21 Top Picks for Garden Books Featured on The Daily Gardener Podcast July 2019

Grow That Garden Library

“My beginning, started with rare books on plants and garden plants, mostly French or Italian. They were like my Bibles.“ ~Bunny Mellon

A Tree in the Houseis stunning; an ode to flower arranging.  A Tree in the House celebrates the art of arranging flowers for celebrations big, small and in-between held throughout the year. Annabelle Hickson provides ideas and instructions for celebratory botanical installations and arrangements, each staged and photographed in different rural homes, gardens and sheds using the beauty of what's growing wild. Interspersed throughout are snapshots—in words and pictures—of rural life and that aspirational rustic country aesthetic.

Chezar says in the introduction of her book,
"I use as many blossoms as possible that are in season. I don't want to see a tulip in August or peony in September.
I love them in their season - and when that season passes, it's time to move on."

Chezar is a professional floral designer and she provides step-by-step instructions for 39 seasonal floral arrangements. A pioneer in the farm-to-vase movement, her book is a delightful reminder to gardeners that they can bring their garden indoors and create exciting compositions with cut flowers.
 

 Lisa Eldred-Steinkopf is known as the Houseplant Guru and this is her latest book.  She's putting thespotlight on 50 of the best houseplants you can grow in dim or dark areas.
 
Having a south-facing window doesn’t always guarantee you the best light to grow plants—especially if your window faces an alley or a tree-lined street. What’s the point of growing an urban jungle if tall buildings are blocking all your sunshine? This compact guide, designed to look as good on your shelf as it is useful, will help you learn how to make the most of your light so you can reap the physical and emotional benefits of living with plants.
 
Detailed profiles include tips on watering your plants just right, properly potting them, and troubleshooting pests and diseases. You’ll also learn which plants are safe to keep around your pets.
 
Whether you live in a shady top-floor apartment or a dungeon-y garden level, this book will help you grow your plant collection to its healthiest for its Instagram debut.
 

This first in-depth study of Shreve's life and work. It is a beautifully written account of Shreve's career. The author shares a friend's description of Shreve, which compares him to a desert,

"in his patience and his detachment, and like the desert, he put on a good display when he flowered."

On writing about the desert, Shreve noted,

"The most significant lesson that the desert dweller can learn from a familiarity with its plant and animal life is to regard himself not as an exile from some better place but as a man at home in an environment to which his life can be adjusted without physical or intellectual loss.'"
 
 

Wells investigates the names and meanings of trees, sharing their legends and lore.

As Wells says,

"Our long relationship with trees is the story of friendship. The human race, we are told, emerged in the branches of trees and most of us have depended on them ever since for food, shade, shelter, and fuel."

 

Hailed as a classic from its first publication, Perennial Garden Plants describes over 2,000 species along with practical information on planting, seasonal flowering, color, propagation and cultivation as well as on the origins of plants.

Of this book Graham Stuart Thomas said, 

"I have tried to be truthful, concise and at the same time appetizing; Appetizing because it is my desire to encourage you to grow these lovely things; the smaller ones among them maybe called garden toys, while many of the larger kinds are plants of great personality.  To whichever class they belong they are growing things, of a beauty unsurpassed among the passive things of this world and worthy of our reverence and awe,  to be treasured and enshrined in our gardens."
 

 
Graham Stuart Thomas introduces this essential, comprehensive reference of wood plants this way:
 
"All through my life I have been discovering plants; I do not mean going out into the wilds of other countries and bringing back new treasures for our gardens. I am no dauntless traveler. But, I remember the thrill of my first winter as a student at the Cambridge University botanic Garden of sniffing for the first time the delectable scent of winter sweet and the winter flowering honeysuckles, and learning how to distinguish them from each other...  I can claim to have grown, either directly or by proxy perhaps three quarters of the shrubs in this book; anymore have been observed to write about."
 
Of his book,Thomas differentiates from others he has read on the subject:
 
"My book is designed to help the reader consider the arrangements of his garden as a whole, And to furnish the different rooms with plants."
 
Graham Stuart Thomas helps gardeners relate to shrubs through characteristics such as size, evergreen or deciduous, color of flower, scent, season of flowering, autumn color, methods of propagation are all given in an ingenious Line of Facts for easy reference. Lively short descriptions of the characters of each plant help amateurs and professionals alike choose what to grow and what to avoid.
 
 

 

Church is one of the most influential American landscape architects of the twentieth century.

Church's ideas on the 'modern' landscape revolutionized residential landscape design; changing the look of the suburban back yard.  His notion that the suburban backyard should be an extension of the house, essentially creating an outdoor room, was revolutionary.

Gardens Are for Peoplecontains the essence of Thomas Church's design philosophy and much practical advice. His four design principles include:

• Unity 
• Function 
• Simplicity
• Scale

The book is loaded with photographs of some of the 2,000 gardens designed by Church.

