Friday, April 10, 2015

My Favorite Gardening Books

Happy Friday everyone!!  I've intended to post about gardening books for a few years now, but that plan ended up on the back burner while I wrote about other things.  Now that spring is here again, I'd like to share some of my favorite gardening books with you.

Author:  Toby Bost
Published by:  Cool Springs Press, September 1, 2001

This book is such a handy resource for me because I live in North Carolina, and Toby Bost, the author lives in our area of the state.  He has been a County Extension Agent here in our county for over 25 years, so he has lots of experience with what does, and doesn't, grow well in North Carolina.  He's also served as director of the arboretum in one of our local parks.

The book has a map of North Carolina with all 100 counties, indicating which USDA Hardiness Zone each county is in.  Each plant, flower, shrub, and tree has full-color photographs and information about the plants. There are symbols (shown on the left-hand page above) indicating whether the plant attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, supports bees, has a fragrance, good fall color, etc.  He also suggests good companion plants, and mentions his favorite variety of each plant.  There's so much useful information here.

Title:  Home Landscaping Southeast Region
Authors:  Roger Holmes and Rita Buchanan
Published by Creative Homeowner Press, March 28, 1998

My husband and I used this book about ten years ago when we planned new landscaping for the front of our house.  This book was extremely useful to us.  I was looking at the picture in the book today, and our landscaping turned out somewhat different from the one in the book, but it still looks pretty good.  It was horrible before we landscaped, so what we have now is a big improvement.

This is actually the section of our yard I'm referring to.  One of our cherry laurel bushes has died (you can see the brown leaves in the picture above) and I've noticed the other cherry laurels have some brown foliage too.  I hope they're not all going to die.  The rest of the plantings seem to be doing well. We added the David Austin rose bush between the two windows about four years ago.  Below is the picture we used in the book for our landscaping.

You can see that each plant is lettered in the picture with a corresponding description of the plant below the picture.  The yellow flowers in the book design are Stella d'Oro daylilies; we planted those but they never did anything after the first year or two.  We also chose not to plant the dwarf nandina bush shown right beside the porch because I wasn't sure I would like it.  We only used the landscape plan for the right side of our house, as we have a large tree on the left side.

Each landscape plan also includes a diagram on graph paper (left page) with measurements and the number of each plant you would need for the size area shown.  There are 23 landscape plans in the book.  You also get full-color photographs of every plant, flower, and tree used in the landscapes.

Title:  Reader's Digest Guide to Creative Gardening
Author: Editors of Reader's Digest
Published by:  Reader's Digest, February 1, 1987

This is one of my very favorite gardening books of all time.  I spotted it years ago at an Atticus Bookstore (no longer around) when we were living in Greensboro.  My husband and son gave it to me as a Mother's Day gift that year.

Back cover.

 This book is fairly large and heavy.  It's 384 pages and loaded with information and pictures.  The book was printed in England, which I didn't notice when I first looked at it.  But that's okay; I've realized over the years that we seem to have most of the same plants here that are found over there.

This book is full of useful information, but it's not dry reading like so many reference books out there.  It includes over 1,000 plants and 230 specially created plant groups.  But my very favorite thing is that in addition to over 1,200 photographs, the book has lots of beautiful watercolor illustrations, which to me, are somewhat reminiscent of Beatrix Potter's style of painting.

See what I mean?  And the photographs are equally beautiful.

I can spend hours dreaming over the pages of this book.  This is not only a reference guide for plants but a beautiful coffee table book, as well.

This is the last book for today.  Thank goodness, right?  :-D

Title:  English Country Gardens
Authors:  Ethne Clarke and Clay Perry
Published by:  Phoenix Illustrated, October 1, 2000 

This book I've found to be not so much a resource as just nice to browse through and enjoy the pictures.  :)

All four of the above books are available through Amazon, from third party sellers only.  Do you have a favorite gardening book that you like to pull out in the spring for planting ideas and advice?  I'd love to hear your recommendations.

Thank you for your visit and have a wonderful weekend.



  1. I've seen the Reader's Digest book, that pic with the pink roses is amazing! Lots of fun inspiration Denise:@)

  2. Those last two books look like they'd be a treat to browse through. It would have been wise to consult a book before we planted stuff. Too much fly by the seat of your pants in our yard! LOL!

  3. I love your choices in books, Denise! What great inspiration they have been in your own landscaping.
    I hope you'll have a wonderful weekend!

  4. A terrific collection of gardening books, Denise. Such beautiful pictures too.



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