Garden Gear - Gardening Books

Gardening books for spring

These great garden reads will get you in the mood for spring

herbaciousplants.jpgHerbaceous Perennial Plants: A Treatise on Their Identification, Culture, and Garden Attributes by Allan M. Armitage, Stipes Publishing L.L.C., 1,224 pages, softcover, $105.50.

Encyclopedic in its breadth and written in the same witty, straightforward style that made the first two editions of Armitage's tome so popular, this latest incarnation updates nomenclature and introduces new genera and cultivars.

Now based at the University of Georgia, the author began his career in Montreal, and the text reflects his experience gardening in a wide range of climates. Entries include how best to grow each species and frank appraisals of available cultivars.

gardendesign.jpgNew Garden Design: Inspiring Private Paradises by Zahid Sardar, Gibbs Smith Publishers, 248 pages, hardcover, $54.

Although written and photographed in California, Canadian gardeners could learn a lot from this sleek, innovative book. Focusing on new ways to anchor gardens to the houses they surround and the landscapes they inhabit, every page brims over with ideas for creating visually stunning, environmentally sustainable outdoor spaces. With chapters such as "Living with Cactus" and "Flashy Wonders on a Mountaintop," we'd of course have to use different plants to achieve the same effect, but much of the hardscaping is eminently translatable.

growingtrees.jpgGrowing Trees from Seed: A Practical Guide to Growing Native Trees, Vines and Shrubs by Henry Kock, Paul Aird, John Ambrose and Gerald Waldron, Firefly Books, 280 pages, hardcover, $45.

The late Henry Kock was a horticultural visionary who was interested in how forests work, fascinated by the genetic diversity within a single tree species, and eager to utilize native trees and shrubs effectively in the modern landscape.

Even if you never plant a single seed (although after reading this book you probably will), the information contained in these pages will change the way you think about trees and the environment forever. This book is worth its weight in gold.

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