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Diggin' It

More great garden books

Garden writers recommend more of the books that really impressed them in the past year.

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“While I was taken aback by his negative opinions of some environmentalists and organic gardeners, I think he is mainly reacting to starry-eyed enthusiasm that can be based more on wishful thinking than evidence. The book is ‘thoughtful,’ and it does encourage us all to think more cogently about our own positions.”

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Click here to see a wonderful video of Mr. Fox’s garden and hear him talk about gardening.

Shrubs and vines for your garden

“As someone who has purchased shrubs from the Gosslers [Gossler Farms Nursery] for probably close to two decades, I loved their first book, "The Gossler Guide to the Best Hardy Shrubs: More than 350 Expert Choices for Your Garden" by Roger Gossler, Eric Gossler and Marjory Gossler (Timber Press, $34.95),” says Betty Earl, who regularly blogs here at Diggin’ It.

“For all those years, I have enjoyed their casual, but always information-laden catalogs. So I was thrilled when these very practical, experience driven descriptions gleaned in the catalogs were expanded to their 350 favorite shrubs, in book form,” she says.

“The book has, as most books usually do, advice about the care and maintenance of shrubs, plant categories, and lessons learned from people's gardens. The A to Z plant profiles of the 350 favorite shrubs include the best characteristics of each shrub, the height and spread, and optimum growing conditions; all this accompanied by colorful photographs of the shrubs.

“However, for me, the highlight of the book,” she adds, “is in the introductory chapters, especially in one titled ‘How Not to Kill Your Plants,’ which gives plenty of advice on how to select, buy, plant, and nurture the new ‘shrubby children.’ How can the reader not love such sage advice as, ‘Finally, don't be afraid to ask a grower how they raised the plants you are about to buy. Consider it an open adoption: You want to know about the birth parents, what neighborhood the plant came from, whether drugs were involved, and so on. These simple questions can affect the ultimate survival of any purchase.’ "

"I'd like to recommend "Armitage's Vines and Climbers" (Allan Armitage, Timber Press, $29.95) as a top book of 2010, one that's been needed for a long time," says Sharon Thompson, well-known South Carolina garden writer and speaker.

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