Our mission is to share the wonders of the natural world by publishing books from experts in the fields of gardening, horticulture, and natural history. Grow with us.

063_kb100808_042-550-WEBA Girl’s Best Friend

This elegant piece is the Marilyn Monroe of the terrarium world—fluffy, soft, curvy, and spiked with sass—a definite show-stopper and larger-than-life experience. Layers of ermine-white sand, nubbly pebble, smooth river rock, jewel-like sea urchin, raw fluorite rock, and downy clumps of moss are topped with a superstar succulent to create a sparkly, almost edible vision of sensual abundance.

Read on to learn how to make this elegant terrarium.

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Air Plants

These pineapple relatives are known as air plants because they do not root into soil. Even though they look similar, there are many kinds, with different floral and foliar shapes and colors, and sometimes, even slightly different requirements. Learning the proper names of any air plant you add to your terrarium will help you care for it so that it doesn’t just survive but actually thrives. In general, however, air plants are adaptable and basic care instructions will keep them healthy.

The best air plants for terrariums are tillandsias. They can be placed just about anywhere indoors for a month or so without harm. But to keep a tillandsia healthy over the long term, you need to provide fresh air, bright natural light, and humidity or moisture. An ideal situation for a tillandsia is to be suspended so it receives maximum bright yet indirect sunlight, air circulation, humidity (such as in a bathroom or sometimes steamy kitchen), and fertilization. Some species, particularly those with a silvery cast to the foliage, can tolerate direct sun and some drought, as long as they are positioned in a humid area or properly soaked from time to time.

To water: submerge tillandsias every 1 to 2 weeks for an hour or up to 8 hours or so (overnight). Misting is helpful in very dry conditions but cannot make up for regular soaking. Some tillandsias are especially sensitive to hard water, chemicals, or pollution in water. Distilled, bottled, or rainwater is sometimes recommended when misting or soaking.

Fertilize by misting recently soaked plants with a dilute solution of high nitrogen fertilizer such as 30-10-10. Choose a fertilizer with a non-urea–based nitrogen, as urea cannot be absorbed by air plants (urea-free formulas are often available through orchid retailers). You can also add fertilizer directly to the soaking water.

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“Simple growing tips and chic design know-how in an easy-to-follow, lovely-to-read format. Creating your own terrarium will definitely be next on your crafty to-do list.”—Dwell

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Terrarium Craft
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“Simple growing tips and chic design know-how in an easy-to-follow, lovely-to-read format. Creating your own terrarium will definitely be next on your crafty to-do list.”Dwell

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In many respects, garden plants constitute what an investment adviser would describe as “fungible assets”—that is, they are interchangeable, at least in the sense that if you can grow one successfully, you can apply those same techniques to others. You can, for example, use the skills you perfected in growing tomatoes to grow other annuals such as petunias (which are, in fact, close relatives of tomatoes). But when you move on to more dissimilar plants, you do have to make adjustments. Cultivating orchids with exactly the same techniques you perfected with cacti will result in disappointment.

That may seem obvious, but many gardeners who have developed their skills on annuals and food crops don’t bother to inform themselves about the special needs of perennials before they begin to invest in them, and the results can be painful. What follows is a rundown of special points that gardeners new to perennials—or even those with more experience—should keep in mind when embarking on perennial gardening.

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“I wish I had this when I planted my rose garden twenty-five years ago. I am now about to plant another garden, full of wonderful rose varieties and I intend to follow Peter’s advice wholeheartedly.”Martha Stewart

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A currant bush studded with ripe berries is a striking sight in a garden. Most ornamental gardeners focus on what fl owers can bring to a scene, forgetting too often that berries also contribute color and beauty. Image: Flickr/S. Biofile

A currant bush studded with ripe berries is a striking sight in a garden. Most ornamental gardeners focus on what flowers can bring to a scene, forgetting too often that berries also contribute color and beauty. Image: Flickr/S. Biofile

Why aren’t berry plants used more frequently in the landscape?

It is hard to imagine an entity with more aesthetic appeal than a berry, each with its own vibrant color, sensual shape, often inviting smoothness, and fruity fragrance. The fact that this perfect package of utility and form is borne on plants which themselves offer such variety of shape, form, and color only adds to its allure.

Why, then, aren’t berry plants used more frequently in the landscape? There are two answers to the question. One is that many gardeners are simply not familiar with berry-producing plants. The second is that, in addition to their fabulous possibilities, certain berry plants have signature pitfalls. Rather than seeing these as immutable shortcomings, though, we can develop more realistic expectations about how the plants will perform by better understanding their limitations.

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Note: Guides to the Midwest & Southern California coming December 2015!

Gardeners are not all the same. But gardening advice often is. What works for one gardener may not work for another, especially if they live in different parts of the country.

The Timber Press Guides to Vegetable Gardening solve that with advice from regional experts. These gardeners know what works, where. And they want to save you from frustration.

Read on to find which one is right for you.

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Our authors share the love at the Northwest’s largest garden trade show.

18 Timber Press authors are presenting at this year’s Northwest Flower & Garden Show! The seminar schedule is packed with them and each will sign books after their presentation. Check out all of the amazing speakers and buy your tickets now.

Keep reading for a full list of Timber Press author presentations.

See you at the show!

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A little imagination can bring an edible garden to even the most unlikely nooks and spaces. Image: Derek St. Romaine

A little imagination can bring an edible garden to even the most unlikely nooks and spaces. Image: Derek St. Romaine

Andrea Bellamy outlines the basics of creating abundant and attractive Small-Space Vegetable Gardens.

When you want to grow food in a small space, every square inch of soil has to work extra hard. Experienced small-space gardeners use a number of techniques to get the most from their gardens. Practicing succession planting, vertical growing, and winter gardening, for example, allow you to harvest more food over a longer season. Learn the basics, then put them into practice in your garden.

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Start a Community Food Garden author LaManda Joy’s tips on how to keep community gardeners engaged and entertained.

Each season brings its challenges and opportunities. The needs of the growing season naturally dictate potential activities or programs, and during your busy building and planting season, there are lots of reasons for people to be together in the garden. But as the garden slows down, the opportunities for people to congregate and build community become less obvious, so you will want to be creative about providing rationale and opportunities to get together. Local or national holidays can provide a backbone for events or celebrations. And the needs of the garden organization itself might provide fodder for meetings or other gatherings.

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