Homework: Gardening books

"Vegetable Gardening" is the ultimate old-school gardening guide.

"Vegetable Gardening" is the ultimate old-school gardening guide. (Credit: Handout)

So you went to your local gardening store and bought a plethora of potted plants and dozens of flowers for your garden. Now the question is, what goes where? "The Encyclopedia of Planting Combinations" (Firefly Books, Limited, $45) by Tony Lord, with photography by Andrew Lawson, covers shrubs, climbers, bulbs and perennials. "This book is not meant to be a series of recipes for perfect planting but rather a menu of suggestions," writes Lord.

"Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way" (Rodale Books, $30) by Wesley Greene is the ultimate old-school gardening guide. Greene takes you through all the major vegetable groups that were grown in Colonial Williamsburg and still are today. "The modern gardener would recognize most of our hand tools, and many gardening tasks have spanned the centuries relatively unchanged," he writes. "Often the difference is in the materials rather than the method."

"Herbs: The Complete Gardeners Guide" (Firefly Books, Limited, $24.95) by Patrick Lima (with photography by Turid Forsyth) covers every herb you can think of and some you might not even have known existed. "When it comes to choosing which culinary herbs to grow, I encourage cooks who garden to check their spice racks to see which herbs they use the most," says Lima. He even provides recipes.

Gardening doesn't always have to be practical -- or even horizontal for that matter. "Gardening Vertically: 24 Ideas for Creating Your Own Green Walls" (Norton, W.W. Company Inc., $24.95) by NoƩmie Vialard shows magnificent vertical gardens from around the world and instructs readers how to build their own. "Gardeners have known for a very long time that walls are not barriers, but allies that give them more space and extra surfaces for plants," says Vialard.

In "Growing Vegetables & Herbs" (Octopus Publishing Group, $19.99), author Guy Barter breaks down the process of starting your own garden. "Being outside and working with plants also seems to touch a human need and bring great satisfaction to many people," he says. Everything from why even bothering to grow your own garden to planning your plot and basic techniques are laid out. The vegetable and herb directories are also a big help.

Have you ever wanted to add to your garden or even create your own plants, but the materials are just too expensive? Royal Horticultural Society's "Propagation Techniques" (Octopus Books Inc., $19.99) by Geoff Hodge and Rosemary Ward may help. "Propagating new plants is fun, interesting and a great way of saving money," according to the book. Hodge and Ward take readers through plant materials, tools and equipment, diseases and pests, cuttings, grafting and more.

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