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Books and other resources

Each book added here is special to someone on our staff. We continue to add books as we find new favorites and rediscover old treasures.

Topics

Beneficial insects

  • Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to Your Backyard (link)

    By Sally Roth

    We love the story author Sally Roth tells about the butterfly that tried to sip nectar from a caterpillar. It wasn’t just any caterpillar but one that looked like bird droppings. You may not know this (we certainly didn’t), but some Butterflies like a little nectar from bird droppings now and then. Anyway, this one butterfly would land on the caterpillar and the caterpillar would shudder and then the butterfly would fly off. But, this was a stubborn butterfly and it continued to land on the ‘bird dropping’ caterpillar, even putting out its proboscis to test for nectar. After a while, the Butterfly gave up on that ‘dropping’ and tried the one next to it. The same scene ensued until finally the Butterfly gave up all together. You just never know what will happen in the garden.

    If you have never read one of Ms. Roth’s books you are in for a real treat. Her writing style is wittily informative which makes us enjoy our lessons. She not only teaches us which plants to use in our gardens to attract both these winged wonders, but how to create the kinds of gardens they prefer. Shelter, water, host plants for butterfly caterpillars, and even fruit feeders and hibernating boxes are among the topics within these pages.

    Maybe the only problem with this book is that you will be so busy looking at all the colorful photos and how-to diagrams that you will keep losing your place among the words. Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to your Backyard is a worthwhile book for anyone looking to attract a little life into the garden.

  • A Blessing of Toads: A Gardener's Guide to Living with Nature (link)

    By Sharon Lovejoy

  • Buddlejas (link)

    By David D. Stuart

    This Royal Horticultural Society guide is written in the United Kingdom by horticulturalist David Stuart. Often we find that books written outside the United States have limited appeal for gardeners in the US. This book is an exception. Mr. Stuart’s 14 years as curator of Longstock Park Gardens, where the British National Collection of Buddlejas is held, inspired him to fully investigate this genus at home and abroad.

    Buddlejas is the first ever comprehensive look at this diverse group of plants. Over 150 Butterfly Bushes are described and there are numerous color plates to help with identification.

    More than just an encyclopedic tome, there are most helpful sections on growing as well; including propagation, pruning, and mulching.

    Written by one who knows how to help others who are learning, Buddlejas is a truly valuable book for anyone interested in Butterfly Bushes.

  • The Butterfly Garden (link)

    By Mathew Tekulsky

    The subtitle of this book, Turning Your Garden, Window Box, or Backyard into a Beautiful Home for Butterflies, hints at what a little gem of a book this really is. It is a reader not a looker. And, it is very important reading for those just beginning butterfly gardening. It would seem as though Mathew Tekulsky has answered every question with a short to the point yet informative answer.

    Chapters cover understanding gardening for butterflies by understanding butterflies. Mr. Tekulsky instructs us on all aspects of how to get started, including which plants are needed for both larval food and nectar food.

    There is a chapter devoted to activities which include photography hints, things to do with kids and building hibernation boxes.

    Extensive appendices list 50 Common butterflies, where they are found and what plants they like. There are also lists of where to obtain butterflies and entomological equipment, as well as, butterfly organizations and recommended further readings.

  • Garden Butterflies of North America (link)

    By Rick Mikula

    Rick Mikula is crazy about butterflies. His passion for these fleeting flights of fancy, shines through in every word and photograph in this book.

    His instructions on how to plant your garden to attract butterflies are straight forward and invaluable. He explains the life cycle of these painted beauties and how we can accommodate their needs and enrich our lives by doing so. For instance, when he writes of their need to bask (butterflies’ internal muscles must warm to 80 degrees for flight) he suggests providing light colored basking areas to let them rev up their engines faster. He calls these places butterfly waterless ponds. He makes his in the shape of a butterfly, but any shape will do. You make an indentation in the soil, line it with plastic, add a few similar in size light colored stones or sand and stand back. He adds that, if morning dew collects, the butterflies will find this moisture when they come to bask. Of course, the sidewalk will work too, but it is not as much fun.

