5 top holiday picks for gardening books
by Lorene Edwards Forkner
Cultivate the beauty of next year's garden with books by Northwestern garden writers. I'm a gardener, a writer and a reader, and books are my favorite and most important tool. You can never have too many garden books: glossy picture books filled with delicious photographs; memoirs and essays by horticultural heroes; and single topic resources as well as giant doorstop volumes encompassing the entire world of plants.
Just in time for holiday gift giving — and receiving, here are some reads by local authors and a couple of upcoming titles I can't wait to devour.
- "The NEW Low-Maintenance Garden" by Valerie Easton. Easton recounts her path to a modern garden, one that satisfies a love of flowers, color and interest throughout the year without robbing the gardener of a balanced life. This one ought to be mandatory reading for us all.
- "The Weather of the Pacific Northwest" by Cliff Mass. Anyone who doesn't think this is a gardening book hasn't suffered through a soggy spring or held their breath in September waiting for tomatoes to ripen. Mass communicates his tremendous knowledge and affection for local weather with accessibility and wit.
- "Edible Heirlooms, Heritage Vegetables for the Maritime Garden" by Bill Thorness. All gardening is local. This former North Dakota farm boy, now a Northwest author and avid gardener, knows both ends of the growing spectrum — long hot summers as well as cool growing seasons. This book is your meal ticket to cultivating historic, storied and delicious heirloom vegetables that flourish and produce in our unique climate.
- "Big Ideas for Northwest Small Gardens" by Marty Wingate. Don't let a small lot limit your imagination. Wingate's thoughtful design details, planting suggestions and smart ideas show you how your small garden can live large, filled with color, texture and beauty.
- "Sugar Snaps and Strawberries" by Andrea Bellamy. Join the grow-your-own food revolution even if you're limited to containers on the back porch. Brand-new on the shelves this holiday season, this book is full of luscious photos, encouraging tips and sophisticated designs that show you how to have your garden and eat it, too.
- "The Secret World of Slugs and Snails" by David George Gordon. Who could resist an illustrated guide to slugs and snails — a field guide to the friendly slimy creatures. Really, slugs are friendly? I guess I'll just have to read the book and find out.
Lorene Edwards Forkner is a Northwest-based freelance writer, food enthusiast and garden designer. She is the author of "Growing Your Own Vegetables" and "Canning & Preserving Your Own Harvest."