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The Spring 2011 list

by Chani West-Foyle, Marketing Associate on December 29, 2010

in Design, News

It’s almost 2011, and what better time to introduce you to our spring 2011 list of books? Garden design, sustainability, Phlox — it’s all here, in my quick and dirty (it’s gardening! see what I did there?) introduction to our list.

Many of you are probably familiar with Ivette Soler, of The Germinatrix fame? With a pen name like that, how could you forget? Well, her first book with us shows how to design and build an attractive edible garden in your front yard. Emphasis on the attractive — these are veggie beds that will cause you to puff up with pride rather than apologizing for your delicious but scraggly tomatoes. The Edible Front Yard, people. You heard it here — well, second, since Soler has been advocating for edible front yards for a while now.

No front yard? What about terrariums? These quirky beauties have been popping up everywhere like beautiful mushrooms after a rain. Terrarium Craft, by Amy Bryant Aiello and Kate Bryant, is a step-by-step guide to creating terrariums that are intricate, whimsical, and oh-so-addictive. Deck your home with them, once the holly comes down.

Devotees of food magazines may be familiar with Steve Sando. He has been profiled in Bon Appetit, Saveur, and the New York Times, and is the man behind Rancho Gordo, the purveyor of “glorious, old-fashioned heirloom beans.” The Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean Book profiles the 50 best heirloom beans to grow, cook, save, and EAT. That last part is important.

But maybe you think beans are dull, and your would rather grow kai lan and Japanese wineberries? You’re in luck — Mark Diacono of River Cottage in the UK says that “life is too short to grow ordinary food”, and in The Food Lover’s Garden he introduces 39 fruits and vegetables  that are both unusual and scrumptious.

The problem with food, though, is that the deer sometimes eat it. What’s that you say? The deer eat EVERYTHING, and you have very little hair left after extended bouts of pulling it out? Fear not! We have a book for the, um, “deer-blessed” among you. 50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants, by Ruth Rogers Clausen, will help you choose plants that are both beautiful and unpalatable. (But you’ll notice that we’re only claiming deer-resistance. If the deer are really hungry, they will eat anything. Even gazing balls.)

If the deer are getting you down, turn to books on sustainable gardening to soothe your ruffled mind. Gardens are often great for the environment, but the choices that you make about how you garden can also make a huge difference. Alice Bowe’s  High-Impact, Low-Carbon Gardening is a one-stop reference to making a garden more environmentally friendly, with 1001 ways to make a difference, from simple things like composting to more long-term investments like permeable pavers.

On a more visionary level, there is a goldmine of information in The New American Landscape. Author and editor Thomas Christopher brings together the best thinkers on the topic of gardening sustainably, and asks them to describe the future of the sustainable landscape. What results is a collective vision as eloquent as it is diverse. Be sure to check out the author list — that’s a lot of gardening rock stars in one place!

Green roofs are the epitome of sustainable gardening, and just plain lovely landscaping, too. Mostly you see then on large municipal buildings, though, and wouldn’t it be nice to see a wee green roof on a bicycle shed? The authors of Small Green Roofs focus on green roofs for offices, sheds, garages, and studios, and give details on the design, construction, and care of these little slices of nature.

Is it time to design yet? Yes, yes it is. One of the most important decisions in design is color — and Andrew Wilson’s Contemporary Color in the Landscape goes over how to use color in so much more detail than you ever would have thought possible. (Although, I’m not really sure if you will get around to reading the text, since you may be too gobsmacked and besotted by the amazing photographs to do anything but gaze in awe. The small black words are handy, though! Read them!)

If you are looking to design a monochromatic garden, say, a green one, picking up a copy of Designing with Conifers will take you a long way. Farewell to lollipop-shaped hedges — the conifer world contains shapes that are much more interesting than that! Conifers are a beautiful and versatile group of plants, and Richard Bitner guides you through them with aplomb.

On to plants! First up we have a second edition of a beloved garden classic, Armitage’s Garden Perennials, by Dr. Armitage, of course. It features over 1250 of the best perennials, with over 300 new to this edition.

Next we have The Timber Press Encyclopedia of Flowering Shrubs, by Jim Gardiner. His rigorous plant selection includes flowering shrubs that do particularly well in the world’s temperate zones.

Phlox, by James Locklear, and Vanilla Orchids, by Ken Cameron, are both in-depth genus monographs of plants that tickle the senses — color and shape in the first case, and scent and taste in the second. If you count the sounds of Phlox and vanilla orchids rustling the breeze, you have quite a collection of senses there.

And on the topic of taste, we also have the humble potato. The Complete Book of Potatoes has everything a commercial potato grower needs to successfully grow the best, disease-resistant potatoes for North American gardens. Hmm, potatoes with some vanilla? Interesting thought.

We have a little bit of cozy armchair reading this season, too. My Garden, the City and Me, by Helen Babbs, chronicles the adventures of a self-proclaimed city girl who lives on the second floor of a flat in a chaotic corner of London. An urge to find a stronger connection to the natural world leads her to create her first garden, an organic edible garden on her rooftop. It’s a lyrical narrative, full of everything from moments of FAIL (accidentally stomping all the seed starts), to moments of WIN! (Hosting an end of season dinner party with produce she grew herself!)

And if reading about gardening makes you want to drink beer, you are in luck AGAIN, because last on our list, we have Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest! You may have heard that there’s a lot of beer in the Pacific Northwest? And that we take it very seriously? It’s true, and Lisa Morrison is the best possible guide to 115 key brew pubs and breweries in this most beery of corners of the world. Cheers!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Garden Gifts December 30, 2010 at 6:10 am

Your books are really awesome..

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