books come out every year, all more colorful and artistic, shinier and more
thorough, revised and updated. Itís all such fun. Imagine being able to grow
gardens like the ones pictured. Imagine a Celtic cross herb garden, a circular
garden with a central pond, a stone arbor with flowering vines or a meandering
glen with a profusion of astilbe and ferns.
Informational books are always
a great joy, especially if they are pertinent to our area. I recently received
as a gift "The New York Times 1,000 Questions and Answers," published
by Workman Press. I love the way itís laid out, section by section. Unfortunately,
much of it, culled from the Timeís gardening column, pertains to the climate
and zones in the East. Nonetheless, itís a great read with lots of exceedingly
On the other hand, Sunsetís
"Western Garden Book" is specifically designed for the Western zones
and is frequently updated.
Itís hard not to fall under
the lure of garden picture books, if only for inspiration. One of my favorites
is Mike Halesí "Gardenís Around the World: 365 Days." The curiously
shaped hardback covers more than 150 gardens from Los Angeles to Connecticut
and New York to Alhambra, the Cotswolds in England, as well as Bali and Brazil,
all in gorgeous, intimate photographs.
"New Gardens of the American
West" also is a lovely residential landscape coffee table book by Design
Workshop. Many of the sites depicted are located in the Aspen, Colo., area since
many of the landscape designers referenced are based there.
"The American Horticultural
Society Encyclopedia of Garden Plants" is a hefty volume providing listings
for every possible garden plant imaginable. In fact, the book covers over 15,000
It features more than 4,000
full-color photographs and 8,000 descriptions of plants. This tome is thorough
and gorgeous, though not a book to take out to the garden with you. Published
in October 2003, at 752 pages in hardback, itís a back breaker to haul around.
Though I havenít seen it, Iím
dying to get my hands on gardening guru Fran Sorinís book "Digging Deep:
Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening."
Another one thatís on my new
list is "Paths of Desire" by House & Garden magazine editor Dominque
Browning. Like an old fashion garden writer, her life, her garden, her mind
are all engaged. Itís an account of making a garden and confronting idiosyncratic
ecosystems in a garden as well as life.
So, read on and dig deep.