April 14, 2016

New Favorite Gardening Books

by Toni Leland

Spring never comes soon enough for those of us who are dying to get into the garden! What's the next best thing to browsing through the plants at the garden center? Planning what we'll buy when we get there. 
In celebration of National Garden Month, I'm sharing some recent gardening books I love. You'll find hundreds of books available about every aspect of gardening, and a good resource library is invaluable to us gardeners. And by the way, the National Garden Month website has tons of great information that will get you energized.
Drought is a serious concern for many parts of the country and, last month, I read and reviewed two excellent books on conserving our most precious resource.

Gardening with Less Water: Low-Tech, Low-Cost Techniques
David A. Bainbridge, author

This book got me really excited to start utilizing some of the ideas in my own garden. While I have less concern about drought here in New England, I hate wasting water by any means. But I also want my gardens to thrive. Bainbridge discusses some of the oldest techniques in the world, why they work, how they work, and how to adapt the ideas to your own garden. Buried clay pots and porous capsules are easy and very effective. Other methods take more time and effort, but the end result is amazing.
After describing the types of water conservation and distribution, the author gives many water-wise tips about rainwater harvesting nd landscaping for water catchment. This book is a real keeper! 
More about this book.

The Water Saving Garden: How to Grow a Gorgeous Garden with a Lot Less Water
Pam Penick, author

For anyone in the southwest or other drought-stricken regions, this book by Pam Penik is a keeper. The author carefully addresses and assesses water use for those gardeners who want the beauty of nature, but who don't have the luxury of unlimited amounts of water. "All it takes is a willingness to garden in tune with local conditions," says Penick.

The photographs are lush and vibrant and Penick uses lots of them! Photos make the difference in understanding what she's telling us to do. Some of the suggestions involve major reconstruction and some money, but the end results are amazing. The author covers everything from conserving and using every drop of water available to planting species that don't require much water to creating the illusion of water. The book concludes with a fine list of over one hundred plants for water-saving gardens. More about this book.

More natural resources we must protect

Pollinators are crucial to our lives. Without pollinators, we would have no food. Without food, well...

The Bee-Friendly Garden
Kate Frey & Gretchen LeBuhn, authors

Not only does this book provide detailed information about attracting, nurturing, and keeping bees in your garden, it explains the various types of bees, why they are important, and how they are at risk.

As an avid gardener, I love arranging my gardens to provide habitat and nutrition for the pollinators who visit. I learned a great deal from this well-written book; one of the surprises to me was that not all flowers are attractive to bees, and some of our favorites are completely inaccessible!

Along with important information to help the bee-lover are resources galore: regional plant lists are invaluable when choosing what to plant in your garden; three pages list bee-friendly nurseries and garden centers, arranged by region; a list of recommended books and online sources finishes the resource section. More about this book.

Happy Planning! 

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