    There are also helpful lists of all kinds of things from how to say butterfly in a lot of different languages to plants to plant to deter insects that bother butterflies.

    If all that doesn’t hook you, then you will surely enjoy the full page color photos of 40 of North America’s most treasured visitors accompanied by a detailed page of that butterflies likes and dislikes, particular identifying marks and region it can be found in. In most of the photos, he has included a snapshot of what the butterfly looks like with his wings up. Some of them are amazingly camouflaged.

    This book is a must have for beginning butterfly enthusiasts.

  • Gardening for Butterflies (link)

    By Xerces Society

    The Xerces Society is a conservation organization dedicated to protecting invertebrates like butterflies and beneficial insects. Gardening for Butterflies is their most recent edition concerning both of these. Anyone interested in attracting these wonderful garden friends will find this book an indispensible addition to their library.

  • Handbook for Butterfly Watchers (link)

    By Robert Michael Pyle

  • How to Spot Butterflies (link)

    By Patricia Taylor Sutton and Clay Sutton

    Patricia Taylor Sutton, program director and naturalist at Cape May Point State Park (New Jersey), teams with her husband, Clay Sutton, to write an engaging book on butterfly watching and gardening. Attractive photos by the duo illustrate many butterfly species and habitats; resource information follows.

    Sutton acknowledges her debt to butterfly expert Robert Michael Pyle, including a quote from his book, Handbook for Butterfly Watchers . Indeed, the subject matter is remarkably similar. So why own both books? The most obvious difference is the Suttons’ color photography (Pyle’s book has black-and-white drawings). How to Spot Butterflies reflects the past few years’ explosion in butterfly-watching, made popular by the North American Butterfly Association, with its binoculars-only philosophy. For example, there is a section on tours and group etiquette. I have spent hours watching butterflies with Pyle, and I sense that I’d love to spend some time at Cape May with Sutton, too. And that’s why I treasure both books—the authors’ personalities and knowledge complement each other.

    This review graciously provided by Claire Hagan Dole.

  • Hummingbirds: Their Life and Behavior (link)

    By Esther Ques Tyrrell

    A coffee table book full of stunning pictures and extensive information on the life and times of these magnificent creatures. Even though this is an older book, the information it carries is timeless. Learn about the wonders of the Hummingbird; they will entertain and amaze you.

  • Insects and gardens (link)

    By Eric Grissell

    Order out of chaos. Insects are a natural part of gardening. But, all too often the habitat for these creatures is missing and so the garden goes lacking, usually in beneficial insects.

    Interested in how the two go together? So is entomologist, Eric Grissell. He seems a little surprised to find out we are also interested. This is a fascinating look at why we need the plants in our gardens to attract the insects. Not a bug book really, because it is not full of tedious plates of one bug after another. Rather this is a book that attempts to get us to understand the delicate balance necessary to have a successful garden with as little artificial intervention as possible. His opinions are strong on how to go about this and frankly we like that.

    From Bees to Wasps, Mr. Grissell helps us understand how the insects live, grow, feed and die. An easy to read and extremely entertaining book with many unusual color photos.

    If your garden is a little too quiet or overrun by some unwanted garden pest this book can help you create a place more amenable to you by making it more amenable to your beneficial insect friends.

Biblical

  • Healing Plants of the Bible (link)

    By Vincenzina Krymow

    Vincenzina Krymow, author of Mary’s Flowers: Gardens, Legends & Meditations (Living Legends of Our Lady), has written another inspirational book on plants and the Bible. Healing Plants of the Bible is well researched and has geographical and historical information punctuated with historical folklore for a well balanced presentation of many herbs and shrubs used medicinally in biblical times. 38 plants are given in-depth treatment with 40 additional plants treated lightly in the appendix. Throughout the book are motivational meditations contributed by Sister Jean Frisk. Near the end of the book is a chapter that lists Biblical Herb Gardens to visit. There is also an excellent index and bibliography that will add to the enjoyment of using Ms. Krymow’s Healing Plants of the Bible.