It was Thomas Church who said:

"When your garden is finished I hope it will be more beautiful that you anticipated, require less care than you expected, and have cost only a little more than you had planned."
 
 

 

Rosemary Verey’s book Classic Garden Design (1984) gives us a glimpse of how much she learned from various gardens of the past, with their topiary, knot gardens and box-edged beds.

All are incorporated in her Barnsley garden, providing a formal structure, softened by roses and herbaceous perennials, which adds interest even in the wintertime.

Of course, one can't forget that it was Rosemary Verey who introduced and popularized the potager

You can get used copies of this book on Amazon, with the link above in the show notes for less than $6.
 


Verey is regarded as the "Queen of the Traditional English Country Garden."

Verey was known for creating gardens with a amix traditional elements and beautiful plantings. The gardens she created are timeless.

Verey's practical reference book covers planting throughout the seasons.  This book is a classic for your garden library.  The best part about this book is that it offers advice for successful planting and utilizing difficult areas of the garden. 
 

 


Raulston and Tripp point out that  just,

"40 species of shrubs and trees make up 90 percent of the landscape plantings in the U.S."

The book is divided into four parts corresponding to the seasons.

Tripp honed her craft at Harvard's Arnold Arboretum and she wrote weekly articles for the North Carolina State University Arboretum in Raleigh. Those articles became the backbone for 150 profiles of trees, shrubs, and vines. Tripp featured plants are pretty low maintenance and reliable.

This is a terrific resource featuring some under-used, but amazing, trees.
 
 


As much as I love to garden, there are days when it's just too hot or humid to go out there. I draw the line when sweat starts to trickle into my eyeballs - then it's time to call it a day.

Lawrence's Southern Garden is a classic. This is Lawrence's personal experience with gardening - my favorite kind of gardening book.

Although Lawrence's growing zone isn't always applicable to where you might be gardening, I guarantee you'll learn something. Her writing about gardens and gardening is conversational, thoughtful and charming.
 
 

Rick Darke updated this garden classic.  At the time when Robinson first published the book, his natural vision for gardens was considered revolutionary. Today, we regard it as standard gardening.

In addition to the complete original text and illustrations from the 1895 edition, this expanded edition includes  material from Rick Darke the esteemed photographer and landscape consultant . Like Robinson, Darke seeks to show wild gardening in a modern context. The result is even more inspiration for today's wild gardens.

This gorgeous book features 20 special British gardens and people who own and manage them.  The book is photographerd by Hugo Rittson-Thomas and written by Victoria Summerley, both of whom live in this part of England. Their combined knowledge and love of these gardens shines through in their depictions of each garden and the families blessed to call them part of their home. Beginning with the book cover, the pictures are gorgeous and the garden stories include their fascinating pasts as well as the recent story of the each property.

This is a lovely book.
 

What if you're looking for a landscape that's not only beautiful, functional and productive, but also nourishes and fosters wildlife. That's the aim of The Living Landscape. Darke and Tallamy describe how plants can be used for multiple uses in the garden.
 
 

Rainer and West offer strong voices in ecological landscape design.

The book is about how plants fit together in the wild and how we can use that understanding in garden design and plantings. The benefits of this kind of planting method are much more management and less maintenance in addition to more diversity and density in our plantings. 

Rainer and West have grown increasingly frustrated by the fact that traditional horticultural plantings really didn’t provide the set of tools to give clients ecosystems that also offer year-round beauty.

By keying in on the way plants behave in the wild; grasping concepts like density and diversity, the authors believe they have extracted some design principles and real-world solutions for gardeners
 

 

This is a wonderful guide to the cultivation of scented flowers. The newly revised edition includes modern varieties as well.
The late Louise Beebe Wilder is that rare figure, a garden writer from another era (she was born in 1878). Her books continue to be published because they are so charming and contain a wealth of horticultural knowledge.
 

 

As a gardener herself, Ruth had a personal knowledge of flowers. She loved gardening and she wrote her poetry when she finished her chores and her gardening.

The Rude Potato is a very witty entertaining collection of poems about gardens and gardeners.
 
 


Russell Page is one of the legendary gardeners and landscapers of the twentieth century. First published in 1962, this book shares his charming anecdotes and timeless gardening advice.
 

Gertrude Jekyll was one of the most influential garden designers of the early 20th century. This wonderful book explores her life and work at the home she created for herself at Munstead Wood in England.

The book is a fantastic collection of all things Jekyll;  her writings and photographs, as well as personal accounts from friends and acquaintances. 
 

 
Slatella's book was named "the best gift book for gardeners" by the New York Times book review.
 
The book was put together by the team responsible for Gardenista and Remodelista. It’s chockfull of hundreds of design tips and easy DIY‘s. It features 100 classic garden objects and a landscape primer with tips from the pros.
 
It’s a fantastic resource for folks hoping to get Garden Design 101 tips from the best and most creative in the business.