Curl up with a good gardening book

stack of garden books
Books for gardeners. Photo: C. Carignan

The holidays are over. The temperatures have plummeted. Now is the perfect time to curl up with a mug of tea and a good gardening book.   

Yes, I have go-to reference books when I have a gardening question. But I treasure a handful of gardening books for sheer reading pleasure. Yes, you will learn. But, oh the beauty of the language.

I just finished reading Diane Ackerman’s Cultivating Delight, a lyrical ode to her garden. You sit beside her in her window seat to watch birds building nests. You hear a garden center’s siren song. You can smell her roses.  

She tells more, more deeply, and with intrigue. She weaves tales of intrepid plant collectors risking life and limb, Greek gods becoming flowers, the glory of a summer storm, and cricket sex.  

Along the way, Ackerman quotes Kipling and Longfellow, Muir, and Blake and gives us lessons on botany, biology, ecology, history, and garden design. You’re not aware you’re being taught, only lulled with lush language. 

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Beach Books for Veggie Gardeners

All right, maybe not the beach. But as we exit spring and enter the “oh maybe I’d rather stay indoors in the AC” season, I’ve got some recently-published books that might encourage you to get out there and make your garden better (but you can read them inside on a hot day and count that as horticultural education). Want to learn how to identify and deal with pests? Want to know if there’s anything to this “companion planting” stuff? And what’s up with “regenerative gardening”—can your soil really feed your plants? Read on!

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