  • Herbs of the Bible: 2000 Years of Herbal Medicine (link)

    By James Duke

    James Duke is to herbal medicine and ethnobotany what herbs are to the Bible; an intrinsic force. This book is the coffee table book of the Biblical Herb Books. Dr. Duke weaves history and folklore together with scientific research on over 50 herbs recorded in the Bible. In addition, Peggy Kessler Duke, his wife of nearly four decades, has added her artistic rendition of many of the plants.

    Dr. Duke has traveled more than once to the Holy Land with his own unique eye on the plants he loves, herbs. His folklore on each herb points to the places he has been and the people and plants he has studied. For instance, he tells us of Chicory, a bitter herb of the Bible, that in Iran it is used as a cooling medicine in attacks of excess bile. And, of raw Bay Laurel berries that the Lebanese mountain people used these berries mashed with flour as a poultice for dislocated joints.

    All the herbs are given a bible reference and thorough explanation of their Biblical connection. It is the history that ties us to the plants. As the subtitle of this book points out, it has been 2000 years of Herbal Medicine.

    It is evident that Dr. Duke has devoted his life to herbs and their medicinal use. His witty writing style only enhances his great knowledge.

Business

  • Flowers for Sale: Growing and Marketing Cut Flowers (link)

    By Lee Sturdivant

  • Herbs for Sale: Growing and Marketing Herbs, Herbal Products and Herbal Know How (link)

    By Lee Sturdivant

    This book is a compendium of success stories of many Herbal companies and farms, plus resources to help you in your endeavors.

  • Medicinal Herbs in the Garden, Field and Marketplace (link)

    By Lee Sturdivant

  • Profits from Your Backyard Herb Garden (link)

    By Lee Sturdivant

    One of several how to books from Lee Sturdivant, this book is an enjoyable look at how to make a buck in your backyard. There are a lot of basic concepts here that are important to master in order to make a success of your homegrown herb business. Written in a straight forward and easy to follow manner, this book is the written experience of those who know how to take advantage of the local demand for herbs and herb products.

    There are chapters on which herbs to grow and how to sell both fresh cut herbs and potted plants. The advice to keep it simple at first and let the business grow itself is right on the money. Also, the emphasis on a quality product delivered in a reliable manner is an important business motto.

    Whether you have some extra herbs now or want to plan what to grow in the future, this book will help you, inspire you and give you the confidence to get the job done.

Butterfly bushes

  • Buddlejas (link)

    By David D. Stuart

    This Royal Horticultural Society guide is written in the United Kingdom by horticulturalist David Stuart. Often we find that books written outside the United States have limited appeal for gardeners in the US. This book is an exception. Mr. Stuart’s 14 years as curator of Longstock Park Gardens, where the British National Collection of Buddlejas is held, inspired him to fully investigate this genus at home and abroad.

    Buddlejas is the first ever comprehensive look at this diverse group of plants. Over 150 Butterfly Bushes are described and there are numerous color plates to help with identification.

    More than just an encyclopedic tome, there are most helpful sections on growing as well; including propagation, pruning, and mulching.

    Written by one who knows how to help others who are learning, Buddlejas is a truly valuable book for anyone interested in Butterfly Bushes.

Cottage gardening

  • English Cottage Gardening for American Gardeners (link)

    By Margaret Hensel

    There is a wild and romantic image associated with cottage gardens and English Cottage Gardening for American Gardeners gives us page after page of incredible photos that inspire us to create one of these intimate spaces of our very own. Opening photos of Tasha Tudor’s Vermont garden draw us into the continuous flow of picturesque gardens that range from photos of simple doorway gardens to massive perennial borders.

