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Wondering what gardening books to read next? Here are some of our favorite books that were released over the past year.
by Thomas Christopher; photographs by Ngoc Minh Ngo (Timber Press, 2019)
Take a deep dive into Wave Hill, the world-renowned public garden in the Bronx, N.Y., with Nature into Art. Thomas Christopher provides a compelling history of the property and its 1960s development into a public garden, with a focus on the experimental approach of founding director of horticulture Marco Polo Stufano and his original team, who eschewed plans on paper and catering to the typical expectations for a public garden. Preserving the incredible views from this Palisades-side property and celebrating the sheer beauty of plants drove many decisions, rather than convention. The tradition of “plants first” is continued today by current head Louis Bauer, who also places much stock in Wave Hill’s roster of gardeners, giving them great ownership over its various spaces. This book will be a favorite of Wave Hill visitors as well as those who have not made the journey, as its story is both fascinating and useful to those gardeners who enjoy experimenting with plants and design, too.
A Garden Miscellany
by Suzanne Staubach; illustrated by Julia Yellow (Timber Press, 2019)
Build your knowledge of garden-design details and their history with this unique book that blends the practical with the poetic. Staubach defines quirky and compelling constructs, such as follies and allees, while dreamy illustrations drive home her definitions. Read this book ahead of spring’s garden tours so you can identify key elements as you spot them and dazzle your companions with their provenance.
by Georgina Reid; photographs by Daniel Shipp (Timber Press, 2019)
This is a book for any gardener who finds the person behind a garden as fascinating as the plants within it. Reid and Shipp sought plant lovers the world over to feature in this book, which as a whole represents the meaning that tending plants and designing gardens bring into our lives. The people and places profiled here are wonderfully diverse, making for a continually interesting read and many chances to reflect on the gardening life.
The Leaf Supply Guide to Creating Your Indoor Jungle
by Sophia Kaplan and Lauren Camilleri (Smith Street Books, 2019)
For this book, Australian nurserywomen Sophia Kaplan and Lauren Camilleri drew from their experience running their Sydney shop, Leaf Supply, as well as interactions with indoor-plant enthusiasts from around the world. Houseplant newbies and diehard indoor gardeners alike will enjoy this thick volume, which offers a meaty section on essential species and their care before delving into design advice based on the specific rooms of a home. The real treat comes in the section named “The Jungles,” where Kaplan and Camilleri introduce a dozen plant lovers and their unique, artfully displayed collections.
by Umberto Pasti and Ngoc Minh Ngo (Rizzoli, 2019)
Rohuna is the Moroccan garden of Italian writer and garden designer Umberto Pasti. For Eden Revisited, he teamed with writer and photographer Ngoc Minh Ngo to tell the story of this enchanting space perched on a hillside south of Tangier. A long-time visitor of Morocco, Pasti noticed the decline of its wildflowers as development increased, and so over the past decades he assembled his garden with indigenous plants he rescued from local construction sites, as well as with exotic species that interpret a range of European approaches to garden design. This book and its gorgeous imagery captures the spirit of the garden, its exuberant mastermind and the local friends with whom he partnered in its creation.
Gardener’s Guide to Compact Plants
by Jessica Walliser (Cool Springs Press, 2019)
In her latest written venture, Jessica Walliser branches out from beneficial insects to take a look at scaled-down plants that suit the tighter quarters in which many gardeners find themselves today. She covers ornamental and edible plants alike here, for containers or in the ground. These tidy yet pretty or productive species and varieties represent the delight that small spaces can provide, but Walliser recognizes the problems that can arise and presents solutions. For example, the trend toward larger houses on smaller lots often results in a loss of privacy, so Walliser shows how to shield your small-space garden from view using tall and slender selections. Whether your yard space is small overall or you want to create some sweet vignettes within a larger landscape, this book will help.
The Pollinator Victory Garden
by Kim Eierman (Quarry Books, 2020)
Horticulturist, landscape designer and educator Kim Eierman outlines how certain changes and additions to any garden can make it more supportive of pollinators, be they bees, bats, beetles or birds. This book provides an in-depth education of how pollination works and what pollinators need to thrive, and then translates that information into actionable steps to take in the garden. Following the main chapters of The Pollinator Victory Garden is a valuable appendix that distills much of Eierman’s advice into checklists and plant lists. Bulleted lists and sidebars throughout the book take its practical value even further. All told this is a very handy manual for anyone interested in combating pollinator decline by starting at home.
by Mike Lizotte; photography by Rob Cardillo (Storey Publishing, 2019)
The co-owner of American Meadows, a Vermont-based mail-order nursery and seed house, Mike Lizotte is well versed in wildflowers and their applications in the garden. His book translates the concept of a prairie or meadow for the space and time that the average garden may have to devote to one today. Meadow strategies and mixes are outlined for specific situations, including hillsides, parking strips and boggy spots, among others. Lizotte’s enthusiasm and expertise shows on every page, and Rob Cardillo’s beautiful photography makes the call of the mini meadow even harder to resist.