My husband and I have been gardening together for over thirty years. He has a degree in horticulture and I have a degree in library science. So, when we combine our love of books and gardening, we end up with a vast gardening resource library.
I want to share my favorites and think they will become your favorites as well. Below I’ve listed my top 10 favorite home and garden books that I believe beginners and professional designers alike should consider purchasing for your own home reference library.
Top 10 Home and Garden Books For Every Beginner and Designer
- The Well Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques by Tracy DiSabato-Aust is a classic. Tracy is well known in the gardening world for her 20 plus years experience in maintaining gardens and in this book she tells you exactly how to prune perennials. Also, In the very first chapter, she speaks of designing a garden with its maintenance in mind. Her advice is to ask yourself “Who’s going to maintain this garden, me or a professional crew?” Great question!
- Landscaping With Perennials by Emily Brown is another favorite of ours. Advice on garden layouts for slopes, shade, bogs, parking strips, creating cutting gardens, island beds, or a fairytale woodland garden is all here. Included are line drawings, photographs, plant lists and more. A real delight to read.
- Gardening With Color by Mary Keen. A garden designer and consultant herself, Mary has filled this book with gorgeous full page photos. Excellent advice on designing with the six color categories for gardens including: blues, reds, greens, grays and white, and yellows makes this book another great choice for your library.
- Armitage’s Garden Annuals: A Color Encyclopedia by Allan Armitage helps the gardener select proven specimen annuals that are interesting, important, and often overlooked. Armitage is a horticulturalist, teacher, and respected expert in his field and this plant reference guide is a perfect companion to his earlier Manual of Annuals, Biennials, and Half-Hard Perennials. Attractive and easy to use with inspiring pictures.
- Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook by Jennifer R. Bartley was published in 2006 but I’m just now finding out about it. This lovely book describes how to create a garden that is not only beautiful and well laid out, but is also productive. Who wouldn’t want a kitchen garden, or potoager, as part of their landscape? If you love growing your own fresh fruits and veggies, learn how to do it in style!
- All New Square Foot Gardener by Mel Bartholomew is my new favorite gardening book. This method has been around for 25 years so you know it works. I was skeptical at first. How can you “grow more in less space” like he says in 4’x4′ square boxes? Pictures with detailed instruction explains how to build these raised beds for your garden or deck. Great for everyone as well as kids and wheelchair bound gardeners. Learn more at www.squarefootgardening.com
- The Complete Compost Gardening Guide by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah Martin helps gardeners to not become compost failures. Unique, easy to implement techniques using heaps, bins, or enclosed composters make composting easier to create and tend.
- Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual of Practical Techniques by Alan Toogood. The title says it all. Learn how to get free plants and save yourself a ton of money…maybe even start a business. Very good pictures with directions. You’ll learn a lot from this book.
- Gardening With Grass by Michael King and Piet Oudolf shows how to use ornamental grasses to transform a ho-hum garden into a stunning garden. They even list perennials, by color and height, that grow well with particular variety of grasses. Planting grasses are highly recommended to extend your summer garden into fall.
- The Way We Garden Now by Katherine Whiteside is a nice book if you are feeling overwhelmed by your garden. This book lets you pick-and-choose from ten easy, manageable projects like adding edibles, planting bulbs, dealing with hedges, putting up deer fencing and even container gardening. Fun and engaging to read.
Any one of the books listed above will give you a great deal of insight on how to have an awe inspiring garden that will make your garden a paradise for you and your family. That’s why the are my top 10 books on home and garden that every gardener and designer should consider having on their bookshelf.
Permission is granted to reprint this article, unedited, provided proper attribution is made and the signature line — the above resource paragraph – is kept intact.