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.

9781604694635fHave a look inside the book Dominique Browning of The New York Times says, “should be on every serious gardener’s shelf.”

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The new woodland garden

by Timber Press on December 18, 2014

in Design

Candelabra primulas, rodgersias and other moisture-loving perennials crowd the lower, damper sections of a glade at Wildside.

Candelabra primulas, rodgersias and other moisture-loving perennials crowd the lower, damper sections of a glade at Wildside.

Author Keith Wiley shares his approach to Designing and Planting a Woodland Garden.

As so often in my gardening life it was by observing plants in the wild, particularly the seemingly effortless way they combine, that sparked my desire to experiment with a wider range of woodland plants. My general approach to gardening tends to be holistic, which means that I see the whole woodland garden environment as a single unit which is in balance from the tallest tree down to the smallest bulb. Gardens like this do not rely solely on a blaze of spring glory but instead have a natural look that is always changing. This differs structurally from the stereotypical woodland garden by having fewer and less densely planted shrubs in the understorey layer, which in turn lets more light reach the woodland floor and allows a wider range of plants to grow there.

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Give the gift of gardening!

Help the garden designer in your life build their library with books hand-picked by Timber Press staff. If you don’t find the right one in this post, try searching our catalog for more great garden design books.

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Books for both garden and outdoor enthusiasts.

When asked to choose one book to recommend, a number of staff members picked a title specific to our region. Since our main office is located in Portland, Oregon, we may be a little partial to the area. Through our books, however, we most definitely work to celebrate and share the mighty Pacific Northwest!

Click here for a complete list of our Pacific Northwest books.

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Holiday gift staff picks

by Timber Press on December 1, 2014

in News

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Hand-picked to help you find the right gift for the gardener in your life.

Of course, this is just a wee bit of what we offer. For more choices, try searching by category: award winners, botany, bulbs, container, crafts, encyclopedia, food plants, garden design, lawn alternatives, low-maintenance, native plants, new books, orchids, perennials, photography, pruning, rain gardens, reference, rock garden, shrubs, small spaces, succulents, sustainable, trees, tropicals, vegetables.

Whew! Still don’t see what you’re looking for? Why not start at the beginning?

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This guest post was written by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth, authors of What’s Wrong with My Plant?, and originally appeared on their blog.

10 Common Houseplant Problems

We’ve prepared a list of the ten most common problems of houseplants. If you’re having a problem with a houseplant, it’s most likely going to be due to one of the following.

1. Overwatering.

More houseplants die from overwatering than from any other cause. Never let the pot sit in water in a saucer. Put marbles or pebbles in the saucer and set your pot on top of them to raise the pot up and away from the water in the saucer. Make sure the pot has adequate drainage holes. Allow soil to dry out in between watering. When you water, water the root zone of the plant, not the foliage.

This crown-of-thorns houseplant struggles to survive in a pot without drainage holes.

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02_01_TSNW_ecoregions 96dpiTrees & Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest authors Mark Turner and Ellen Kuhlmann explain the area’s distinct habitats.

The relationships of precipitation, geology, physiography, vegetation, climate, soils, land use, wildlife, and hydrology can be used to paint a broad picture of the ecology of any one geographical area. Within each ecoregion or biogeoclimatic zone, a visitor can expect to find comparable populations of plants and animals. The first part of this chapter has introduced the major influences that define the ecoregions of the Northwest. This section will explore each of these areas of ecological similarity. A basic understanding of the ecoregional concept helps to explain the relationships between habitats and the plants that grow there.

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Visit the Timber Press Scribd page for a print-ready version of this graphic (and more!).

Inspired by Daffodil: The Remarkable Story of the World’s Most Popular Flower by Noel Kingsbury

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Earth Food

by Guest Poster on November 19, 2014

in Food

Written by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth, authors of What’s Wrong with My Vegetable Garden?, this post originally appeared on their blog.

Earth Food

David has been talking about storing summer bulbs, and it got me thinking about all the things we who live in cold climates do to prepare for winter.

As gardeners we store bulbs, corms, tubers, and tuberous roots. These plant structures store the net photosynthate that the plant produced during the growing season. Which means: plants store food to survive the winter and grow again in spring.

Somewhere in our pre-history we learned a lesson from plants and started storing these same plant parts for our own food. We “lift” tubers like potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) from the ground, shake dirt free and, in former times, placed them in root cellars. Today we might store them in cardboard boxes or burlap sacks in our garages. We also gather tuberous roots like sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) and bulbs like onions and garlic, and store them through the long months of cold when we cannot grow food outside.
3 onion beautiful 68As November proceeds in the northern hemisphere, we prepare for festivals at which we gather and share our stored bounty from the garden. Storing food is all about coziness, feelings of safety, belonging, and abundance. Despite the hardships of the season—driving rain, cold, and, snow—we enjoy our winter feasts.

