Tag Archives: books

Local Gardening Books for the DC Metro Area

In the upcoming weeks there will be two new books related to gardening and gardens in this area, which are listed below. Because of this, I updated my page on my website entitled “Local Books.” Below is the same list, in chronological order, with the most recently published listed first up to the year 2000. These are about local public gardens as well as gardening in the DC metro area.

A Garden for All Seasons: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Hillwood by Kate Markert and Erik Kvalsvik, Rizzoli Electa, 2020

Grow Great Vegetables in Virginia by Ira Wallace, Timber Press, 2020

All the Presidents’ Gardens: Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses: How the White House Grounds Have Grown with America by Marta McDowell, Timber Press, 2016

Mid-Atlantic Gardeners Handbook: Your Complete Guide: Select, Plan, Plant, Maintain, Problem Solve by Katie Elzer-Peters, Cool Springs Press, 2016

Gardens of Georgetown: Exploring Urban Treasures, text by Edith Nalle Schafer; photos by Jenny Gorman, Georgetown Garden Club, 2015

Maryland’s Public Gardens and Parks by Barbara Glickman, Schiffer Publishers, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Month-by-Month Gardening: What to Do Each Month to Have a Beautiful Garden All Year by George Weigel, Cool Springs Press, 2015

Chesapeake Gardening and Landscaping: The Essential Green Guide by Barbara W. Ellis; photographs by Neil Soderstrom, University of North Carolina Press in association with the Adkins Arboretum, 2015

Maymont: An American Estate (Richmond, VA) by Dale Cyrus Wheary, Scala Arts Publishers in association with the Maymont Foundation, 2015

Mid-Atlantic: Getting Started Garden Guide: Grow the Best Flowers, Shrubs, Trees, Vines and Groundcovers by Andre Viette, Mark Viette, and Jacqueline Heriteau, Cool Springs Press, 2015

The General in the Garden: George Washington’s Landscape at Mt. Vernon by Susan P. Schoelwer, editor, Mt. Vernon Ladies’ Association, 2015

Native Plants for Northern Virginia by the Virginia Native Plant Society, available via Plant NoVA Natives and in its third edition, 2015

Great Perennial Plants, Vines, and Bulbs Guide for the Mid-Atlantic Garden by Donna Williamson, self-published, electronic and available via Amazon, 2014

The Mid-Atlantic Garden: An Insider’s Guide to a Successful Lower Maintenance Garden by Donna Williamson, self-published, electronic and available via Amazon, 2014

Thomas Jefferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello by Peter J. Hatch, Yale University Press, 2014

Take Our Advice: A Handbook for Gardening in Northern Virginia by Margaret Fisher, Student Peace Awards of Fairfax, 2014

The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast by Ira Wallace, Timber Press, 2013

Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Gardening: Plant, Grow, and Harvest the Best Edibles: DE, MD, PA, VA, DC, and WV by Katie Elzer-Peters, Cool Springs Press, 2013

Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way: 18th Century Methods for Today’s Organic Gardeners by Wesley Greene, Rodale Press, 2012

American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America by Michelle Obama, Crown Publishing Group, 2012

Capital Splendor: Parks and Gardens of Washington DC by Valerie Brown, Barbara Glickman Countryman Press, 2012

A Guide to Smithsonian Gardens by Carole Otteson, Smithsonian Books, 2011

Historic Virginia Gardens: Preservation Work of the Garden Club of Virginia by Margaret Page Bemiss, University of Virginia Press, 2009

Virginia’s Historic Homes and Gardens by Pat Blackley and Chuck Blackley, Voyageur Press, 2009

The Virginia’s Garden Companion: An Insider Guide to Low Maintenance Gardening in Virginia by Donna Williamson, Morris Book Publishing, 2008

Garden Walks in the Southeast: Beautiful Gardens from Washington to the Gulf Coast by Marina Harrison, Lucy Rosenfeld, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2006

Garden Walks in the Mid-Atlantic States: Beautiful Gardens from New York to Washington DC by Marina Harrison, Lucy Rosenfeld, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2005

The American Horticultural Society Guide to American Public Gardens and Arboreta:  Gardens Across America, Volume 1, East of the Mississippi by Thomas S. Spencer and John J. Russell, Taylor Trade Publishing, 2005

