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Gardening Books


By Raquel


I admit I only buy gardening books as needed – and when they’re on sale, because while I love books I can’t see spending $30.00 on a gardening book, however beautiful and informative it may be! This means, of course, that I don’t necessarily have the best books around…but these have been very useful, and have provided inspiration, so I thought I’d share them:

“Container Gardens” by Adam Caplin, photography by Marianne Majerus. This book is more eye candy than anything else, though it has information on how to create a container garden and suggestions on types of containers, potting soils, watering, and suggests different combinations of plants to put in containers. I am tempted to try the pot-grown produce container, though mostly it’s the photos that inspire me to try different color combinations and give me ideas for different types of containers. It was from this book that I got the idea to mix the ‘citrus mix’ pansies with the ‘red with blotch’.

“The Encyclopedia of Container Gardening” edited by Geoffrey Burnie. This is a must have for me! It has information on all aspects of container gardening – both for outside plants and houseplants, and information with maps of plant hardiness zones, diseases, pests, potting and re-potting tips, how to take cuttings, and much more, including a guide to popular houseplants and plants for outside containers, including vegetables and shade-loving plants.

“El jardín orgánico” [The Organic Garden] by Richard Bird. Though written originally in English, I found this book on a trip to Antigua, Guatemala, which is why I bought it in Spanish. It is tremendously helpful, however, and explains the hows and whys of organic gardening, how to plan an organic garden, and even how to build a compost box to create your own fertilizer! It explains how to keep the garden organic, speaks of natural fertilizers and how to keep control of the garden -meaning, not letting pests and disease run wild! It does admit that for some pests, organic means of control don’t work or don’t work well enough to completely control the problem. It also has a list of plants that attract beneficial insects. In short, it’s a very useful book, even when I have to look up in a dictionary what some of the names/terms in Spanish are in English – some I know, some I don’t! It’s kind of funny.

“Roses Love Garlic” by Louise Riotte. Riotte was a well-known American gardener (1909-1998) who wrote on companion planting and about gardening lore. Her book is very interesting, but a bit hard to navigate, I wish it were easier to find which plants do better together, and what exactly some plants are supposed to repel. The information is there, but you have to hunt a bit for it. But you do learn a lot. I did not know for example, that geraniums are good companions for roses because they repel Japanese beetles (alas this doesn’t seem to be a problem in Houston, though it is in Virginia). I also got the idea to get a scented leaved geranium from this book – I didn’t even know they existed! I finally found one ‘Pelargonium fragrans’ whose leaves have a scent which is a cross between apple and nutmeg.

“Passion for Roses” by Peter Beales. I just love this book – it is beautiful and informative and makes me daydream about one day having a garden full of the most unusual and gorgeous roses, with not one of them ever getting sick! (I said it was a dream! =) )

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Lovely selection of books there Raquel. I'm a bookaholic too but avoid the gardening section of the bookshop lol Too tempting!!

27 Apr, 2008


I love a good read but also like to drool over pictures of gardens as well, I find the best and often the cheapest books going are found at car boot sales I just can't go out and not bring one home much to my hubby's dismay!

27 Apr, 2008


I love gardening books, but the ones used most are the RHS ones - especially the A-Z Encyclopaedia of plants. Before I got that, I had a Reader's Digest Encyclopaedia for years which has been so well thumbed that it is almost falling apart! I also bought two by Beth Chatto (Dry ans Damp Gardens) which I find invaluable. I do have quite a selection , I confess. I won't list them all - you will doze off if I do! Just one more I use frequently as a Clematis fan. 'Clematis' by Barry Fretwell. Out of print, but I got a second-hand one from Amazon. He ran a Nursery full of Clematis and the book is mouth-watering as well as being practical.

27 Apr, 2008


It's nice to know there are so many bookaholics around! Books are just awesome. While growing up in Virginia my mom and I developed a habit of going to garage sales - maybe they're the same as car boot sales? Anyway, you could get books for a dollar or fifty cents, of course a beautiful book with pictures would probably be 5 or ten dollars...isn't funny what we remember?

29 Apr, 2008

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