Dirt on Gardening

I love to spend cold winter days reading, and when the reading is about gardening, it’s even better. A good book about gardening will inspire me above and beyond my capabilities every time!

Although they wouldn’t technically be considered books, there are two garden catalogs that have crossed my mailbox that are reading worthy. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, of Mansfield (www.rareseeds.com), produces a full color glossy heirloom seed catalog. Not only can a reader learn a lot about heirloom seeds, the photographs — some of them a full page in size — are stunning.

With slightly less “wow,” but even more general gardening information, the Johnny’s Selected Seeds catalog from Albion, Maine, www.johnnyseeds.com, will help you plan everything you an possibly grow from petunias to wildlife ground cover.

Speaking of heirlooms and the vegetable garden, how about a coffee table book all about heirloom tomatoes? Amy Goldman has written The Heirloom Tomato, a 272-page book that details over 200 heirloom varieties of tomatoes. The book gives size, weight, shape, color, flavor, etc. as well historical information such as origin, other notable information that only old seeds hold. In addition to information about specific types of tomatoes, the book also features very nice full color photos of tomatoes and a few recipes.

Storey Publishing has also been known for their informative books on a variety of topics. Now, they have published The Homeowner’s Complete Tree and Shrub Handbook by Penelope O’Sullivan. True to Storey style this 408-page, full color photography book is a bargain at about $30. The handbook offers information on design, care, pests and diseases and 357 entries regarding specific trees and shrubs. This book is very user-friendly with a planning chart, information sources, glossary and index at the end of the book.

Finally, if you are a herb lover, you may want to check out The Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs. Edited by Katherine K. Schlosser, this 376-page book has three main sections. The first section covers profiles of the 63 herbs cultivated at the National Herb Garden’s Culinary Garden in Washington, D.C. The second section has more than 200 recipes from appetizers to desserts that feature herbs. The final section of the book offers a tour of the National Herb Garden.

Combine your winter reading with a little garden inspiration, and you’ll be ready to go when the spring winds begin to blow our way.

Questions or comments related to gardening? Contact Joleen at missourigardener@hotmail.com

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