Let’s stay inside on this rainy Saturday. I’ll show you some of my favorite books about gardening, that have been helpful to me through the years.
At the top of my list are several publications by Oxmoor House, who produces Southern Living magazine. My mother subscribed to that monthly periodical from Issue 1, Volume 1 in 1966 after switching from The Progressive Farmer magazine. Each Southern Living magazine includes wonderful gardening ideas, but the hardback publications give permanent information in a beautiful format. The large Southern Living Garden Book is an encyclopedia of traditional plants that do well in the southern part of the United States.
When I was more into vegetable gardening, I found these helpful, but not always applicable to my region.
These books are focused on Alabama and Mississippi in particular. I had to learn the hard way that everything you see in national magazines doesn’t do well in our Gulf Coast climate. I might as well have buried twenty-dollar bills in the ground for years.
Then, Master Gardeners and Horticulturalists like Felder Rushing showed me that, although I can forget about Lilacs and Peonies, there are many other wonderful plants that are spectacular down here. You can’t fight Mother Nature. Felder does a radio show every Saturday on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, called The Gestalt Gardener. He has a great website too.
Other guys that opened my eyes were Bill Finch and Steve Bender. Neighbors and friends like Pam, Margaret, Sarah, and Loretta talked dirt with me – and compost, worms, and fertilizer. They shared pass-along plants and many others shared the bounty of their gardens as well as their knowledge.
Mama tried to give me a lot of her experience, but I was too young, arrogant, and stupid to hear advice from her. I wish I could still walk around the yard with my mother.
These are paperbacks from Ortho and Sunset that indulge my desire to flip through, looking at pictures, and wishing for this and that.
Many people like to read about their hobbies as much as they like to do their hobbies.
Since there’s something to do all twelve months in the year, this was a helpful book to understand cycles of growth, pruning, fertilizing, planting, harvesting, and flowering. Knowing when and why to do something is as important as knowing what to do.
These are well-worn resources to identify weeds in my yard or plants I see when I’m out and about. I’ve also had occasion to identify uninvited creatures who show up in the shrubs too.
It’s fun to look at the pictures and learn new bits of information about God’s creation. It’s also better to know what I’m doing before I go to the garden center or out in the yard, with trowel in hand.