    Credit is given to the architectural elements in the garden such as an ornate gate or a brightly painted arbor. These aspects are important in establishing the depth of the garden and are often overlooked. Straight lines and hard surfaces help to add dimension to overflowing and seemingly out of control plants. There are lots of examples of this throughout the book and they are defined not only by the gorgeous photos but by Ms. Hensel’s thorough treatment.

    Of course, the plants are the main focus and there are plenty shown and discussed. Roses take a whole chapter and it is not by chance that many of the plants are herbs. These have always been the carefree backbone of most cottage gardens. The emphasis, though, is not on becoming an expert with plants, but rather to start with a single idea and a few cherished plants and let the garden begin.

    Margaret Hensel set out to create an interesting little book with photos of picturesque thatched cottages and became intoxicated with the gardens she found. The beauty she discovered as she explored country lanes and city streets led to the creation of this extraordinary book that showers us with the loving creations of many gardeners, both amateur and professional.

  • Creating a Cottage Garden in North America (link)

    By Stephen Westcott-Gratton

    Stephen Westcott-Gratton has written a ‘hit the nail on the head’ how to book on putting in a Cottage Garden. It is obvious he is both gardener and writer because his advice is methodical and his suggestions very workable.

    He dispels the myth that English Cottage Gardens need to be contrived, reinforces the necessity for tight plantings and encourages the experimentation of different plants which provide the fun and color for this kind of garden.

    This book covers the history of the Cottage Garden and some of the plants traditionally used. It is both an enjoyable read and an informative tome for taking your small spot and turning it into a riot of color and a haven for life of all kinds.

    The plant selections are typical of someone who gardens in Canada, but that does not diminish the how to information the book provides. Plus, Mr. Westcott-Gratton definitely leans to the organic and that is dear to our hearts.

  • History of the English Herb Garden (link)

    By Kay Senecki

Crafting

  • The Book of Potpourri (link)

    By Penny Black

    Even though this book is getting scarce, it is still one of the best and most visually appealing books on this subject. There is recipe after recipe for using hundreds of different dried herbs and spices. The instructions are explicit and easy to follow. Ms. Black uses plenty of herbs with variegated scented geranium leaves and yellow and Spanish lavender heads making surprise appearances.

    The only suggestion is to start at the back of the book. Here is where the instructions for growing, harvesting, drying and storing are. Also, here are the descriptions of the different herbs, flowers and barks and how to use them.

    Too bad it is not a scratch and sniff book. The jars and bowls and platters and pages of photos are so real you could swear there are rose buds in the air.

  • The Complete Book of Wreaths (link)

    By Chris Rankin

    What kind of wreath do you want to make? Oh, you want to make a square wreath?

    Oh, you want to make three wreaths entwined together? What! you want to make a vine wreath with each vine a different color? No problem. How to make these wreaths and 197 more are in this book. The Complete Book of Wreaths is really a compendium of the wreaths of many different wreath makers. Most of these wreath makers have had other books published. It is great to find all of their talents pooled in this one work.

    The first 40 pages of this book are devoted to wreath making basics. These are concise instructions on how choose or even make your own wreath base as well as basic points for choosing materials to complement your wreath, like seed pods and ribbons.

    The next 180 pages are a wreath a page in full color with descriptions for each one that explain what is in the wreath and how to create one like it.

    The last section is on Novel wreaths like all feathers and potatoes and moss???? And, you won’t want to miss Terry Taylor’s wreath of broken cups and cup handles.

    This book only has wreaths, just wreaths and each one is a work of art.

  • Dried Flower Gardening (link)

    By Joanna Sheen

    Already a classic on the subject of dried flower gardening, Dried Flower Gardening has been re-released. Choose your dried flower plants by color, method and or part to dry. Or, use one of Ms. Sheen’s designs to get your garden jump started.

    What do you fancy? An Orange, Yellow, White and Green Garden? And, do you want that in perennials or annuals or both?

    The extensive A-Z of Recommended Plants section examines her choices of plants in comprehensive detail, providing insight into each variety that only an experienced gardener can.

