Saturday, November 29, 2008

When You Can't Garden, Read!


Margaret Roach mentions her book A Way to Garden on her blog by the same name, not promotionally because it's out of print but among some other old garden books that she recommends. One that she mentioned is Crockett's Victory Garden (1971) --that may have been my first garden book and I still have it.

Another old garden book that is one of my favs is Alys Clancy's Garden Guide (1977). Alys wrote for the News Journal, Daytona Beach. Some of her plants are marginally tender here, but most are just perfect for my garden. She addresses garden chores from pruning to propagation. Her instructions for gathering and growing amaryllis seed are right on.

I gave away Ms. Roach's book to a beginning gardener. I give away many well illustrated gardening books once they're well read here. Some that are full of words of instruction I keep forever, like Alys's.


My copy of Tropicalismo! by Pam Baggett came not long ago, hot off the press. Pam has a wilder imagination than mine, having had her own nursery until recently. Many of the plants she grew as annuals are borderline perennial here. I'm growing Strobilanthes, Pentas, Pineapple sage and others in the greenhouse to have a colorful head start. I'll be looking for plants of Duranta and Tibouchina in the spring. I'll start saved seeds of tender tropicals inside well before the last frost date.


  1. You're probably familiar with Henry Mitchell--he's one of my favorite garden writers. I've been dropping hints among my relatives! Hey, I was down in your part of the world for Thanksgiving. We had a family reunion in Americus (near Smithville). I had no idea that coyotes and armadillos lived there!

  2. Thank you for the nice mention, and also for the chance to see that wonderful black and white family photo in the footer of your blog. Two treats in one visit. I think "Victory Garden" was my first garden book ever, and I cherish it. I love the book of garden essays called "Green Thoughts" by Eleanor Perenyi, too, for an altogether different reason.

  3. Oops, I realize I didn't leave my identity...not sure how that happens, but I wasn't paying attention. :)

  4. I have 3 varieties of duranta. Jewel is my favorite, and there is a darker purple bloom, also a white bloom. Mine have never frozen, and are huge by now, having been in the ground for about 8 years.

    My first garden book was given to me by my father. It is 'America's Garden Book' by Louise Bush-Brown and James Bush-Brown. It was published first in 1939, and my "new revised edition" came out in 1952. It is fat, with 1242 pages, and just full of information that is still good, still solid. When I can't find the information I need anywhere else, I can usually find it there.

    One of the best reasons I have for cherishing this book are notes made by my Dad, in the margins in light pencil, and in the back of the book, where a section for notes was provided.

    I think I will put my Grandson's Name on this as beneficiary when I am gone, as he is developing a real love of gardening.

    My other favorite book is the one I am currently reading, usually.

  5. The black and white photo looks nice Jean -

    I'm passing the Butterfly Award to you because of the nice work you have done on all of your blog, particularly this one.
    Butterfly Award

  6. I remember watching Crocket's Victory Garden on TV, and when someone else was the host, it was changed to Victory Garden. I loved that show! I can't remember if I have the book. My first garden books were from Rodale. I have their Organic Gardening, Compost, and Herb books, as well as others.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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