From the Stacks: The Reviews Are In!

Below are a handful of new titles now available in the Weston Family Library, each accompanied by a review from long-time library volunteer Madge Bruce.

Thomas E. Cooper, Ed. The roots of my obsession: thirty great gardeners reveal why they garden. Portland, OR: Timber Press Inc., 2012.

Have you ever wondered why someone is motivated to spend hours of their time stressing their knees and back in order to cultivate plants? In this book, 30 gardeners confess to their obsession for gardening. For some, it is an urge to create beauty, and for others it is to heal the earth. In any case, these stories give an insight into the gardeners’ souls and will serve as an inspiration to the rest of us who have yet to become converted.

Tovah Martin. The unexpected houseplant. Portland, OR: Timber Press Inc., 2012.

When summer blooms are done, many plant lovers realize how crucial houseplants can be to the home. The author believes that perennials brought in from the garden, bulbs growing on the bedside table, flowering plants on the kitchen windowsill and small shrubs beside your easy chair can all add flair and bring contentment. They bring a surprising amount of cheering and greenery to the home in the dreary winter months, while also helping to clean up the polluted indoor air.

Martin gives advice on the selection of plants for the home, the watering, pruning and general care by the season, all the while convincing homeowners that plants are not a luxury, but a necessity.

Andrew Keys. Why grow that when you can grow this? Portland, OR: Timber Press, Inc., 2012.

This book gives 255 extraordinary alternatives to common problem plants. The author helps readers to find acceptable solutions that include the original plants’ key characteristics–hardiness, shape, colour, texture, size and light requirements.

Keys suggests you first identify the seduction elements in your favourite plants and assess the plusses and minuses, as well as requirements, of your garden plot. Then, with a little more effort, you should be able to zero-in on your best plant solutions from the dozens of suggestions in this book, since all the plants listed are readily available.

David L. Culp, and A. Levine. The layered garden: design lessons for year-round beauty from Brandywine Cottage. Portland, OR: Timber Press, Inc., 2012.

Every gardener longs for a vibrant, healthy garden that provides year-long delight. The author claims this is actually achievable by planting a “layered garden.” Culp suggests arranging a succession of attractive combinations or “layers” of plants from early spring well into winter. He describes several suitable combinations for each season based on his personal experience.

Dazzling colour photographs by Rob Cardillo illustrate many of the various possibilities.

Amanda Thomsen. Kiss my aster. Markham, ON: Thomas Allen & Son, 2012. 

For beginners in the art of home landscaping, the author, a professional garden designer, gives very practical advice that can be tailored to your individual tastes to create the perfect design for you. She conveys horticultural knowledge in an extremely witty and playful manner that provides learning with laughs.

Happy reading!

Zachary Osborne, Head Librarian