Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tips, Techniques & Projects for a Bountiful Garden

- Jeff Cox's 100 Greatest Garden Ideas -- Tips, Techniques & Projects for a Bountiful Garden & A Beautiful Backyard

Jeff breaks down his tips into the four seasons, making it very easy to look up what you are seeking. He has gardened for 30 or more years. With a lot of trial and error of thousands of tips he has picked 100 of the most successful.

- Landscaping with Wildflowers -- An Environmental Approach to Gardening, by Jim Wilson

Jim has written this book to help gardeners who already have existing gardens in place. The book will make it easier to fit wildflowers into plantings. It also includes recommended species for our region. Jim Wilson is a favourite author of ours, ever since we saw him many years ago on Victory Garden.

- Wyman's Gardening Encyclopedia, by David Wyman

This book is from the 1970s or perhaps even earlier. It is great for looking up the botanical names of plants, even though it does not have all of the new cultivars.

- Taylor's Guide's - Encyclopedia of Garden Plants

This is a great book but if you wish to take it with you it would be better to purchase their individual books -- which are smaller and more in-depth. These include:

Shrubs; Houseplants; Perennials; Natural Gardening; Shade Gardening; Water-Saving Gardening; Herbs; Roses.

- Flora - Over 20,000 Plants & Their Cultivation Requirements

Includes a CD. This is a great reference book, but we will warn you that it is so large and heavy it has a cover with a carrying handle. We find this is a very up-to-date book.

- Botanica's Roses - The Encyclopedia of Roses

This is another heavy book in a case with a handle, but we would recommend this to anyone who is a rose aficionado.

- Xeriscape Gardening, by Connie Lockhart Ellefson, Thomas L. Stephens & Doug Welsh, PhD

The authors have dedicated this book to the home gardener to improve their environment, save water, money and time, while enjoying their garden. We all know we have had to conserve water each summer and it is going to get even worse as time goes on. So this is a very good book to have in your collection.

Try these reliable sources for gardening tips

- The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect & Disease Control
Edited by Barbara W. Ellis & Fern Marshall-Bradley. This is an excellent book whether you are an organic gardener or not. This is an easy-to-use problem-solving book. It has 350 colour photos of insect, pest, beneficial insects and plant diseases, and covers 200 vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers and trees and shrubs.
The Gardeners Guide to Composting by Stu Campbell. Since every gardener can use compost this is a good little book to use. Stu explains composting in simple terms; it takes the mystery out of making compost.
The subtitle to this book explains it completely. The Complete Guide to Using Native Plants. Lorraine explains why we should all be using native species in our gardens. It is well-written and accurate. She has many resources listed if the reader wants to pursue this topic further.
The Ultimate Authority on Successful Organic Gardening. We are all becoming more interested in healthy living and our environment, whether you are a seasoned gardener, a new gardener or somewhere in between. This is an easy-to-understand book.
It is a concise and easily read book.
Beautifully illustrated; Mark's down-to-earth advice demonstrates the techniques and skills that you will need to garden successfully.
Gerry has provided us with a detailed and informative reference to planting the right species for the right spot. He has studied trees since childhood and still lives on the family farm in Amherstburg where he is replacing the trees his ancestors removed.
Better Homes & Gardens Books by Janet H. Sanchez. Some of us are experimenting with alternatives to having all lawn; this author has given us choices. Janet also gives us better ways to care for the lawns we still have, along with describing how to plant and care for ground covers and vines.

Don't Have A Green Thumb, Nor Do I Have Many Gardening Tips

True gardeners, it seems to me, aren't interested in "tips." They know that tips will usually fail them in the end because their own garden, its soil, its microclimate, its exposure, will exert an influence that no other person can guess at without first-hand experience.

Gardeners realize that a "green thumb" comes from deep knowledge and experience, and that "tips," for the most part, are quick explanations of routine mechanics.

A tip about pruning rhododendrons can tell you when to cut, but not necessarily the aesthetic aspects of what to cut. However, a gardener who truly understands his rhododendron and its needs can intuit when, and how much, pruning should take place.

Gardeners, in my opinion, simply want to know everything about plants. They want to know where they grow, how they look, what conditions they prefer. By inspecting a well-grown specimen, a gardener might deduce whether he would have similar success on his own property.

Gardening is a passion, a pursuit, a discipline, the same as throwing pottery or automobile mechanics. There are no magical thumbs involved, just hard work.

