When the weather gets hot, stay cool indoors and check out these garden books.
“Plants for American Landscapes” by Neil G. Odenwald et al was published by Louisiana State University Press. This belongs in every plant lover’s library. It features over a thousand of the most reliable plants, including ones for warmer areas of the country. With lush color photos, the plants are arranged alphabetically by Latin name. For each one, the authors provide a description, details on its hardiness, cultural needs and care, and mature size. When applicable, they discuss various cultivars. There is a separate index for the common names.
“Readers Digest Flower Gardening" by Julie Bawden-Davis makes it possible for anyone to create pleasing garden designs, choose appropriate plants for specific situations, and maintain the garden. For each project, there is a planting plan, photos of the plants, and a color photo of the design at its peak of beauty. The author also gives details on the construction and planting process. In addition, readers can learn how to care for the plants, and how to propagate them. The color-coded, extensive plant encyclopedia gives comprehensive information for each one.
“P. Allen Smith’s Container Gardens” from Clarkson Potter is by far the best all-around guide to container gardening. The 60 container garden plans will bring wow to your yard. Organized by season, each comes with a list of plants, instructions, and tips on plant care. One chapter is devoted to the basics on container gardening with a very helpful section on choosing containers. The alphabetical listing of plants features a brief description for each and its cultural needs.
“Suzy Bales’ Down-to-Earth Gardener” from Rodale is both useful and inspiring. Sharing what she has learned over several decades, this award-winning author reveals the serendipity that results when we let nature take its course. With this approach, Bales has created a low maintenance, organic landscape where plants are allowed to self sow. She takes readers behind the scenes for an in-depth look at all her many formal and informal gardens. This is illustrated with over 150 color photos.