A City of Gardens: Glorious Public Gardens In and Around the Nation’s Capital by Barbara Seeber, Capital Books, 2004

Month by Month Gardening in the Mid-Atlantic by André and Mark Viette and Jacqueline Hériteau, Cool Springs Press, 2004

Selecting, Growing and Combining Outstanding Perennials: Mid-Atlantic and New England Edition by Teri Dunn, André Viette, Mark Viette, Jacqueline Hériteau, Cool Springs Press, 2003

Mid-Atlantic Gardener’s Guide by André and Mark Viette and Jacqueline Hériteau, Cool Springs Press, 2003

Barnes & Noble Complete Illustrated Guidebook to Washington, D.C.’s Public Parks and Gardens, published by Silver Lining Books, 2003

Complete Illustrated Guide to Washington DC’s Public Parks and Gardens by Richard Berenson, Silver Lining, 2003

The Virginia Fruit and Vegetable Book by Felder Rushing and Walter Reeves, Cool Springs Press, 2002

Virginia Gardeners Guide by Jacqueline Heriteau, Cool Springs Press, 2001

The New York/Mid-Atlantic Gardener’s Book of Lists by Bonnie Lee Appleton, Cooper Square Press, 2001

Some Like It Hot and Some Like It Cold

warm season tomato plants for sale in March will not like the cool evenings if planted in the ground

One of my first lessons in growing vegetables and herbs is learning the plant’s preference for temperature. To keep it simple, there are cool season and warm season crops. Getting to know what the plant prefers determines when to buy/plant, what to buy/plant, where to buy/plant, and when to harvest/eat!

In the mid-Atlantic area, typical cool season plants are anything in the cabbage family (cabbage, broccoli, collard, Brussels sprout), lettuce, pea, kale, chervil, dill, cilantro, leek, scallions, radish, spinach, arugula, beet, pak choi or bok choy, carrot, mustard, parsnip, turnip, and Swiss chard.

cool season lettuce for sale in March will like the cool temperatures if planted in the ground

Some can continue to grow well during the summer such as spring onions and Swiss chard. Other cool season lovers “bolt” when it warms up in May/June. For example, cilantro will bolt, that is, flower and set seed, in May. This is good if you want the seed, also known as coriander, but bad if you want to continue to harvest the leaves. When the plant bolts, the leaves become bitter and eventually the plant will die because it is an annual.

Most people associate the warm season edibles with summer itself. These include tomato, basil, fennel, eggplant, pepper, corn, summer/winter squash, zucchini, melon, watermelon, cucumber, okra, and pumpkins. These will not tolerate the frosts we may get in the spring evenings so it is best to start them outdoors after the last average frost date in mid-May.

Frequently you will see both types of plants for sale as early as March. These photos were take at a local hardware store in March last year. Basil, a summer lover, is especially sensitive to cold. If one were to purchase these basil plants and put them in the garden unprotected they may die because there is still the likelihood of frost in early spring.

basil plants for sale in March may even die from a late spring freeze

In my zone 7 garden, the cool season plants/seeds should be started outside in mid-March to the beginning of April. The warm season plants/seeds should be started in early May to the end of May. If you do not know what your vegetable or herb prefers, there are several ways to figure this out:

Read the seed packet or label
Read seed catalogs
Research on the internet
Read local gardening books
Visit garden nurseries and ask knowledgeable staff.

The books I found most useful books for this area are listed below and are easy to get from the library or bookstore. Knowing the plant’s preference will help you figure out when to start your seed and/or when to purchase plants.

The Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook by Ron Kujawski & Jennifer Kujawski (Storey Publishing, 2010)
The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast by Ira Wallace (of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange) (Timber Press, 2013)
The Year Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour (Storey Publishing, 2011)
Gardening in the Mid-Atlantic, Month-by Month by Andre and Mark Viette with Jacqueline Heriteau (Cool Springs Press, 2008)

broccoli for sale in March will thrive in the cool season

New Gardening Books Published in 2019

Every month I list newly published gardening books on my website under “New Books: 2019” Now that we are mid-year, I thought I would share the 77 titles I have printed so far because this is a great resource for summer reading as well as gift ideas. My 2018 list, which totaled 86 books, is archived under “Books from 2018“. Of course this is not all gardening books, just my recommendations from looking at publishers’ websites, checking with Amazon, or hearing from the authors themselves.

