Thursday, January 27, 2011

Part I - Favorite Garden Books of Jodi DeLong and Carole Browne

Loads of books to read. Photo by maubrowncow on Flickr.

On cold winter days nothing beats the pleasure of curling up with a good book and a hot drink. That's especially true for gardeners ... who must patiently wait until Mother Nature allows them to finally play in the dirt again.

That's why I asked some garden writers and bloggers to share their favorite gardening books.  Here's what they had to say:

Jodi DeLong is a garden writer, who lives on 7 acres (Zone 5b) in a rural site in Nova Scotia, Canada, overlooking the Bay of Fundy. 

With "hundreds of books" in her library, Jodi is often found with a good book in her hand. And soon, she'll have her own book to hold when Plants for Atlantic Gardens (authored by Jodi) comes out in February - March 2011.

Meanwhile, here are two gardening books Jodi highly recommends:

Native Plants for North American Gardens by Allan Armitage

"Any of Armitage's books are excellent," says Jodi. "But I am especially fond of this book because he looks at natives using a North American perspective - as opposed to merely a county/state/province perspective."

As Jodi explains, "A plant may not be native to my area, but I still plant it knowing it is native elsewhere. And given the right growing conditions it will prosper here too. I'm not a natives-only sort of gardener but have always been interested in them. Reading Armitage's book gives me a far wider perspective on great plants from our continent."

Another one of Jodi's favorites?

Designing with Plants by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury

"Anything that Oudolf writes is worth having," says Jodi. "And Kingsbury is no slouch either. I love this book because it shows how to use certain plants - mostly perennials and some grasses - in wonderful ways, with large drifts focusing on texture, light and foliage color as well as flower or seedhead. They edge into four-season gardening, which I love."

Find Jodi:

Carole Brown gardens in Philadelphia (Zone 6b) in a neighborhood more than 100 years old. The many majestic, old trees in her area can sometimes cause problems with roofs and electric services, but they are home to a large number of birds, especially woodpeckers.

As creator of Ecosystem Gardening, Carole says, "My greatest joy is watching the butterflies, bees and birds who call my garden home. Who needs TV?"

Here are two of her favorite gardening books:

Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East
by Carolyn Summers                                                             

 "Many gardeners are reluctant to use native plants in their gardens because of the stereotype that native plants look wild and messy," explains Carole.

"Carolyn Summers breaks this stereotype down," she says, "by teaching gardeners how to design any style of garden using native plants. She covers formal gardens, cottage gardens, knot gardens and even Japanese style gardens. Summers has included plant lists and resources for each garden style, plus an entire chapter on how to best locate and purchase native plants."

Another favorite book explains how to create meadows in your garden.

Urban and Surburban Meadows: Bringing Meadowscaping to Big and Small Spaces
by Catherine Zimmerman

"A meadow is much more than a collection of wildflowers," says Carole. "It is a living ecosystem which supports butterflies, pollinators, birds and other wildlife. Most books about meadows ignore this fact."

According to Carole, this book does a great job of describing how a meadow community is made when native plants are used correctly to create a garden full of life.

"The book thoroughly describes the process," says Carole. "There are helpful tips for evaluating your site, preparing your space, planting your meadow and maintaining it. Plant lists for every area of the country are featured, as well as a thorough list of local and regional resources to help you make the best plant choices for your areas."

Find Carole:

Gardening books galore! Photo by Canton Public Library (MI)
So, as the snowflakes fall and the winter temperatures keep dropping, be sure to pull out a good book to keep you inspired. More great book suggestions are coming soon from your favorite garden writers and bloggers. Stay tuned!


  1. Teresa, Thanks for asking me to share my favorites. And Jodi, great choices!

  2. My pleasure, Carole. I really enjoyed hearing what you had to say about the flexibility of native plants in different garden settings. Thanks for all the wonderful book recommendations. Teresa

  3. Wonderful selections. Wish I had a meadow to practise on!

  4. Thanks so much for doing this, Teresa; it was a lot of fun to think about some favourites. So many books, so little time...or so few bookshelves!

  5. Such a pleasure, Jodi. I agree with Helen, you all picked some excellent choices. Happy reading everyone!