    Methods of harvesting, drying and storing are clear and easy to follow, as are her craft ideas for everything from a simple bouquet to an elegant Autumn potpourri.

    With Dried Flower Gardening you can enjoy the fruits of your garden fresh and forever.

  • Flowers: The book of floral design (link)

    By Malcolm Hillier

    Any book on flowers by Malcolm Hillier is bound to be a winner. His passion for fresh and dried flower arrangements spans more than thirty years and his experience and innate sense of design is brilliantly displayed in this latest effort on fresh floral design.

    This is a 500 page full color coffee table book that is hard to put down. Page after page of floral arrangements are displayed with lists of ingredients, tips on display vessels, and alternative suggestions should the original design not quite suit the surroundings or available materials.

    It is a fun book with suggestions most of us would not readily think of like, Peonies in Chinese lettuce. Instructions are given for choosing the peonies, conditioning the flowers, extending the life of the lettuce leaves, or chicory if you prefer, and suitable conditions under which to use such an arrangement.

    Or, how about a box with a wok inside to hold water for hosta leaves, iris flowers and a rose, appropriately named the Blue Lagoon.

    There is so much to read and try in this book that the senses cannot take it all in in one sitting. And, yet many of the decorations contain only a few carefully chosen elements.

    Chapters include Elements of Design, Inspirations for the Home, Seasonal Arrangements, and Special Occasion. The chapters on Practical Techniques are presented by a master and his words are personal and direct.

    The A-Z Directory of plants is a work of art all its own. Each plant is presented in color in flower with its most often used common name, its scientific name, the season it flowers, care tips for extending vase life and and estimate of vase life.

    Perhaps, the only thing better than Mr. Hillier’s lusty flower arrangements and explicit directions are the incredibly beautiful photographs taken by Stephen Hayward.

    This book will take your breath away and reward you with a little bit of heaven.

  • Herbal Treasures (link)

    By Phyllis Shaudy

    So much to do so little time. This is one of the most inspiring herb books ever written. The basic idea of Herbal Treasures is to provide activities centered around both the garden and the time of year.

    Each month is given its own chapter that is chock full of a myriad of suggestions for herbally fun things to do for that month. For instance, June is for brides. Ms. Shaudys provides everything from wedding gardens to wedding punch, all laced with the rich tradition of herbs.

    There are so many crafts and recipes that it takes more than a year for most of us to do them all. Herbal Treasures is a wonderful book you won’t want to put down.

    Herbal Treasures is the continuation of Ms. Shaudys’ previous work The Pleasure of Herbs. This book is also a month to month compendium overflowing with creative herbal excitement.

  • The Book of Dried Flowers: A complete guide to growing, using, and arranging (link)

    By Malcolm Hillier and Colin Hilton

    This book makes you want to run right out and cut a bundle of something to dry so you can make something gorgeous right away.

    The fact that this book was first published in 1987 and is still being printed is testimony to the valuable information and beautiful photos contained inside.

    When the two authors first penned this book, they had already been in the dried flower business for 17 years. Their expertise and understanding of their craft shows in every word they write.

    Chapters include instructions for growing the plants, viewing what the plants look like when dried, choosing your wreath bases or making your own, constructing wreaths, hangings, bouquets, swags, and choosing containers for table arrangements.

    One of the best features is the chart at the back of the book that lists a hundred or more plants, their botanic names, which season to harvest the flowers or leaves and which drying method is the preferred for that plant.

    There is a short reference to potpourri with several recipes, as well as a couple of pages on pressing flowers. The section on Seasons and Special Occasions covers, not only the obligatory Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but gives innovative ideas for weddings.

    It is wonderful that the authors actually grow much of what they dry and that they air dry most of what they pick.

    Every page has a tip or set of instructions to make your arrangements with dried flowers both successful and fun.