July 2019

Botany at the Bar: The Art and Science of Making Bitters by Selena Ahmed, Ashley Duval, and Rachel Meyer, Roost Books

Compost Teas for the Organic Grower by Eric Fisher, Chelsea Green Publishing

Deer-resistant Design: Fence-free Gardens that Thrive Despite Deer, by Karen Chapman, Timber Press

DIY Mushroom Cultivation: Growing Mushrooms at Home for Food, Medicine, and Soil by Willoughby Arevalo, New Society Publishers

Field Guide to Urban Gardening: How to Grow Plants, No Matter Where you Live by Kevin Espiritu, Cool Springs Press

Grow Your Own Herbs: The 40 Best Culinary Varieties for Home Gardens by Susan Belsinger and Arthur O. Tucker, Timber Press

How to Make a Plant Love You: Cultivate Green Space in Your Home and Heart by Summer Rayne Oakes, Optimism Press

Naturalistic Planting Design by Nigel Dunnett, Filbert Press

Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Start and Sustain a Thriving Garden by Tammy Wylie, Rockridge Press

June 2019

The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration by Chris Smith, Chelsea Green Publishing

Plant Parenting by Leslie Halleck, Timber Press

Temperate Garden Plant Families by Peter Goldblatt and John C. Manning, Timber Press

Wildflowers of the Atlantic Southeast, a Timber Press Field Guide by Laura Cotterman, Damon Waitt, and Alan Weakley, Timber Press

Edible Paradise: How to Grow Herbs, Flowers, Vegetables and Fruit in Any Space by Vera Greutink Chelsea Green Publishing

Grow Your Own Botanicals by Cinead McTernan, Octopus

Urban Garden Design by Kate Gould, Octopus

The Bonsai Book: The Definitive Illustrated Guide by Dan Barton, Racehorse Publishing

The Crafty Garden: Inspired Ideas and DIY Crafts from Your Own Backyard by Becca Anderson, Mango

Gardener’s Guide to Compact Plants: Edibles and Ornamentals for Small Space Gardening by Jessica Walliser, Cool Springs Press

Funky Little Flower Farm by Jenks Farmer, self-published

May 2019

Sand and Soil: Creating Beautiful Gardens on Cape Cod and the Islands by C. L. Fornari, David R. Godine Publisher

The Posy Book: Garden-Inspired Bouquets That Tell a Story, Teresa H. Sabankaya, Countryman Press

Beyond Rosemary, Basil and Thyme: Unusual, Interesting and Uncommon Herbs to Enjoy by Theresa Mieseler, Shady Acres Herb Farm

Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies: How to Create a Customized Herb Garden to Support Your Health and Well-Being by Maria Noel Groves, Storey Publishing

Straw Bale Gardens: Complete Updated Edition by Joel Karsten, Cool Springs Press

Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal, Skyhorse Publishing

The Kew Gardener’s Guide to Growing House Plants: The Art and Science to Grow Your Own House Plants by Kay Maguire, White Lion Publishing

Creative Terrariums: 33 Modern Mini-Gardens for Your Home by Enid G. Svymbersky, Fox Chapel Publishing

The Art of the Japanese Garden: History, Culture and Design by David Young, Michiko Young, and illustrator Tan Hong Yew, Tuttle Publishing

In Bloom: Growing, Harvesting, and Arranging Homegrown Flowers All Year Round by Clare Nolan, Companion House Books

In the Garden Compendium by Euan Hillhouse Methven Cox (E.H.M. Cox), Manic D Press Inc.

Growing Your Own Tea Garden: The Guide to Growing and Harvesting Flavorful Teas in your Backyard by Jodi Helmer, Companion House Books

Propagating Plants: How to Create New Plants for Free by Alan Toogood, DK Publishing

April 2019

The Plant Hunter: Truth, Beauty, Chaos, and Plants by Georgina Reid, photographs by Daniel Shipp, Timber Press

The Tree Book: Superior Selections for Landscapes, Streetscapes and Gardens by Michael A. Dirr and Keith S. Warren, Timber Press

A Way to Garden: A Hands-On Primer for Every Season by Margaret Roach, Timber Press

