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Books for Gardeners

Gardening books are great for reference and inspiration. The best make you want to run out into your garden and make it better.

2011 Gardening Books
A handful of gardening books that I found informative, enjoyable and worth the read. Most are newly published, but a couple are simply new discoveries.

The $64 Tomato, by William Alexander
Who among us has had the courage to calculate how much we spend on our vegetable garden, just to taste a freshly picked homegrown tomato? William Alexander has an offbeat and thoroughly enjoyable way of looking at the foibles of the vegetable gardener and our relentless pursuit of perfection.

100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden - Book Review
Tomatoes are responsible for the initial interest in heirloom vegetables and the book 100 Heirloom Tomatoes is written by an expert who has tried them all. Dr. Carolyn Male used to write the newsletter "Off the Vine" and she's done the herculean task of winnowing down 100 heirloom tomatoes that are great for backyard gardens.

A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants - Book Review
The American Horticulture Society’s A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants is a definitive reference on over 20,000 plants grown around the world. This book deserves a spot in every gardening library, since it can answer almost every growing question a gardener asks about their plants.

Armitage's Garden Perennials
Allan Armitage is one of the best known and respected authorities writing about gardening. For this book, Dr. Armitage gives his opinion of the many perennial plants he has grown, both in his own garden and in his test gardens.

Backyard Giants - The Quest to Grow the Biggest Pumpkin Ever - Book Review
Growing pumpkins is a delight for children of all ages and really brings the joy of the harvest season home. Growing giant pumpkins is for the serious pumpkin enthusiast and Backyard Giants follows the giant pumpkin growing season from seed to weigh-in. Think you have what it takes to grow the largest pumpkin ever? Giant Pumpkins is full of pumpkin growing thrills and wisdom.

Container Garden Book - Container Gardening for Canada - Book Review
Container gardening allows you to experiment with plants and to grow plants in small areas and problem sites. This handbook on container gardening gives tips for making the most of potted plants, combining containers and choosing plants for color and interest.

Did You Know...? Wise Words & Advice for Gardeners - Book Review
Pulled together by the National Capital Area Garden Clubs, the tips and advise in this book are real gems. Novice or experienced gardener, there is something in here for you to learn. And it reads like you're having a good chat, while leaning on your shovel handle.

Garden Rules: The Snappy Synopsis for the Modern Gardener - Book Review
The book "Garden Rules" is a great little garden primer. Full of tips and advice, "Garden Rules" starts off by telling you there are no rules in gardening. From there, the authors clue you in to what you really need to know, to keep your plants alive.

Garden Up! - Book Review
Despite its title, this is not just about trellising plants. Authors Susan Morrison and Rebecca Sweet are both garden designers and they let us in on their tips for creating height and varying levels in the garden, with examples and lots of great photos of ideas for using vertical gardening and accents in the garden.

The Gardener's Palette - Creating Color in the Garden - Book Review
Combining color in the garden is half the fun of gardening. Designing with color is a gardening art form. In Sydney Eddison's The Gardener's Palette seeks to make the skill of combining flower colors within the grasp of every avid gardener.

Gardening Apps for Cell Phones
Gardening apps for iPhones and other devices, recommended by readers.

Gardening for a Lifetime - Book Review
Sydney Eddison makes it very clear that she has, indeed, been gardening for a lifetime and has no desire to stop. Here's my review of her book about being faced with down-sizing her garden and learning to accept imperfection, so she can continue to garden at any age.

Gardening for Dummies - Book Review
If you're a fan of the Dummies series of books, this one won't disappoint. It will teach you to garden from the ground up and leave you feeling relatively confident in what you're doing. It also makes a handy reference for experienced gardeners looking for a quick answer on something like pests or pruning.

Heirloom - Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer, by Tim Stark
Tim Stark was a business consultant living in Brooklyn, NY when he chances upon some discarded lumber. Of course, he takes it home, builds grow lights and plants hundreds of heirloom tomato seedlings. What follows is Stark's bumpy and fascinating path to becoming a famous tomato farmer.

Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants - Book Review
This is part of Brooklyn Botanic Garden's wonderful series of practical gardening books. It focuses on common garden plants that are turning into thugs and offers more well-behaved native alternatives. It's from Brooklyn, NY, but the info applies to all areas.

Starter Vegetable Gardens - Book Review
Barbara Pleasant provides a unique approach in this book, giving you actual plants for vegetables gardens, including the soil, plants and paraphernalia you'll need to get them going. Each plan is broken down over a 3 year period, so you can start small and grow or bite off the whole piece at once.

Tomatoland - How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit
Tomatoland is a fascinating look at the Florida tomato growing industry and just what goes into making sure we have tomatoes in the produce aisle throughout the winter. Estabrook pulls no punches.

Talking Dirt - Book Review
Talking Dirt, by Annie Spiegelman, the Dirt Diva, is a down to earth and fun to read organic gardening book that full of wit and wisdom. Spiegelman, a transplanted New Yorker who learned to garden organically after moving to California, shares her journey to mastering her garden.

Vertical Gardening - Book Review
The sub-title pretty much sums up the focus of this meaty book: "Grow Up, Not Out, More Vegetables and Flowers in Less Space". Author Derek Fell is an avid vertical gardener and the book is filled with examples from his own gardening experience.

The Well-Tended Perennial Garden - Book Review
The Well-Tended Perennial Garden, by Tracy DiSabato-Aust, became an instant gardening classic. Novice and Experienced gardeners will all find themselves referring back to it again and again for its comprehensive coverage of perennial plants, their selection, care and maintenance.

What's Wrong With My Plant? (And How Do I Fix It?) - Book Review
If it sounds like this is the book you've been waiting for, you probably won't be disappointed. This is a great guide for learning to diagnose plant problems and figuring out what to do about them. Lots of color photos don't hurt either.

Book Review: Why Grow That When You Can Grow This? by Andrew Keys
Tired of plants that demand more attention than you can give? Looking for a plant you don't see in everyone else's yard? This book is chock full of great alternatives to fussy plants and ho hum gardens.

Wonders of the Winter Landscape - Book Review
Winter interest in Northern gardens is often left to evergreens. However there are many trees and shrubs that offer fascinating structure, bark and berries, to add a subtle interest through all four seasons. Wonders of the Winter Landscape explores the many choices available as winter garden treats, if you know where to look.

What Garden Book(s) Would You Recommend to Other Gardeners?
Every gardener needs a few good reference books on hand, if only for inspiration. What garden books do you reach for regularly and which would you recommend to other gardeners?

Gardening Magazines - Top Picks
Every month, gardening magazines remind us of why we garden. They're that little bit of encouragement that keeps us going. These are some of my favorites.

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