  • Wreaths: Creative Ideas for the Year Round (link)

    By Richard Kollath

    As the subtitle implies, this is an idea book. The wreaths are beautiful and the instructions simple. The focus is not only on giving guidelines for preparing the flowers and making the wreaths, but on sharing the elements of design necessary for striking out on your own.

    Mr. Kollath steers you through preparing your work space and choosing your tools as only someone who has made many wreaths could do. Instructions are given for air drying and silica preservation of flowers. There are also some wreaths made with fresh flowers.

    This is a book for those who want to use what they grow and find. There are even instructions for making your own grapevine wreath, which Mr. Kollath admits is one of his favorites.

    There are some pretty unusual ideas in this book, like making a baby’s wreath with building blocks, and using small wreaths for package toppers.

    Whatever your color scheme or design theme, there is sure to be a gorgeous full color photo of one of Mr. Kollath’s wreaths to spur you on.

Culinary

  • Baking with Stevia 2 (link)

    By Rita DePuydt

  • Baking with Stevia (link)

    By Rita DePuydt

  • Basil (link)

    By Janet Hazen

    Janet Hazen wrote a lot of little cookbooks in the 90’s. Each one targeted a specific food or type of food in a easy to read and learn from format. Titles include Pears, Garlic, Mustard, Vanilla and Chicken Soup.

  • A Celebration of Herbs (link)

    By Shirley Kerins

    A Celebration of Herbs is a cookbook that pairs herbs with the right foods in the most tantalizing ways. Compiled by long-time herb enthusiast Shirley Kerins from recipes submitted by the staff of the world-famous Huntington Gardens, this high-quality book enriches our souls as well as our palates by offering us interesting and pertinent information on the herbs we are cooking with. Especially helpful for beginning herb users is the chapter on “Learning to Use Herbs in Cooking.” In this chapter, Ms. Kerins has outlined her “Eight-Step Program for Learning to Cook With Herbs” that is sure to make cooking with herbs a snap!

    Growing tips abound and one would expect no less, since Ms. Kerins was the curator of the Huntington Herb Gardens for over 20 years. The traditional recipe categories are there, of course, but they are generously salted with helpful tidbits and historical information as one would expect from someone who has lovingly tended herbs for so many years.

    A real treat is the reproduction of 24 color drawings from Elizabeth Blackwell’s A Curious Herbal, published in 1737. One of the 60 known copies of this two-volume gem is housed in the Huntington’s rare book room.

  • The Complete Spice Book (link)

    By Maggie Stuckey

    You can tell that Maggie Stuckey is both a gardener and a cook. And, while the recipes, of which there are 200 for the 30 Spices listed, are enticing, it is her sense of history that is thoroughly enjoyable.

    Written concisely and clearly, her storytelling takes us back to the lands and people who first enjoyed these spices.

    We came across this book while looking for information on Cardamom and were hooked by the time we reached the entry for Elletaria Cardamomum.

    The spices, and the recipes for those spices, included in this book are: Allspice, Anise, Caraway, Cayenne and Chili Peppers, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Dill Seeds, Fennel, Fenugreek, Ginger, Horseradish, Juniper Berries, Mace, Mustard Seeds, Nutmeg, Paprika, Pepper, Poppy Seeds, Saffron, Sesame Seeds, Star Anise, Turmeric, Vanilla. Also, conveniently included are the recipes for Curry Powder and Five-Spice Powder.

    If you like to do things with your herbs and spices besides cook, you will enjoy the crafts that revolve around each spice.

  • Cooking With Herbs and Spices (link)

    By Milo Miloradovich

    Originally published in 1950, Cooking with Herbs and Spices continues to be published because of its valuable information. This is a book of lists and recipes and more lists.

    Want to know what herbs are best with desserts, eggs, cheeses? How about how to candy angelica or pickle nasturtium seeds? Want to make herbal mustards, vinegars, stuffings? It is all here.

    Ok, there are no photos. But, once you start reading the quality and sheer quantity of information will make you forget about pretty pictures. Plus, most of the recipes are made with easy to find ingredients (after all it was 1950) and require little time to prepare.