Everyday Sanctuary: A Workbook for Designing a Sacred Garden Space by Jessi Bloom, Timber Press

Lazy-Ass Gardening: Maximize Your Soil, Minimize Your Toil by Robert Kourik, Chelsea Green Publishing

Living Décor: Plants, Potting and DIY Projects by Maria Colletti, Cool Springs Press

The School Garden Curriculum by Kaci Rae Christopher, New Society Publishers

Bug-Free Organic Gardening: Controlling Pest Insects Without Chemicals by Anna Hess, Skyhorse Publishing

Nature Play at Home: Creating Outdoor Spaces that Connect Children with the Natural World by Nancy Striniste, Timber Press

Vegetable Gardening Wisdom: Daily Advice and Inspiration for Getting the Most from Your Garden by Kelly Smith Trimble, Storey Publishing

Tulips: Beautiful Varieties for Home and Garden by Jane Eastoe and Photographs by Rachel Warne, Gibbs Smith

Gardentopia: Design Basics for Creating Beautiful Outdoor Spaces by Jan Johnsen, Countryman Press

From Garden to Glass: 80 Botanical Beverages Made from the Finest Fruits, Cordials and Infusions by David Hurst, Universe

How to Grow Roses: A Comprehensive Illustrated Directory of Types and Techniques by Andrew Mikolajski, Lorenz Books

The Herbal Kitchen: Bringing Lasting Health to You and Your Family with 50 Easy-to-Find Common Herbs and Over 250 Recipes by Kami McBride, Conari Press

March 2019

Growing Perennial Foods: A Field Guide to Raising Resilient Herbs, Fruits and Vegetables by Acadia Tucker, Stone Pier Press

Homegrown and Handpicked: A Year in a Gardening Life by Carol Michel, Gardenangelist Books

Beginner Gardening Step by Step: A Visual Guide to Yard and Garden Basics by DK Publishing

A Beginner’s Guide to Succulent Gardening by Taku Furuya, Tuttle Publishing

100 Japanese Gardens by Stephen Mansfield, Tuttle Publishing

Trees of Power: Ten Essential Arboreal Allies by Akiva Silver, Chelsea Green Publishing

Year-Round Gardening: Growing Vegetables and Herbs, Inside or Outside, in Every Season by Lena Israelsson, Skyhorse Publishing

Companion Planting: Organic Gardening Tips and Tricks for Healthier, Happier Plants by Allison Greer and Tim Greer, Skyhorse Publishing

The New Plant Parent: Develop Your Green Thumb and Care for Your House-plant Family by Darryl Cheng, Abrams Image

Master Recipes from the Herbal Apothecary: 375 Tinctures, Salves, Teas, Capsules, Oils, and Washes for Whole-body Health and Wellness by JJ Pursell and Photographs by Shawn Linehan, Timber Press

Living with Air Plants: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing and Displaying Tillandsia by Yoshiharu kashima (Protoleaf) and Yukihiro Matsuda (Brocante), Tuttle Publishing

Do It Yourself Garden Projects and Crafts: 60 Planters, Bird houses, Lotion Bars, Garlands, and More by Debbie Wolfe, Skyhorse publishing

February 2019

The Inspired Houseplant: Transform Your Home with Indoor Plants from Kokedama to Terrariums and Water Gardens to Edibles, by Jen Stearns, Penguin Random House

Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs by Sally Cunningham and Jim Charlier, St. Lynn’s Press

A Taste for Herbs: Your Guide to Seasonings, Mixes and Blends from the Herb Lover’s Garden by Sue Goetz, St. Lynns’ Press

A Garden Can Be Anywhere: Creating Bountiful and Beautiful Edible Gardens by Lauri Kranz, Abrams Publishing

Gardening with Biochar: Supercharge Your Soil with Bioactivated Charcoal: Grow Healthier Plants, Create Nutrient-Rich Soil, and Increase Your Harvest by Jeff Cox, Storey Publishing

Herbal Handbook for the Homesteaders: Farmed and Foraged Herbal Remedies and Recipes by Abby Artemisia, Voyageur Press

Practical Cactus and Succulent Book: How to Choose, Nurture and Display 200 Cacti and Succulents by Fran Bailey and Zia Allaway, DK publishing

The Kitchen Garden: A Month-by-month Guide to Growing Your Own Fruits and Vegetables by Alan Buckingham, DK publishing