And for those who insist, here's the universal gardening tip: Dig a hole. Place plant in hole. Cover the roots with earth. Enjoy.

The Hartford Courant, Conn., Peter Sleight column

Let us now, in the cold light of a leafless December, look at two gardening terms I've come to loathe.

"Green thumb" and "gardening tips."

Like so many convenient labels, "green thumb" is inaccurate and cynical, attributing success in the garden coming from hours of trial-and-error experimentation, hard labor and careful research to some sort of genetic engineering.

"Have you seen her garden?" the onlooker asks. "She has a green thumb, for sure."

In reality, anyone can have a green thumb, providing they put in enough work. The orchid-grower will spend hundreds of hours moving plants from window to window looking for ideal light conditions. He'll spend hundreds of hours more on pebble trays, humidifiers, misters and fertilizer. In the end, admirers gaze on the banks of arching phalaenopsis and oncidium and exclaim, "He has a green thumb, for sure."

The same for the gardener who's outside four hours every day, digging, weeding, mulching, dead-heading, pruning, moving plants around to suit her artistic vision -- hundreds of hours of labor -- "My, she sure has a green thumb, doesn't she?"

That's like saying Warren Buffett has a knack for numbers.

It seems, too, as if the same people who attribute gardening success to a "green thumb" are also the ones who are always asking for "gardening tips."

Why do people think years of work and study can be distilled into "tips," as if collecting a few will suddenly give rise to a "green thumb"?

You ask for a "tip" on a horse race thinking that the handicapper has an uncanny ability to name the winner (hours spent with the Daily Racing Form notwithstanding). Yet much of the time the horse doesn't win because variables -- the skill of the jockey, the condition of the track, the late start out of the box -- come into play.

The same's true in gardening.

"I'd like to plant a daphne," a friend says. You suggest partial sun, moist but well-drained soil, and a location out of the wind. Yet the daphne dies. An investigation shows that the partial sun consisted of four hours of direct afternoon glare, the soil was boggy, and while the location was sheltered, it faced directly north. Your "tips" were followed, but the variables intervened.

Calendar offers gardening tips, gives to education

By purchasing a calendar from the Federated Garden Clubs of Yuma, you not only can keep track of dates in 2007 but learn helpful gardening tips, all while contributing to the education of area fourth-graders. Club members will be selling Arizona Greening gardening calendars during the Community Bazaar that starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Yuma Civic Center. The cost is $10 per calendar, with proceeds going toward publishing a children's book about Arizona trees free of charge to fourth-grade students. More than 4,000 "Trees, Tracks and Tails" books will be provided to Yuma- area students alone, said Val Colvin, member of the Pecan Grove Garden Club. The second annual Arizona Greening calendar features color photos of garden scenes around the state, along with gardening tips and information compiled by the Arizona Federation of Garden Clubs. "It's not only a calendar but a great gardening encyclopedia," Colvin said. The calendar opens with color scenes of the Robert J. Moody Demonstration Garden in Yuma and its red passion flower vine, as well as Sandy and Lee Silvas'CQ Somerton vegetable garden containing rows of cherry red and yellow pear tomatoes and jalapeno and sweet bell peppers. "Last year's calendar was so enthusiastically received, it was decided to continue with one for 2007," said Marylin Thornbury of the Yuma Garden Club. "This year's calendar has new and additional information such as articles about planting trees, information about properly staking trees, purchasing and care of poinsettias, landscaping pointers, garden pond information, tips on container gardening and flower and birthstones of the month." Also, in this year's calendar are helpful gardening tips specific to each month, such as best times to plant and fertilize lawns, prune roses and plant vegetables and herbs. The calendar also can be purchased by calling Sally Griffith of the Yuma Orchid Society, 345-1213; Thornbury, 819-0190; Colvin, 783-3686; or Ellen Gardner from the MGM Garden Club, 343-4020. Stefani Guerrero Soucy can be reached at ssoucy@yumasun.com or 539-6857. FEDERATED GARDEN CLUBS The Federated Garden Clubs of Yuma is an educational organization for members and the community. Club members work with Girl Scouts, 4-H and Desert Mesa Elementary's Junior Garden Club. They also contribute to state and national scholarships, volunteer with public beautification projects at West Wetlands Park as well as the Yuma Library and Sanguinetti Gardens rejuvenation project.

