By Lois Scott, Master Gardener
The Internet conveniently provides seemingly endless avenues when searching for information on best practices for gardening but there are times I prefer to turn to my bookshelf for a favourite and trusted author. Here is a collection of books that I find useful in a practical sense or just to reread to refresh my mind on certain topics.
How Plants Work by Linda Chalker-Scott, a well-known “associate professor and extension urban horticulturist at Washington State University” is an excellent resource for me. Quoting the back cover “this book arms you with the information that will change the way you garden. You’ll learn how to fertilize and prune more effectively, how to weed less and how to determine which garden products are worth your time and money”. She discusses the science of how plants work but most importantly for me, translates that into practical science-based practices for my garden. As a bonus it does include attractive, instructive photographs. Dr. Chalker-Scott is a very engaging author. I also recommend her other books The Informed Gardener and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again which are both collections of her Garden Myths.
What A Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses by Daniel Chamovitz is another fascinating book about how plants work. In this book Dr. Chamovitz discusses the science around what a plant sees, smells, feels, hears (or doesn’t hear), how it knows where it is and what it remembers. This book is beautifully written, very engaging and the science quite accessible.
The Pruning Book by Lee Reich is very useful, practical and well written. . Dr. Reich takes the reader through the basics of pruning, the tools and the plants, including ornamental trees and bushes, evergreens, vines, fruit and nut trees/bushes, houseplants and herbaceous plants. For the adventurous he also describes specialized techniques such as topiary and espalier. There are many useful photographs and diagrams along the way that are both instructive and attractive.
I am looking forward to adding to the bookshelf in the near future. I do have two of Doug Tallamy’s books on order from The Hunter Street Book Store in Peterborough where the above books can also be ordered. The Peterborough Public Library has a hard copy of The Informed Gardener, and electronic copies of How Plants Work and What a Plant Knows. Also available at the library are electronic copies of two of Lee Reich’s other books Weedless Gardening and The Ever Curious Gardener. I am also always interested in other gardener’s favourite books to potentially add to my collection.