Vegetables, Chickens, and Bees: An Honest Guide to Growing Your Own Food Anywhere by Carson Arthur, Random House

Rustic Garden Projects: Step-by-step Backyard Décor from Trellises to Tree Swings, Stone Steps to Stained Glass by Marianne Svard Haggvik, Skyhorse Publishing

Shrubs: Discover the Perfect Plant for Every Place in Your Garden by Andy McIndoe, Timber Press

Pruning Simplified: A Step-by-step Guide to 50 Popular Trees and Shrubs by Steven Bradley, Timber Press

The Proven Winners Garden Book: Simple Plans, Picture-perfect Plants, and Expert Advice for Creating a Gorgeous Garden by Ruth Rogers Clausen and Thomas Christopher, Timber Press

January 2019

The Herbal Recipe Keeper: My Collection of Healing Plant Remedies and Essential Oil Blends by Francoise Weeks, Timber Press

Mastering the Art of Vegetable Gardening: Rare Varieties, Unusual Options, Plant Lore and Guidance by Matt Mattus, Cool Springs Press

The New Farmer’s Almanac, Volume IV by Greenhorns (a ten-year-old grassroots organization whose mission is to promote, support and recruit the incoming generation of organic farms and rangers), Chelsea Green Publishing

Farming for the Long Haul by Michael Foley, Chelsea Green Publishing

March Deal: Discount on Growing Perennial Foods Book

Every month I list gardening books that have just been or will be published on my website, pegplant.com. In addition, I link to this cumulative list in my monthly newsletter, Pegplant’s Post. This is a great resource for gardeners–you can keep abreast of current gardening trends and techniques, and you can use this list as a resource for gift ideas for fellow gardeners or just for you! This month, Stone Pier Press, publisher of Acadia Tucker’s book Growing Perennial Foods: A Field Guide to Raising Resilient Herbs, Fruits and Vegetables, is offering a 20 percent discount on the book. Acadia is a regenerative farmer who is concerned about global warming and believes that perennial foods can weather the climate extremes better than annuals. This book is for people who want to grow food, i.e., herbs, fruits and vegetables, and are concerned about climate change. To obtain the 20% discount, use the code PEGPLANT20 when ordering from the Stone Pier Press site. This offer is good from March 1 to 31, 2019.

Day Trip: Visit a Public Garden This Summer

Summer is the time for traveling, exploring, and spending time with family. Thinking of where to go? Consider public gardens and arboreta. Many of these are historic places as well, great for teaching your kids. On my website, pegplant.com, I list gardening books written specifically for the Washington DC metro area. Several of these books, copied and pasted below, are resources listing botanical, public, or historic gardens in east coast states. Check out these books from your local library and plan a day trip with the family. Enjoy your summer!

  • Maryland’s Public Gardens and Parks by Barbara Glickman, Schiffer Publishers, 2015
  • Capital Splendor: Parks and Gardens of Washington DC by Valerie Brown, Barbara Glickman Countryman Press, 2012
  • A Guide to Smithsonian Gardens by Carole Otteson, Smithsonian Books, 2011
  • Historic Virginia Gardens: Preservation Work of the Garden Club of Virginia by Margaret Page Bemiss, University of Virginia Press, 2009
  • Virginia’s Historic Homes and Gardens by Pat Blackley and Chuck Blackley, Voyageur Press, 2009
  • Garden Walks in the Southeast: Beautiful Gardens from Washington to the Gulf Coast by Marina Harrison, Lucy Rosenfeld, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2006
  • Garden Walks in the Mid-Atlantic States: Beautiful Gardens from New York to Washington DC by Marina Harrison, Lucy Rosenfeld, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2005
  • The American Horticultural Society Guide to American Public Gardens and Arboreta:  Gardens Across America, Volume 1, East of the Mississippi by Thomas S. Spencer and John J. Russell, Taylor Trade Publishing, 2005
  • A City of Gardens: Glorious Public Gardens In and Around the Nation’s Capital by Barbara Seeber, Capital Books, 2004
  • Barnes & Noble Complete Illustrated Guidebook to Washington, D.C.’s Public Parks and Gardens, published by Silver Lining Books, 2003
  • Complete Illustrated Guide to Washington DC’s Public Parks and Gardens by Richard Berenson, Silver Lining, 2003

Peg’s Picks: February 2018 New Gardening Books

It is amazing to me how many gardening books are published in our country. These are new gardening books that have been or will be published in the month of February. As with my Peg’s Picks of monthly gardening events, this is my Peg’s Picks of books — a collection of what I have heard from colleagues as well as what I have read on publishers’ sites. Click on the publisher’s name for a description. Previous Peg’s Picks are at the “New Books: 2018“tab.

