content this winter. Here are some of the site's suggestions for getting your hands dirty without lifting a finger, as well as some ideas from Lisa Bakke, manager of Borders Books & Music, 700 N.H. I've tossed a few ideas into the book bag as well.
¢ "Foliage" by Nancy J. Ondra
Ondra dives into the wide world of plants beyond their colorful flowers and discovers all the attributes of foliage, like lending structure to a space, line and texture. The chapters are organized by color, shape and texture.
¢ "The Head Gardeners: Heroes of Horticulture," by Toby Musgrave
Musgrave hearkens back to a time when Victorian and Edwardian head gardeners ruled the roost while in charge of their palatial grounds. For the most part, these were silent soldiers who rarely received the acclaim their calloused hands desired.
¢ "Making the Modern Garden," by Christopher Bradley-Hole
Ever feel overwhelmed by design advice and figure it is easier not to garden at all? Bradley-Hole finds a successful balance between design and the logistics of actually gardening.
¢ "Garden Voices, Stories of Women & Their Gardens," by Carolyn Freas Rapp
This is an anthology of 12 women who tell their tales in gardening essays. One woman found relief from breast cancer by healing herself in her garden; another found that her garden leads her to watercolors and the inner artist she never knew.
¢ "Best Garden Plants for Kansas," by Annie Calovich and Laura Peters
This book highlights 464 plants for the Kansas garden with colorful photographs, detailed recommendations and tips for growing each plant, organized into eight groups: annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs, roses, vines, bulbs, herbs and grasses.
¢ "The Invisible Garden," by Dorothy Sucher
Sucher, who is a mystery writer, tries her hand at this garden biography of sorts. It delves into the meditation of the garden, how a garden evokes memories and the amazing healing powers that gardening bestows.
¢ "Second Nature: A Gardener's Education," by Michael Pollan
From the acclaimed author who brought us "Botany of Desire," Pollan organizes this book by seasons. With a wry sense of humor, he writes about Americans and our gardens. It was chosen by the American Horticultural Society as one of the 75 greatest books ever written about gardening.
¢ "The Old Farmer's Almanac"
This perennial favorite best-seller offers gardening advice, folklore, predictions, illustrations and more. With articles about raising pigs, secrets of the zodiac, outdoor planting tables and even the symbolic meanings of herbs and foods, there is a little something for everyone.
¢ "2008 Llewellyn's Moon Sign Book: A Gardening Almanac & Guide to Conscious Living"
Llewellyn wants us to take advantage of the moon's dynamic energy in just about everything we do. The easily referenced guide lets you plan with the natural flow of power from the moon for preferred timing in life and the garden, which will lead to greater success in both areas.
¢ "The $64 Tomato," by William Alexander
This is a hilarious adventure of trials and successes in the garden and how gardening took over one man's life, as he calculates how his Brandywine tomatoes actually cost $64 dollars when it was all said and done. But can you put a price on homegrown food or the life lessons gained from gardening?
¢ "Otherwise Normal People: Inside the Thorny World of Competitive Rose Gardening," by Aurelia C. Scott
A humorous look at various gardeners from all walks of life - from lawyers to truck drivers - who battle for the National Rose Show top title, Queen of the Show. The author follows self-professed "roseaholics" as they plan, prepare and celebrate the cultivation of a singular obsession and the thrill of victory.
¢ "Inside Out: The Art and Craft of Home Landscaping," by Jeff Hutton
This book is brimming with glossy photographs that are bound to delight and inspire readers to rethink walkways, decks, fences, patios, pools, plantings and anything having to do with the garden.
¢ "Helen Dillon's Garden Book," by Helen Dillon
A garden book for every level of expertise, Dillon divides this read into three categories: Beginner's Stuff, The Middle Ground and Fancy Stuff.
¢ "Vertical Gardens," by Anna Lambertini
One of the most fashionable ideas in gardening is supporting the efforts of lessening our impact on the environment; vertical gardening does just that by reducing our heating and cooling bills and using natural materials as a building tool.
¢ "Ancient Herbs," by Marina Heilmeyer
This books dives into 40 common plants and discusses their uses in ancient civilizations through medicinal purposes, ceremonious occasions and plain old myths.
¢ "Norah Lindsay: The Life and Art of a Garden Designer," by Allyson Hayward
Norah Lindsay was an early hero of gardening. In the 1920s and 1930s, she beautified many an upscale residence. As provoking as her gardens were, her social life was equally as intriguing as she rubbed elbows with Winston Churchill, Edith Wharton and Vivien Leigh.
A few of these selections should be able to ward off the winter chill for at least a couple of weeks while we all daydream of pliable earth, garden design ideas, deck expansions and the sun actually shining directly on our faces.
¢ "Tending your Garden: A Year-Round Guide to Garden Maintenance," by Gordon Hayward and Mary Hayward
Peek into this suggested reading and you might find something to keep you busy with outdoor work right now, from cleaning debris to organizing your garage or maybe sharpening those tools. No season is off-season.
¢ "Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul: 101 Stories to Sow Seeds of Love, Hope and Laughter"
With chapter titles such as "The Seasons of Life," "Blossoming Friendships" and "Love in Bloom," this book shares little anecdotes and stories to help us get through the dreary winter.
¢ "Pots in the Garden: Expert Design and Planting," by Ray Rogers
This page-turner will walk you through the nuts and bolts of design principles, pot selection, planting techniques for pots, storing pots and more.