A Harrowsmith's Gardener's Guide

In Bernard Jackson's chapter on woodland gardens, he champions the tree as the most essential part of any shade garden. Trees can be microcosms for birds, insects, and small animals and are beneficial to humans also. While they cast varying degrees of shade depending on the species, there is an abundance of plants that amicably coexist under them. Trailing arbutus and wood anemone do well planted near deep shade but not in it. The old standbys such as bleeding heart and columbine thrive where they receive some morning sunshine. Dappled shade, where light pierces the tree canopy and provides a mellow atmosphere for primroses and violets, is one of the best mediums for gardeners to work in.

Trees and shrubs that cast a deep shade should be trimmed and clipped to allow some light to penetrate here and there and Jackson gives tips for doing this properly. As well, he advises clearly how to provide the maintenance that is so important to the life of your garden. For example, he tells readers how to prune and deadhead (remove wilted flowers) to get a healthier crop of plants in the spring; and how to provide optimum conditions for moisture - loving shade plants. Consistent watering and application of organic matter will have beautiful rewards. The writer makes a good case against cleaning up leaf mould, for the practice robs trees and plants of necessary nutrients and is detrimental to their health. Warning that gardening in shady places can become a challenging lifelong habit, Jackson says that plain experimentation and trial and error are the best tools for any interested gardener. The final chapter of Shade Gardens concerns specific plants for shady areas. For those who wish to know what and where to plant, there are myriad recommendations by a panel of experts from all over Canada. These plan "biographies" give planting advice along with care and variety names and information on where the species do well in Canada. There is also a small listing of mail - order nurseries and seed houses along with specific books concerning shade gardening.

This is a wonderfully put together book for anyone who enjoys gardening and wishes to beautify those impossible areas where nothing seems to grow. There is a sense of affection for plants, flowers, and trees in this volume. Its authors leave readers with the feeling that gardeners are the real creators of beauty.

Gardening tips for shady nooks

Harrowsmith's Shade Gardens is a book for anyone interested in gardening in unused or heavily treed spaces. Amateurs and professionals will appreciate this lovely slim volume that evokes images of cool green shade and the singing of birds.

Each chapter is written by a separate author who concentrates on different aspects of shade gardening. Although their perspectives may vary slightly, they all agree that gardening successfully in the shade is both challenging and rewarding.

In Brenda Cole's introduction, she advises that shade gardens require plain common sense and careful observation. Whether it's formal or informal, you must consider how your garden will be used and by whom.

Cole begins with an analysis of depth of shade, for it varies from light to deep and changes throughout the day. She also gives tips on a simple soil test that is helpful in choosing specific plants. Lawns are assessed too; while sun - loving turf grass may not be appropriate for shady areas, there are shade - tolerant varieties that will work. Since these shady grasses are a bit more fussy and delicate, there are hints on caring for them.

The first chapter, written by David Tomlinson, deals with city shade, where neglected alleyways and bare yards seem useful only for parking the car. Readers living in urban areas will especially value his tips on how to approach these dry, windswept areas.

Tomlinson advises gardeners to carefully choose plants for areas near fences, walls, and foundations because these structures often reflect sunlight and absorb water. Although vines and creepers are good choices for small areas since they attract birds and insects, they often wreak havoc on brick facades -- and the rattling of dry leaves can drive you mad in the winter months.

When selecting a tree or shrub, he says to consider how large it will grow in 10 years. Tomlinson makes the process easier by recommending specific tree and shrub varieties and giving information on their care. There are also many ideas for shade - loving annuals and perennials such as late - flowering tobacco for late summer and early fall, and petunia hybrids that do well in light shade. The writer recommends joining a specialist plant or garden society that may operate a seed exchange in your area, giving you a

Gardening Hints & Tips

Videos are often the preferred format for presenting how-to information because of their "picture-worth-a-thousand-words" quality and their brief time demands. This book is like a video in print. Greenwood, a BBC garden show personality and author of The New Gardener (W 4/1/95), runs through some general areas of gardening, like lawns, water features, and landscaping, presenting basic information and quick ideas for improvement. A subject like plant propagation does fairly well with this technique; others, like general maintenance, will almost certainly require readers to search out another book before repairing those brick steps. The illustrations re small but clear, and, despite the wealth of sidebars and boxed tips, the pages are not too cluttered. More basic than The Big Book of Gardening Skills (LJ 2/1/93), this will be most useful for gardeners just beyond the novice stage to browse for ideas.--Molly Newling, Piscataway P.L., N.J.