  • The Edible Flower Garden (link)

    By Rosalind Creasy

    Use what is fresh. In this case, that means the flowers too! In The Edible Flower Garden, Rosalind Creasy shares and explains the beautiful world of cooking with colorful and tasty flowers. Emphasis is given to creating gardens that will supply those flowers. It takes a lot of flowers for most recipes, so it is good to know how many of each to plant and when to harvest.

    While traditional herbal flowers like lavender and borage are included, there are also selections on vegetable flowers, as well as some more unusual flowers like lilacs, apple blossoms and begonias.

    I particularly enjoyed reading about Ms. Creasy’s experiences with Alice Waters of Chez Panisse and the edible flower gardens they created to supply fresh flowers to this world renowned restaurant.

    Of course, the beautiful photos of the Edible Flower Canapés, the Pineapple Sage Salsa and the Rose Petal Sorbet weren’t bad either.

  • Edible Flowers (link)

    By Kathy Brown

    I am not sure why eating the flowers of plants is such an uncommon practice. Perhaps it is because we wait patiently for them to emerge and then really enjoy looking at them in the garden. Or, maybe it is because their perfection is fleeting. Kathy Brown gives us a million reasons to grow and use more flowers.

    The first thing you notice about this book is all the incredible photos. In 160 pages, there are 400 color photos. There are not only photos of the 45 edible flowers she covers but also of the plants they grow on, containers she has planted them in and step by step guidance on how to trim, sugar, and cook with the flower petals.

    While there are some tasty and unique recipes in this book, such as Bergamot Wild Rice Salad, it is her discussion of each plant and tips on growing it that make it a book of value to a gardener. Her tips for combing herbs in containers is fun and thoroughly covers all aspects of growing.

  • Edible Landscaping (link)

    By Rosalind Creasy

  • Farmer John's Cookbook (link)

    By John Peterson

    I wasn’t sure I wanted to read a cookbook written by a farmer. I mean it makes sense that where there are vegetables, there should be someone who knows how to cook them. But, somehow “John” just didn’t seem like a great name for a chef, and what kind of dish could a guy with a pitchfork make? I already know how to steam, bake and boil my veggies. Turns out John has a whole staff of dedicated vegetable cookers, and the recipes (255 of them, covering 35 vegetables) they have come up with are just as unique as John and his staff at Angelic Organics.

    This is a very personal book. When you read it, you forget that it is a cookbook. You are taken along on a journey, reading a story about how this man’s life unfolds on his farm over many decades. As you travel his road, you find you are excited to turn the page and learn what more he can contribute to your understanding of where your food comes from and how you can grow and prepare your own in a natural, harmonious fashion. If you are a backyard gardener, you will relate to his trials and relish his remedies. If you are a cook, you will wonder why you never put these herbs and vegetables together before.

    The main body of the book is divided into three chapters — early, mid and late season harvest. Each of these contains a section for each vegetable that would be ready at that time of the year. I really like the little part of each section that gives you partners for that vegetable. For instance, for cucumbers, we learn that allspice, basil, cilantro, coriander, cumin, dill, garlic, horseradish, lemon balm, mint, mustard, oregano, parsley, tarragon and toasted sesame seeds are particularly nice. The main attraction to each individual vegetable section, though, are the recipes. Try Baked Cucumbers in Basil Cream. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually bake my cucumbers. The uniqueness of it all is what warrants this book a place on your counter.

  • Favorite Recipes with Herbs (link)

    By Dawn Ranck

    A tasty compilation of favorite recipes from folks connected to herb businesses. From appetizers to desserts 15 of the most popular herbs are whisked together creating culinary delights sure to please anyone. Now you can enjoy the fruits of your herb garden with inspired simplicity. No fussy ingredients or difficult steps to follow; just recipe after recipe of herbal treats. This book is perfect for those just starting to cook with herbs. Become confident in your herb cooking as you let the herbal gurus guide you through the steps. And, the plastic comb binding makes using this recipe book a breeze. Pages lay flat so you can cook and read at the same time!