Practical Houseplant Book by Zia Allaway and Fran Bailey, DK Publishing

Grow Something Different to Eat: Weird and Wonderful Heirloom Fruits and Vegetables for Your Garden by Matthew Biggs, DK Publishing

How to Window Box: Small-Space Plants to Grow Indoors or Out by Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit (founders of The Horticult, a blog), Penguin Random House

Our Native Bees: America’s Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them by Paige Embry, Timber Press

Designing with Palms by Jason Dewees and Photographs by Caitlin Atkinson, Timber Press

The Less Is More Garden: Big Ideas for Designing Your Small Yard by Susan Morrison, Timber Press

The Flower-Powered Garden: Supercharge Your Borders and Containers with Bold Colorful Plant Combinations by Andy Vernon, Timber Press

Gardening Complete: How to Best Grow Vegetables, Flowers, and Outdoor Plants by the authors of Cool Springs Press (eight authors)

Veggie Garden Remix: 224 New Plants to Shake up Your Garden and Add Variety of Flavor and Fun by Niki Jabbour, Storey Publishing

The Budget-Wise Gardener with Hundreds of Money-Saving Buying and Design Tips for Planting the Best for Less, by Kerry Ann Mendez, St. Lynn’s Press

Garden Builder: Complete Plans for Outdoor Projects You Can Build by JoAnne Moser, Cool Springs Press

Discovering New Gardening Products at the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show

As mentioned in my January 14th article, last week I attended the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS), an annual horticulture trade show at the Baltimore Convention Center.  MANTS is one of the largest shows with over 10,000 attendees and almost a thousand companies exhibiting at booths in the Convention Center. Almost all the companies are wholesale, they are not selling directly to customers or to press such as myself. However, I enjoy attending because it provides me a glimpse of new products and plants and trends in the gardening world.

There were a few products that caught my eye and although the companies attended MANTS for wholesale orders, these companies below said they sell directly to gardeners through their websites.

Through a fellow Garden Writers Association member Ruth Rogers Clausen, I met Dorian Winslow, president of Womanswork, a women-owned, family business in New York.  Womanswork specializes in gloves that fit well for women (although they also sell gloves for men), gardening aprons, raffia and cotton hats, gardening tools, and related items such as hand cream and poison ivy soap. This company sells to garden centers and online directly to gardeners. For over 30 years, they have been specializing in gloves designed to fit women’s hands. Ruth attested to that, she has been using the products for so many years, she is even featured in their catalog. Not only was Dorian a delightful person to talk with but I also found out that she was interviewed recently by one of my favorite podcasters, Jennifer Jewell of Cultivating Place.

I also had the pleasure of seeing Mark Highland again, owner of Organic Mechanics Soil Company, a manufacturer and distributor of premier organic and peat-free potting soils and soil amendments in Pennsylvania. Gardeners can buy products from the site or search the retailer locator for stores. Mark gave a presentation at the Garden Bloggers Fling in June and generously gave us samples of Fuhgeddaboudit! Root Zone Feeder Packs. These small packages of fertilizer, mycorrhizae, biochar, azomite, and micronized oyster shell are placed under or next to a plant’s root ball when planting to help the plant get established. At MANTS, he gave a presentation on Biochar Blend, a bag of biochar, compost, worm castings, bone char, azomite, zeolite, alfalfa meal, and kelp meal. Biochar is highly porous carbon that improves nutrition absorption and provides a permanent home for beneficial soil biology. Biochar can help boost yields and increase the effectiveness of plants’ growth — the best part is that it only has be applied once and will last a lifetime. Mark also published Practical Organic Gardening: The No-Nonsense Guide to Growing Naturally (Cool Springs Press, 2017).