David’s family cherishes traditional winter feasts. Mashed potatoes are a must. Close relatives of tomatoes, eggplants, chili, and bell peppers, potatoes come from high in the Andes of Peru, and have been grown for over 6,000 years. Breeders have mixed the gene pool to create the multitude of varieties we have now.

We all have favorite potatoes, but I particularly love the ones with tender skins and flavorful flesh, such as Yukon golds. I also like to mix it up with the newest—or oldest, depending on how you look at it—Peruvian blue and purple potatoes. But tradition often dictates the good old russet. No matter which potato we choose, I use a recipe I learned long ago:

Simple Mashed Potatoes (serves 4)

  • Potatoes: 2 lbs
  • Milk: enough to barely cover potatoes
  • Salt, pepper, butter to taste
  • Scrub the potatoes and leave skins on. Cut them in half inch cubes.  Boil them in milk until tender. As you mash, add butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Sweet potatoes come from lowlands throughout the Caribbean and South America, and people have been mixing genes from these gems of the earth for a long time to create many tasty cultivars. Some of these cultivars are also called yams by grocers in many areas of the U.S.

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Still, our favorite bounty from the root cellar through the winter is:

Root Cellar Bounty

  • Bulbs: Onions, Garlic
  • Tubers:  Potatoes
  • Roots: Sweet potatoes, Beets, Carrots, Parsnips
  • Olive oil: enough to drizzle the vegetables in a thin coating
  • Favorite herbs:  such as thyme, rosemary, and sage.
  • Cut all the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Lay them in a single layer in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Drizzle them with the olive oil until thinly coated. Roast them in a 350 degree (F) oven until fork tender.
  • Yum. Oh, you should probably let them cool for a bit before you bite them.

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Storing Summer Bulbs

by Timber Press on November 18, 2014

in Gardening

Written by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth, authors of What’s Wrong with My Plant?, this post originally appeared on their blog.

Storing Summer Bulbs

Glorious flowering bulbs of summer can light up your garden all through the warm summer months. Some, like tuberous begonias and dahlias, bloom all summer long. Others, like gladiolus, cannas, and crocosmia, have a more definite and shorter season of bloom. All are among the most flamboyant of summer flowers. They come in a brilliant rainbow of colors, many provide much needed height, and all add interesting texture and form to your garden. Oddly, though all those mentioned above are called bulbs, none has a true bulb. Instead of real bulbs they have a variety of underground storage structures like corms, tubers, or tuberous roots.

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If you live in a cold winter climate, you need to dig up most of your summer flowering bulbs in autumn before hard freezes occur. Unlike spring blooming bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and crocus, these summer blooming bulbs are tender and will be killed by winter cold. You should dig up tender summer flowering bulbs in the autumn before hard freezes occur. Then you divide them, store them through the winter somewhere where they won’t freeze, and re-plant them in the spring. Garden jargon calls this process “lifting” the bulbs.

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Dig them up, shake off as much of the soil as you can, and set them on newspaper in cardboard boxes to dry for a time. When the little bit of soil clinging to them has dried out, brush away the soil and store them in labeled paper bags until time to plant again next spring.

A couple of tips for success:

  • First, never store bulbs in plastic bags. Plastic bags don’t breathe, and they trap humidity. Both conditions promote bulb diseases. Put them in paper bags.
  • Second, dust them with sulfur after you’ve cleaned them up and before storing them. A good way to get them dusted is to put them in a zip-top plastic bag (only temporarily!), add a tablespoon of dusting sulfur, close the bag tightly, and shake. You should wear a face mask to avoid breathing the sulfur dust into your lungs and you should wear gloves to avoid getting it on your skin. Sulfur is a mineral element, mined from the earth, and is routinely used in organic gardening practices to control fungus disease. It is a relatively safe product but some people can have allergic reactions.
  • When your bulbs are well coated with sulfur, put them into a paper bag, label the bag with the kind of bulb, the name of the cultivar, and the date, and store your summer flowering bulbs in a cool, dark place through the winter until you can plant again in the spring. Dusting with sulfur prevents fungus spores from germinating as bulbs in storage can easily become infected with blue bulb mold, a fungus disease.
  • If, in spite of your best efforts, some of your bulbs become moldy while in storage, throw them away. Don’t plant them. And don’t keep them near your other bulbs. You’ve heard how one rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel. Same goes for bulbs. You don’t want one rotten bulb to spoil all the rest.

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