It's Gardening Season!

We've survived another long winter! If you're like Carla and me, you spent many winter days dreaming about getting back in the garden. We've put together a reading list of books to aid you and inspire you as you get back to your garden or are about to start your first garden. Happy planting and getting dirt under your fingernails!

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The Complete Gardener: A Practical, Imaginative Guide to Every Aspect of Gardening By Monty Don Cover Image
ISBN: 9780241424308
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DK - May 4th, 2021

In the English speaking world, there is no greater gardening media celebrity than Monty Don. Since the retirement from "BBC Gardeners World" of former host Alan Titchmarsh, and the loss after 35 seasons of the PBS show "The Victory Garden," nothing comes close. Streaming (e.g. Britbox) has made this show more readily available. There is a magazine, as well. And more Americans are becoming familiar with British gardens, British plant palettes, and particularly since the pandemic, the gardens of former colonists like us. An update after almost 20 years, which emphasizes sustainability ("peat free") as well as organic techniques and cool plants, this for me is the garden book of the year. P.S. Monty dog fans: there are lots of pics of his golden retrievers and Patti the Yorkie in his Longmeadow garden as well. — Carla

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Passion for Peonies: Celebrating the Culture and Conservation of Nichols Arboretum's Beloved Flower By David Michener, Robert B. Grese Cover Image
ISBN: 9780472037803
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN REGIONAL - April 21st, 2020

The University of Michigan's Nichols Arboretum peony garden is 100 years old in 2022. Herbaceous peonies — the kind that die back completely after frost each year and are not seen again until the following May or June — have fallen in and out of favor over the decades. Right now they are having a moment due to better breeding (less flopping and more floral variety) and their popularity as a reliable and showy perennial that will outlive its owners. Although the Arboretum has the largest public collection of herbaceous peonies in the US, they have recently added Japanese peonies, which bloom earlier and are more expensive, but do not die back over winter. This is the second book on peonies from author and Ann Arbor garden walk fixture David Mitchell, whose co-editor is the former head of U/M's Matthaei Botanical Gardens. — Carla

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Floret Farm's Discovering Dahlias: A Guide to Growing and Arranging Magnificent Blooms (Floret Farms x Chronicle Books) By Erin Benzakein, Julie Chai (With), Chris Benzakein (By (photographer)), Jill Jorgensen (With) Cover Image
By Erin Benzakein, Julie Chai (With), Chris Benzakein (By (photographer)), Jill Jorgensen (With)
ISBN: 9781452181752
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books - March 9th, 2021

I recently spent a half hour in the car talking about the different ways to dig up dahlia tubers (before or after frost), and store and catalog them over winter. This conversation was made possible by a dahlia addict who grows over a 100 cultivars every year. Dahlias are making a comeback, but like peonies, they never really left Michigan. Although my source claims that most of the dahlia collectors he's met look like guys who ride tractors, it's refreshing to see a book authored by the female farmer of Floret's Farm fame (sorry). The huge color, petal, and size variation of dahlia blooms is definitely the best bargain for autumn bouquets. And unlike books that feature warmer climates, there is nothing in this book that you can't put in your own garden. If you want to see a lot of different dahlias in bloom, you can check out Dahlia Hill in Midland, Michigan or the Toledo Botanical Garden. — Carla

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How to Garden When You Rent: Make It Your Own *Keep Your Landlord Happy By Matthew Pottage Cover Image
ISBN: 9780744026924
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DK - March 29th, 2022

When you consider that most people under 35, as well as a large share of people over 35, do not own their own homes, the need for a book that covers how to garden when you occupy a rental seems obvious. Although there are hundreds of books on growing houseplants, this is the first one that I know of that goes beyond indoor plants, to the outside, and to both working with your landlord and figuring out what makes fiscal sense for a property you may only occupy for a year or two. From balcony gardening to containers, small water features, dutch bulbs, and even lighting, the felicitously named Matthew Pottage shows that you don't have to wait to start gardening. — Carla

Midwest Gardener's Handbook, 2nd Edition: All You Need to Know to Plan, Plant & Maintain a Midwest Garden By Melinda Myers Cover Image
ISBN: 9780785839521
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Cool Springs Press - March 15th, 2022

This comprehensive and extensive guide is the best resource for growing in the Midwestern states. Whether you live in Minneapolis, Kansas City, Cleveland, Des Moines, or somewhere in between, Midwest Gardener’s Handbook has you covered.

