Let's pretend it's not winter.
November 29, 2013 12:28 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for gardening books focusing on perennial flowers or vegetables or books on landscaping design/ideas that will make me drunk with plans for spring.

We currently have a section of the yard devoted to perennial flowers, a separate raised vegetable bed, some formal landscaping, and many various weird and varied landscaping needs.

I would like to find some informative books with pretty pictures to help me fantasize about warmer weather and being outside in the sunshine and planning all the projects I might or might not do but will give me something to think about for the next four months.

I'm in zone 5b, New England.

What are the prettiest, most inspirational, outdoorsy books you know? They can be either aspirational 'gorgeous but who in the world would ever do that' or aspirational in the sense of 'I'm totally building a bog garden next April.'

(I already have the Vegetable Gardener's Bible, but that's it.)
posted by A Terrible Llama to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I always loved reading Crockett's Victory Garden in the winter because it's divided into chapters by month - even the winter months. Crack the book open to November, and you've got Crockett telling you, "I would have to argue that November is the most important month in the gardeners calendar..." IT IS? Do tell! Next thing you know, Crockett's got you building beds for your pea-plants and constructing snow-proof cages for your roses. Feeling down in December? Cue the Crockett! "Of course, not all the month's jobs are simple house-cleaning chores. We continue forcing amaryllises, tulips, and paper white narcissuses this month, and we watch the mail for the first of next year's seed catalogues. We root more cuttings..." and so on.

Then you can flip ahead a few months and think about what you'll be doing in April. (Hint: time to break out the beets!)
posted by sarling at 1:05 PM on November 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

I call it garden porn. Nursery catalogs can at least partially scratch that itch, and they're free. White Flower Farms is a good one for ideas that you can often accomplish by buying plants locally (I owe them for some inspired annual container combinations for both sun and shade). Looks like Bluestone and Fieldstone also offer lavishly photographed catalogs for your region.

If you were gardening here in the "challenging" arid high desert, I'd recommend Lauren Springer's The Undaunted Garden and Passionate Gardening. The catalog for those would be High Country Gardens.

Amazon has quite a selection of New England-specific illustrated garden books.

Sorry I can't be of more assistance. Have you tried asking on local/regional garden blogs or forums? Have you considered magazines?
posted by caryatid at 2:09 PM on November 29, 2013

Not pictures, and very old and dated now of course, but if you're not familar with Beverly Nichols' garden books, they are very enjoyable wintertime garden pron. :)
posted by The otter lady at 2:32 PM on November 29, 2013

I don't know if your town is the same as mine, but if you go to the public library and ask them, you might find a very good section of local books about gardening in your zone, along with histories that would show how the public buildings in your town have been landscaped.
posted by CathyG at 3:53 PM on November 29, 2013

The Victory Garden book sarling mentions was one of the best reads of my childhood. I remember flipping through the pictures and asking mom and dad what's this plant, or why we didn't have this, or any number of questions that a eight year old kid might have about gardening.... and yeah, all year round... I remember picking up this book and reading it all year long.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:42 PM on November 29, 2013

I have a pretty big library of gardening books and the one I find myself reading (looking at) for pleasure and referencing for work more than any other is Marylyn Abbott's Gardens of Plenty- the Art of the Potager Garden. It's magnificent. Second would be Gardens in Provence by Louisa Jones. I would also recommend Crockett's Victory Garden and also his indoor garden book, like the the folks above.
posted by release the hardwoods! at 12:50 PM on November 30, 2013

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