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This new book begins with a short but very meaty introduction chapter covering the basics. For example, in June we learned how to turn an area of your lawn into a garden bed, perfect timing so it will be ready for fall planting.
I appreciate that each month begins with a section on planning. What do you want from your garden? What is working well? What needs changing? These activities sections include planting and all aspects of caring for common garden plants ranging from annuals to trees.
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Lawns and houseplants are considered, too. You are also encouraged to get out to nurseries and plant festivals, and to see our native plants where and when they are at their peak. Enjoying your own and other gardens is important, too.
This is a time for picnics in the shade and leisurely strolls at local parks and gardens. Nita-Jo Rountree move to the Bellevue, Washington 15 years ago after many years as a Master Gardener and the owner of a landscape design and installation company in Atlanta. She has chosen an impressive list of roses in all classes, all bred for health, or that have proved their durability in our region without a lot of fussing.
I have a passing knowledge of rose varieties, mostly from a brief period of heavy immersion in gardening with roses many years ago. At the same time, I learned a lot about the frequent spraying and other chemical rites of rose growing, as this was the expectation in almost every rose books of the time. Rountree is emphatic in her most important advice. Many books and articles about roses give generic advice for growing roses in a wide range of climates. They are of little specific help for growing roses in the Pacific Northwest.
Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz are crusaders for garden foliage. Flowers come later. The authors have created a long list of vignettes of plant combinations. Some are simple, two or three plants, while others are very complex and may include ornaments. The setting can be in a large garden bed, or a simple pot. Flowers are allowed, but they must compliment the foliage and be chosen for embellishment. They are not the stars of the show. The plans all have crazy names.
Why these designs work is carefully explained, along with general culture tips. Best is how the design will change with time. Attention is also drawn to potential problems, such as the invasiveness of the above-mentioned feather grass. I find field guides fascinating and always enjoy reading new ones. There are enough photos and text descriptions to help you recognize the most common plants, animals, bugs, and even the rocks of our mountains. While field guides with detailed keys or multiple photographs for each species might be better for fine-tuning your plant identification, this is handy if your specimen is occupied by some winged creature — just flip to another part of the book to identify it, too.
Interspersed are anecdotes and observations of the more noteworthy genera that make this a delightful book to read from cover to cover. However, it is new to me and I found it quite interesting. Unlike some other all-in-one field guides, plants are not short-changed and — if you include mosses, fungi, and lichens — comprise half of the book. The essays on the trees, shrubs, and wildflowers are delightful. For example, the glacier Erythronium grandiflorum and avalanche E.
How would it be to spend a whole year observing a forest, the changing seasons and all the beings — plants and animals — that lived there. She lived on the edge of the Harvard Forest, a 3, acre managed research forest in Petersham, Massachusetts, over 60 miles west of the main Harvard campus.
To focus her attention, she concentrates on one tree, a northern red oak Quercus rubra , of early middle age for this species. She examines this tree in every conceivable way, and with the help of experts from many professional and avocational perspectives. She also considers the humans that interact with the tree and the forest, including the cultural history of the area, and its impact on the natural history.
Throughout there is an ongoing consideration of climate and other changes in the forest. Both from the long view over millennia, and the more recent changes, such as the increase of the hemlock woolly adelgid Adelges tsugae , and near demise of such forest stalwarts as the American elm Ulmus americana and the American chestnut Castanea dentata.
Some of this is told from the supposed perspective of her beloved hundred-plus-year-old red oak. Mapes stayed in New England during the winter of , one of the coldest and snowiest on record. However, if your goals are not quite so ambitious, there is still a lot of advice here for creating a cutting patch in your own garden and using the bounty for filling vases and many other purposes.
Primary author Erin Benzakein speaks from a lot of experience. Her farm began as a big patch of sweet peas, grown in memory of her beloved, gardening great-grandmother. Friends requested cut flowers. The tears and emotional memories evoked in one recipient was an epiphany for Benzakein.
Witnessing the profound impact that a simple bouquet could have on a person, I knew I had discovered something worth pursuing. And not just flowers.
She encourages growing at least as many plants for their leaves, seed pods, colorful branches, and other features as supporting cast — or stars in their own right — for your arrangements. She also encourages the use of grasses, shrubs, trees, and even vegetables in your cutting plans; a spray of tomatoes — in various stages of ripeness — has considerable ornamental value. To this end, there is an introduction to all the equipment familiar to a florist.
Many of these are useful to the home arranger for various projects involving both fresh and dried flowers. The most striking photo and there are many in the book is of the author wearing a spring crown of ranunculus, viburnum, muscari, and campanula! The popularity of birding in our region sparked the release of two new birding books with nearly identical titles by major regional publishers. If you are serious about identifying the birds in your garden or on your local travels, you clearly need both books! The photography is one of the outstanding features of both, and the photos capture a very wide range of species, often with multiple images to show variation in sexes, juveniles, breeding plumage, and other color forms.
Throughout there is help with identification between near look-alikes, and the authors address behaviors, bird songs, specifics on where to find rarer birds, and conservation status. The Timber Press book includes helpful and practical introductions to most species. This began in childhood. Although this path would have likely led to a more profitable career, Lanham realized his heart had a different goal, and is now a Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University.
This was not an easy choice, and Lanham laments that very few other men of color have pursued the same career path.
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It also is sometimes a dangerous choice; black men found with binoculars in a rural setting may risk their lives. Thomas Liptan introduces his new book, Sustainable Stormwater Management , by recounting an aha! This book is an easy-to-read summation of the lessons the author has learned over his career, and is recommended for anyone considering stormwater management projects, large or small. He is both upbeat in encouraging innovation and pragmatic in the need to have results that are functional, economically sound, long-lasting, and look good.
Most engaging are the many case studies and the practicalities of choosing plants and structural materials. Liptan has worked in Portland for many years and uses this city for many of his examples. Given our similar climate, rainfall, and interest in sustainable development, this is an excellent book for projects in the Seattle area, too.
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Confused by plant families? Having trouble keeping track of recent changes based on DNA and other molecular research? RHS Genealogy for Gardeners can help with these questions. This is an excellent book for field botanists, or anyone interested in understanding the relationships between plants in any setting. Bayton has his PhD in taxonomy, while Maughan has an extensive background in writing, editing, and publishing both botanical and horticultural works. The combination means this book has scientific accuracy and is very readable for those with all levels of botanical knowledge.
Family descriptions include basic characteristics, the genetic history, best-known genera, and the important uses of the members, including as ornamentals and for food crops or other plant-based products. The best we currently have to rely on are our own observational skills. I read a lot of gardening books — one of the joys of my profession! Somehow, the British author Val Bourne had escaped my attention until now, but I will watch eagerly for her future writings. Her new book, The Living Jigsaw , is a delight. I had a hard time putting it down.