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England's Magnificent Gardens: How a Billion-Dollar Industry Transformed a Nation, from Charles II to Today By Roderick Floud Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101871034
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - June 15th, 2021

In 2006, William Alexander wrote a book about starting a vegetable garden, where he humorously tallies all of his expenses. That book was called The $64 Tomato, because that's what the author figured out he'd spent per tomato harvested the first year. (That's $90 a tomato in 2022's dollars). Roderick Floud, an economic historian and probable garden enthusiast, has used a much more sophisticated method to compare the true costs that went into building the magnificent National Trust gardens in England. Using the concept of average earnings, the 12 pound annual wage that a worker got in 1750, becomes $33,000 dollars today. This is a very original and highly detailed book that ventures from grand palaces and stately homes up to today's allotments and garden tourism. Along the way, Floud shows that gardening is the number one pastime of Britain, only rivaled by video games and the Internet. — Carla

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The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees By Douglas W. Tallamy Cover Image
ISBN: 9781643260440
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Timber Press - March 30th, 2021

Plant more trees. Especially oaks. To paraphrase Michael Pollan, Doug Tallamy has promoted that it's not enough to plant trees: you should plant the right trees for your region and situation, and in the US the very best tree is often a native oak. They support more varieties of insects, which in turn are the major source of food for most native birds and pollinators for plants. Tallamy is probably the most celebrated entomologist since E.O. Wilson. — Carla

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The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature By Sue Stuart-Smith Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476794488
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Published: Scribner - May 4th, 2021

There have been other books about the positive relationship of gardening to mental health, but probably none where the author was so qualified to write it. Sue Stuart-Smith is both a psychotherapist and the wife and co-gardener of Tom Stuart-Smith, frequent gold medalist at the annual Chelsea Flower Show. The Well-Gardened Mind made many "best of" booklists in the UK, including "Gardening Book of the Year" in 2020. — Carla

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Grow Bulbs: Essential Know-how And Expert Advice For Gardening Success (DK Grow) By Stephanie Mahon Cover Image
ISBN: 9780744048032
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DK - March 15th, 2022

There haven't been many new books on flower bulbs in recent years. Here's a secret: Michigan is a great place to plant outdoor bulbs. Most of the better known ones don't care if it snows in April after their foliage is up. If a rabbit bites off a tulip, it will probably flower again next year. Even a leaky sprinkler won't always cause a bulb to rot. This book will show you which bulbs will produce blooms year after year, which ones can be divided to produce more plants, and how to stack them all in a container for maximum impact. — Carla

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Deer-Resistant Design: Fence-free Gardens that Thrive Despite the Deer By Karen Chapman Cover Image
ISBN: 9781604698497
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Timber Press - July 23rd, 2019

If you are like me, you like seeing deer anywhere but your own garden. The only reliable way to keep a hungry deer out is an 8 foot high stockade fence, or two 5-foot fences placed a few feet apart, making it too hard for deer to jump over. Few homeowners have the space or the money, or even their HOA or city zoning code's approval. This book provides plans and examples from actual gardens, for designing a garden and garden beds that let you decide what to give over to deer and what to defend. Using plants less popular with deer (the prickly, the scented, the felted, and the bad-tasting) and allowing for well-established deer trails, you can learn to co-exist. — Carla

Grow: A Family Guide to Plants and How to Grow Them By Riz Reyes, Sara Boccaccini Meadows (Illustrator) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419756658
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - March 1st, 2022

Creating a beautiful garden first begins with creative planning. This beautifully illustrated table-top size book is a terrific step-by-step introduction to growing and caring for plants, for gardening beginners and green thumbs alike. The eye-catching layout provides inspiring user-friendly information and instructions to help you be a better plant parent. I can't get enough of looking through this book! — Vick

The Little Flower Recipe Book: 148 Tiny Arrangements for Every Season and Occasion By Jill Rizzo Cover Image
ISBN: 9781648290534
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Artisan - April 12th, 2022

Florist Jill Rizzo (coauthor of the bestselling Flower Recipe Book) has returned with a charming new "recipe book" for floral arranging, this one dedicated to creating miniature arrangements. Each arrangement, shown in exquisitely inspiring photographs, is precious and easy for anyone to recreate. Flowering garden plants are not just for gazing at — many continue to produce flowers throughout the season if pruned, and those pruned flowers are perfect in vases. This book has great ideas and makes me very happy to flip through! — Vick

Garden Allies: The Insects, Birds, and Other Animals That Keep Your Garden Beautiful and Thriving By Frederique Lavoipierre Cover Image
ISBN: 9781643260082
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Timber Press - September 28th, 2021

With beautiful pen-and-ink drawings by Craig Latker, Garden Allies invites you to make friends with the creatures that fill your garden—the reward is a renewed sense of nature’s beauty and a garden humming with life. 

Field Manual of Michigan Flora By Edward G. Voss, Anton A. Reznicek, U-M Herbarium Cover Image
Email or call 734-585-5567 for price
ISBN: 9780472118113
Published: UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN REGIONAL - February 8th, 2012

This book is an essential reference for anyone interested in appreciating Michigan's natural heritage and understanding our ever-changing environment.