One company that was new to me was City Farmer USA, based in Nevada. Bruce Lebish, president, explained that his company sells raised, plastic planters that gardeners could order directly from their website. They have to be assembled (the instructions on their website look simple) and the models they had at MANTS were black with a strong oriental/bamboo texture because of their woven sides. 

Apparently this woven side is a patented ventilation design that promotes healthy root systems and the patented base retain water. The basket (where you put the soil and plants) is either 16 inches high from the ground or 30 inches, eliminating the need to bend down (may also be wheelchair friendly). There are different sizes and if you buy a few configurations and line them up they would create a very beautiful container appearance on a deck or patio.

More new products and plants in future articles!

Peg’s Picks: January 2018 New Gardening Books

Many of you are familiar with my Peg’s Picks of monthly gardening events which I post on my site at the end of each month and on the tab “Classes, Events.” With the new year, I am starting Peg’s Picks of gardening books. This will be posted each month on my site and in the new tab “New Books: 2018.”

I deliberately use “Peg’s Picks” to imply that these are not all gardening books but rather a subset: for adults (i.e., not children’s books), about gardening, and likely about gardening in this area of the world. These books are a collection of what I have heard about from colleagues and read about on publishers’ sites with a link to the publisher’s description of the book. If you have a book that will be published soon, please contact me and I would be happy to list it.

The following books have been or will be published in January 2018. Stay tuned for February’s list which is quite a bit longer!

The Bonsai Beginner’s Bible: The Definitive Guide to Choosing and Growing Bonsai by Peter Chan, publisher is Mitchell Beazley

The New Seed-Starters Handbook by Nancy Bubel and Jean Nick, revised, publisher is Rodale Books

Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: the Indispensable Green Source for Every Gardener edited by Fern Marshall Brady, Barbara W. Ellis, and Ellen Phillips with Deborah L. Martin, publisher is Rodale Books

An Abundance of Flowers: More Great Flower Breeders of the Past by Judith M. Taylor, publisher is Swallow Press

The Colorful Dry Garden: Over 100 Flowers and Vibrant Plants for Drought, Desert and Dry Times by Maureen Gilmer, publisher is Sasquatch Books

What’s the Perfect Holiday Gift for Gardeners? Award-Winning Gardening Books!

If you are looking for a holiday gift for the gardener in your life, look to the American Horticultural Society’s (AHS) award winning books for 2017. For more than two decades, the AHS has recognized outstanding gardening books published in North America with its annual book award program. AHS is an educational, non-profit organization dedicated to making America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens. Books are judged by the AHS Book Award Committee on qualities such as writing style, authority, originality, accuracy, and design quality. This year’s five recipients are:

Contact your local bookstore to purchase.  For more information about the awards program and books that have received awards in past years, visit www.ahsgardening.org/awards.

*Thomas Christopher does not have a website at this time but he is on Facebook.

Give an Award-Winning Gardening Book for the Holidays

9781604695533r A great source of gift ideas for the gardeners in your life is the American Horticultural Society’s annual book award program. The American Horticultural Society is an educational, non-profit organization dedicated to making America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens.  Over the last two decades, they have been recognizing outstanding gardening books published in North America. Books are judged by the AHS Book Award Committee on qualities such as writing style, authority, originality, accuracy, and design quality. The five recipients for 2016 are:

  • The Art of Gardening by the Chanticleer Gardeners and R. William Thomas (Timber Press)
  • How Plants Work by Linda Chalker-Scott (Timber Press)
  • Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West (Timber Press)
  • The Seed Garden edited by Lee Buttala and Shanyn Siegel, with contributors Micaela Colley and Jared Zystro (Seed Savers Exchange)
  • Seeing Seeds by Robert Llewellyn and Teri Dunn Chace (Timber Press)

9781604693386rThe 2016 Book Award Committee was comprised of the following seven members: Jeff Cox, a garden communicator and designer in Sonoma County, CA; Rita Hassert, a botanical librarian at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL; Susan Hines, a garden communicator in Hyattsville, MD; Jim Long, garden communicator and owner of Long Creek Nursery in Blue Eye, MO; Mary Ann Newcomer, a garden communicator in Boise, ID; Doug Oster, a garden columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and radio personality based in Pennsylvania, PA; and Anne Marie Van Nest, a garden communicator and horticulturist in the Niagara Falls area of New York.