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June 12, 2011

Gardening from the couch: Best gardening books

Grow the Good Life

One way for a gardener to escape this East Coast heat wave is to simply stay in the air conditioning and read about gardening.

Dominique Browning, author and former editor of House and Garden magazine, has created her regular list of best gardening books for the New York Times and here are the highlights.

"Grow the Good Life," by my friend and fellow garden blogger Michele Owens, is at the top of her list. Michele's book makes you want to start your own vegetable garden even if you are like me and prefer the farmers' market approach to fresh vegetables.

"The Conscientious Gardener: Cultivating the Garden Ethic," by Sarah Hayden Reichard, Browning writes, is a "modest and unassuming but powerful book" that argues that "gardeners should be on the front lines when it comes to recognizing the interconnection of mankind and nature." She says the chapter on soil is an excellent refresher for any gardener.

"Beekeeper's Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes and Other Home Uses," by Richard Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch is the bible -- it is literally that big -- of this new, hip activity, Browning says.

"The Book of Fungi: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from Around the World," by Peter Roberts and Shelley Evans makes the case for this species, which lives on decaying matter. Browning says that if you want one more thing to worry about, worry about the destruction of fungi habitats. Or simply buy some mushrooms at the farmers' market and sauté them in olive oil.

"Markets of New England," by Christine Chitnis should be a model for similar regional guidebooks, Browning says. The author makes the case that we should all be supporting our local beekeepers, cheese mongers, weavers, woodworkers as well as local farmers.



The other books that Browning recommends include:


The Ambonese Herbal" will eventually be a six-volume compendium of the work of 17th century naturalist Georgius Everhardus Rumphius.


In a similar vein is "Abundant Beauty: The Adventurous Travels of Marianne North, Botanical Artist."


"Fifty Plants that Changed the Course of History," by Bill Laws looks like a fun read of plant lore and little known history.


"Embroidered Ground: Revisiting the Garden," by Page Dickey is a look back at her life changes and her garden and it sounds like a lovely read.


"Tomorrow's Garden: Design and Inspiration for a New Age of Sustainable Gardening," by Stephen Orr, and "The Late Interiors: A Life Under Construction," by Marjorie Sandor are also about lives in transition.


And it should also be noted that Browning is the author of her own memoir, "Slow Love."



Posted by Susan Reimer at 8:14 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Garden books

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About Susan Reimer
Susan Reimer has spent 16 years writing about raising kids - among other topics - in her column for The Baltimore Sun. And every time son Joseph or daughter Jessie passed another milestone - driver's license, college, wedding or a move to a new military duty station - she has planted another garden. Now she will be writing about those gardens - and yours - here on Garden Variety.

Susan isn't an expert gardener, but she wasn't an expert mother, either. Both - the kids and the gardens - seem to be doing well in spite of her.

She lives in Annapolis with her husband, Gary Mihoces, who loves to cut his grass but has noticed that there seems to be less of it every time the kids pass another milestone.

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