Monday, January 20, 2014

Gardening Books: My Collection

I've been gardening now, oh gee - near 16-17 years. In all these years, I've acquired and purchased several gardening books. I'm happy to say that I loan out several each year to folks, encouraging them to better their gardening skills. But sadly, some have never been returned (I lost track on whom borrowed what). Alas, there are some I won't part with and some I find are more coffee table, picturesque versions of what I had hoped would be better reading material. Many have been given away to Sally Anne, but those mentioned here are keepers.

The breakdown: I have several types of gardening books, dealing with design, pests/disease, weeds, plant ID and those that I call, inspiring books.

a.)Michael Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, is by far the equivalent of the Bible in the woody or herbaceous plant world.

b.) Plant Health Care section. Anything to do with the health of plants. Pests, disease and treatments. Very zonal and regionally specific. IMPORTANT: when acquiring info on pests and disease, getting books on UK problems isn't the best for say those of us living in Ontario. OMAFRA has yearly publications. I have two in my collection. Great resource.

c.) Plant choices, practical advice and basics of gardening. Really great reads in winter, when all you want to do is get your fingers dirty again. Good refresher books.

Here is a sneak peak of what it's like inside Dirr's Manual:

Alphabetically and botanically listed plants, with morphology, insect/disease info; basically everything about the plant. Comes in a herbaceous version too. A true investment. I've had this book for ages, and it will never part from me, aside from perhaps new additions.

d.) Landscaping books. DIY books that help you step by step achieve desired goals. Deck design, fence design, landscape design. This section has many more are out on loan. 

e.) All season guides. These are great for when you are just learning as you go. Helps prep you for next steps.

 f.) Pruning books. Essential books. Practical guides, photos and specific info on how to prune correctly.

g.) Specific growing info for specific plants. Wonderful for hints and tricks to the trade.

h.) Fun, eye candy. When you are in need of inspiration.

i.) Help guides. Specific needs. Gardening trends or tough to garden areas. These are some of my favs!

j.) Yearly grower catalogues. New introductions and quick, easy access to size, shape and conditions necessary for plants to grow. I keep these with me at all times, leaving them in my back pack or in my truck at work. Available online too, but if you can snag these, they become invaluable.

h.) Grower guides. Heritage Perennials puts out this guide and renews it every couple of years. I buy 2-3 copies, since it usually gets torn to bits and lent out the most.

l.) My mini garden book. Gift from a great friend. Love this little guy. Kids love to look at this one.

m.) Book series, this is Taylor's Pocket Guide broken down by specifics. Pocket guides for working daily.

n.) Specific species info. Colourful photos and bit size info. Great for travel and for botanical walks.

o.) Finally, this LONE PINE series. LOVE, Love, love THIS SERIES! The great thing about Lone Pine, is they customize their books to region specific info. Here, great info pertaining to Ontario and Canada is available. These are not fluff books. Generally these are the ones I grab at home when I have a dilemma, need to remember or learn something.

16 years and counting. Can't wait to see new books on gardening trends and to learn heaps more.

What gardening books do you love?



  1. Heidi I have the Complete Guide to Gardening too which is my go-to for looking things up. Totally worn and falling apart! The rest of mine are mostly the coffee-table kind for inspiration and the pictures always look better than my actual garden :) Thanks for sharing your library.

    1. Thanks, Andrea! If you wanna borrow any, just message me! Next post I'll do my top 5 garden blogs/magazines. ;)


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