I have the Is-winter-ever-going-to-be-over-blues! Its another grey dismal day here and not even a bright bouquet of flowers is lifting me out of my late winter doldrums. Getting creative usually lifts my spirits, but with the prospect of at least four more weeks of snow and ice, it is hard to get fired up about gardening.
I have decided it is time to dig out the heavy artillery to defeat my late winter blues- books. Favorite garden books always serve to inspire me and make me impatient for those first warm days of spring.
Off the top, I have to confess that I have always been a terrible one for "reading" garden books. I am sorry, but there is something so dry as toast about so many garden books! They can be as unexciting as car repair manuals or instructional books on how to install software on your computer.
I am also mildly embarrassed to admit that there is nothing overly sophisticated in my selection of favorite books. I tend to go right for the one with the best, most inspirational pictures! Alternatively, I tend to like gardening books that are warm and personal. Garden memoirs fill this bill nicely. Finally, I like reference books that you can get in and get out quickly.
Here are some of my personal favorites from each of these three categories.
First up: Great "Picture" Books:
I own two books by Thomas Hobbs, The Jewel Box Garden and Shocking Beauty. Both books have stunning photography that will have you thinking about texture and color in a whole new way.
The Jewel Box Garden by Thomas Hobbs
As someone who was raised on the notion that perennial flowers were the most important ingredient in creating a beautiful garden, this book on conifers by Adrain Bloom was a revelation. Just look at one of the book's picture spreads below. This garden has lovely color, texture and variety of form, without a standard garden flower in sight.
Gardening with Conifers by Adrian Bloom
Another book that changed my ideas about gardening is Grasses by Nancy J. Ondra. After looking through its beautiful pages, I can not imagine my garden without a selection of different grasses.
If you are thinking of adding a front garden to your property, this is the book for you. There are lots of different types of houses and garden styles in the pages of this book. And it is not the sort of book you necessarily need read cover to cover- simply find a garden style you like and read about it. Easy!
As for garden memoirs, I have a great one for you- The $64 Tomato by William Alexander. This book is laugh out loud funny. You don't even have to take my word on it- The $64 Tomato is also on a list of books recommended by Gardeningbren in a recent post.
Finally, a few reference books that you can get in and out of quickly:
The Harrowsmith Perennial Garden is a old book, but I still dig it out as a quick reference. In my opinion, Patrick Lima is one of the best garden writers in Canada. Lima has been gardening on the Bruce Peninsula for decades and so I know when he recommends a certain perennial, I can trust that years of experience have informed his opinion.
The Art of Perennial Gardening is a newer book that I would also recommend.
A final quick reference great is this book subdivided into sections on favorite perennials, favorite roses and favorite trees and shrubs. In its pages, you can read short articles from Canadian Gardening Magazine on selected plants, trees and shrubs and come away with a basic primer on each subject.
Favorite Plants edited by Liz Primeau
From Canadian Gardening Magazine
This the fourth and final of my Stylish Blogger Award posts (I have done a post for each of the women who honoured me with a Stylish Blogger Award). This one goes out to Kelly of Fresh From the Backyard. Kelly is new to gardening and so I thought that she too might need a little inspiration during these final days of winter.