Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Old Books for a Nouveau Garden

A partial list of some books in my garden that I've had for many years, or picked up in a Library sale somewhere. I didn't list the ancient textbooks, nor many of the late 20th century garden books on my shelves. I've given away some of my books once I decided that I would focus on regional books better suited to southern gardening. There are others that I wish I had bought before they went out of print.

Herb Gardening in Five Seasons
Adelma Grenier Simmons
Hawthorn Books (1964), Hardcover


The Fragrant Year; scented plants for your garden and your house
Helen Van Pelt Wilson
illustrated by Leonie Bell
New York, M. Barrows; distributed by W. Morrow, 1967.
A bit outdated on information on Roses, but much of the text is still appropriate. Forcing bulbs has not changed. There is a very good section on dianthus. I'm always looking for something different for the fragrance garden.
There's a nice section on Aromatic Herbal Scents.
A glimpse of my herb garden.

Crockett's Victory Garden
James Underwood Crockett
Boston : Little, Brown, c1977

Alys Clancy's Garden Guide
Alys Clancy
News-Journal Corp. Daytona Beach, FL 1977

I love Alys's guide to gardening in the sands of North Florida, which generally applies to my garden as well. Some of her advice is spotty, but there are gems of useful information, originally written as daily columns in the News-Journal.

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees : Eastern Region (Eastern)
Elbert Luther Little
Knopf (1980), Turtleback

All About Azaleas, Camellias & Rhododendrons (Ortho Library)
Ortho Books
Ortho Books (1985), Paperback

This book lists the tried and true cultivars. Azaleas listed that are among my favs are 'George Lindley Tabor,' 'Pink Pearl' and R. yedoense var. poukhanense. azaleas
Dogwoods in Bloom with azaleas Pink Ruffles, Pink Pearl and George Tabor in the Spring of 2008.

Southern Gardens, Southern Gardening
William Lanier Hunt
Duke University Press, 1982

Fun to read a book that mentions under new plants: white Loropetalum without a mention of the fuchsia blooms so popular today. The white has just now become a 'new' fav in the trade, after Michael Dirr dismissed it in his book.

Bold Romantic Gardens : the New World landscapes of Oehme and van Sweden
Wolfgang Oehme
Reston, Va.: Acropolis, c1990
When I bought this book, back when it was newly published, I thought it the most wonderful book I'd seen. They were just slightly ahead of the big push toward grasses and broad plantings of natives. This isn't a truly old book, but it merits mention here because of being ahead of the trend.

The picture at right is an old family photo c. 1920 from Tanky's album and is one of my favorites. In the right background is the old smokehouse, the house is not visible behind the trees. We're not sure which of the girls are pictured, nor the name of the dog. The tree at right is an elm, one of several that died of Elm disease in the 1950's. in my more recent memory, there was a hedge along the top of the rock wall that ran along the west and south edges of the yard.

What old books are treasures in your Library? How have they impacted your Garden?


  1. Another picture of that central feature in your herb garden please?

  2. I love the shots of your herb garden (the path is wonderful) and the azaleas make me smile! I have a pamphlet from the thirties that has been very enlightening....I now know how kudzu was planted everywhere! I have Victory Garden and all of the Elizabeth Lawrence books. I learned most of my southern gardening from her. Thank you for asking! gail

  3. EE, Oh, the 'Faux Fountain' in the herb garden! It is just a trinket --a ceramic lamp base with a broken sea shell stuck in the center hole and some glass stones sprinkled all around with some river stones. I didn't make a lot of pics of it, really, and the dog has carried off my seashell. I've put away all seashells and small objects until the dog grows up and learns about respecting the possessions of others.

    There is actually a stone-with-a- depression bird bath with dripping fresh water up in the corner.

  4. Oh, Nell, your herb garden looks great! It has really grown up and filled in. Great, great, great!

  5. Nell Jean,
    I use two reference books:
    Square Foot Gardening 1981 by Bartholomew and Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening 1978 by Rondale Press. I have learned much from both but as is the way of such things they usually tell you more than you want to know.HaHaHa.
    P.S. I really like the Azaleas.

  6. Hi Nell,

    You are so smart to hang on to those books! I cherish my gardening books, especially the ones that focus on our region. They are like old friends who are always there when I have a question.

  7. A Southern Garden, by, Elizabeth Lawrence.

    Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, by M. Dirr.

    Americas Garden Book, by Bush-Brown.

    And of course, ta-da, Hudson's Southern Gardening.

    Especially like your pic with azaleas.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  8. When the weather's bad, I drag out old books, Noelle.

    Sanddune, I look forward to the azaleas come late March. For two weeks, every dwelling throughout this part of the country is a fairyland surrounded by bright pink azaleas and white dogwoods. It's like Christmas lights, only in the daytime.

  9. All of Beverley Nichols books about his gardens in Engand. I read these when I was a teenager, and they made me the Anglophile I am today!

  10. Hi Nell, Years ago a friend gave me two old black and white garden magazines. I can't remember what they're called, darn it. They're tucked away somewhere... I love reading Marjorie Fish, English matriarch from early last century. I love the faux fountain too. Talk about an eye catcher, and it doesn't let go. Love it. I need to start scouring the thrift stores. :)

  11. Great list of books Nell. My go to books are Micheal Dirr's Trees and Shrubs, American Hort Society A - Z Encyclopedia, and Pam Harper's Time Tested Plants.

  12. I love my old garden books. My copy Of "Herb Gardening In Five Seasons" reminds me of my trip to Caprilands in 1993. Adelma was still holding court in the cottage and signing books. It was a real treat. I'll look for "The Fragrant Year". I love Dianthus!

  13. I was pondering my favorite gardening book this morning and hands down it's Green Enchantment by Rosetta E. Clarkson. I, too have Adelma Grenier Simmon's Herb Gardening in Five Seasons and refer to it often when writing.

    There truly is something magical about herb gardens.


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

Google+ Followers