May 21, 2010
Pruning is one of the scariest tasks in any garden. Most of us fly blind and do terrible things to our plants, shrubs, and trees. But as Lee Reich explains in The Pruning Book (Taunton Press, $21.95), proper pruning is critical. It keeps plants healthy, prevents them from growing too large, enhances their beauty, and improves the quality and quantity of their flowers, leaves and fruits. Not only that, but pruning can be fun, he says. Really? The oblivious among us know that nothing feels better than to whack away at an overgrown anything, but that's not the kind of fun Reich is talking about.
May 28, 2010
Reading Marta Teegen's new book, Homegrown: A Growing Guide for Creating a Cook's Garden in Raised Beds, Containers, and Small Spaces, I sensed that something was missing. Then it dawned on me. This may be the only gardening book around that doesn't have vivid illustrations. These are a pale, pale green, a curious and unsatisfying choice for a book about growing your own vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers. That said, Teegen has a pretty nice book here from Rodale ($19.99)
April 11, 2008
If you're a gardener, run, don't walk, to your nearest laptop or bookstore to buy The Truth About Organic Gardening: Benefits, Drawbacks and the Bottom Line by Jeff Gillman. If you think you already know this stuff, trust me. You don't. Not unless, like Gillman, you're an ornamental-plant specialist with a master's degree in entomology, a doctorate in horticulture, and a resume that includes extensive research on pesticides and a tenured teaching gig in horticultural science at the University of Minnesota.
July 22, 2011
The name Allan Armitage is a big draw for plant people, which means his updated edition of the 2000 classic Armitage's Garden Perennials is destined to sell well. Armitage is a horticulture professor at the University of Georgia, Athens, but more importantly, he does research on new garden plants and runs the university's trial gardens. In other words, he's the man - educated and horticulturally famous, with an endearing credo: "This is gardening, not brain surgery.
July 30, 2010
The Nonstop Garden calls itself "a step-by-step guide to smart plant choices and four-season designs. " This being summer, the new book by Stephanie Cohen and Jennifer Benner (Timber Press, $19.95) is a perfect candidate for beach bag, bedside, or hammock. Cohen, of Collegeville, is known as "the perennial diva" and Benner used to be her editor at Fine Gardening magazine. They're a knowledgeable team, and it's instructive to explore their 248-page book. I looked up plants growing in my garden, ones that have flunked out or that I'm curious about.
September 14, 2007 |
Gardeners can't ever buy enough high-quality, interesting plants and all manner of related stuff, which is one of many reasons to head for the fourth annual GardenFair at Winterthur this weekend. Seventy plant and garden exhibitors from 15 states will be selling everything from tools and outdoor furniture to herbs and trees. Free gardening lectures, how-to demonstrations, and workshops also run throughout the fair. Hank Schannen, owner of Rare Find Nursery in Jackson, N.J., in the northwestern tip of the Pine Barrens, is a GardenFair veteran.
September 7, 2007
Back in June, Joann Taylor thinned out her irises in Portland, Ore., packed about 18 pounds of extra rhizomes into a box, and shipped them off to Cheltenham Township, where she grew up. These irises are special, descended from a variety planted by John McDermott, Taylor's great-grandfather, more than a century ago on the 49-acre estate belonging to the Elkins family, for whom the Cheltenham neighborhood Elkins Park is named. The estate, known as Elstowe Manor, was on Ashbourne Road. McDermott, an Irish immigrant, was the Elkinses' gardener, and as Taylor recounts the story, he loved these flowers so much he planted them at his own house on Beech Avenue.
February 22, 2008
Nina Bassuk, a horticulture professor at Cornell University, is the 2008 recipient of the Scott Medal, given annually by Scott Arboretum, for her "national contributions to the art and science of gardening. " Bassuk is a tree lady with a passion for cities. For almost three decades, she has worked on finding tough plants to withstand stressful urban landscapes, and on making those landscapes less stressful. She developed something called "structural soil," for example, that permits tree roots to survive in compacted soil under sidewalks.
July 8, 2011
For garden-lovers in the Philadelphia area - anywhere, really - there's a new book in town. Published by the University of Pennsylvania Press ($19.77 on Amazon.com), it's called Chanticleer: A Pleasure Garden , by Adrian Higgins with photos by Rob Cardillo. Higgins is the Washington Post's garden editor. Cardillo, who lives in Ambler, is a well-known garden photographer of the first order. In fact, his photographs - almost 100, culled from 4,000 taken over two growing seasons - often threaten to overshadow the prose, only because they're so extraordinary.