    There is also a section which reviews the 15 herbs and their growing requirements, harvesting times, complementary foods and more. Particularly helpful is the index that lists the recipes by herbs. Harvesting Lemon Thyme today, check out the Lemon Thyme section and choose your masterpiece. A second index lists the recipes alphabetically in the traditional cookbook way. However you look up your recipe, you are sure to be cooking some mighty savory dishes for you, your family and friends.

  • Good Enough to Eat (link)

    By Jekka McVicar

    Gooseberry and Borage Flower Fool, Coriander Flowers in A Tomato Jelly Salad, and Pinks with Crème Fraiche and Fruit Salad. Do these sound familiar? Probably not. And that is the beauty of this book. Jekka McVicar adds a European flair to Edible Flowers. Her choice of plants and her way with cooking is exciting and invites you to experiment further.

    From Achillea to Viola, each plant has descriptive passages on growing, harvesting and use. Recipes for each flower are included along with scrumptious photographs.

    And, while there are some garden layouts and growing tips included, this book is all about the food. It will be hard to wait for the flowers.

  • The Gourmet's Garden (link)

    By Ann Gardon

    Take your herbal cooking to new heights using special herbs and ingredients with The Gourmet’s Garden. Anne Gardon is the best kind of cookbook author; she grows her own herbs. Included in the 75 delightful recipes are mint spring rolls, lamb chops with bee balm, chicken and lovage pot au feu and quick apple tart with lemon basil.

    In addition to gardening and cooking, Anne also takes all the photographs found in her book. Each recipe is illustrated with a stunning color photo that inspires just by being there.

    Ms. Gardon was awarded the Silver medal at Cuisine Canada’s Culinary Book Awards in 2001 when the hardcover version of The Gourmet’s Garden first came out. Our paperback version of 117 pages is printed on high quality slick stock for easy cleaning and is just as wonderful but easier to use as the hard cover edition. This book is included in our Gourmet Herb Garden Kit which includes The Gourmet’s Herb Garden Cookbook and our Gourmet Herb Garden Collection.

  • The Great Curries of India (link)

    By Camellia Panjabi

    The Great Curries of India gives us detailed directions for one of the most complex and varied seasonings in the world. Combined with instructions on dishes from many different regions, these specific spice blends make this book great for beginning curry cooks or experienced chefs.

  • Herbal teas (link)

    By Richard Craze

    With more than 60 recipes to choose from, understanding the nuances of making herbal teas will be a breeze. The Directory of Herbs covers 45 different plant and, not only gives the instructions for using the herb in tea, but also explains what the taste and health giving properties of the herb are. The photographs will inspire and the recipes will soothe.

  • Herbal Treasures (link)

    By Phyllis Shaudy

    So much to do so little time. This is one of the most inspiring herb books ever written. The basic idea of Herbal Treasures is to provide activities centered around both the garden and the time of year.

    Each month is given its own chapter that is chock full of a myriad of suggestions for herbally fun things to do for that month. For instance, June is for brides. Ms. Shaudys provides everything from wedding gardens to wedding punch, all laced with the rich tradition of herbs.

    There are so many crafts and recipes that it takes more than a year for most of us to do them all. Herbal Treasures is a wonderful book you won’t want to put down.

    Herbal Treasures is the continuation of Ms. Shaudys’ previous work The Pleasure of Herbs. This book is also a month to month compendium overflowing with creative herbal excitement.

  • Herbed-Wine Cuisine (link)

    By Janice Therese Mancuso

    Add that something extra to your gourmet delights and everyday bites with wines flavored with herbs. What a fun book this is and what yummy recipes. Anyone who loves herbs will want to have a go at cooking with infused wines.

    Ms. Mancuso’s instructions are precise and yet easy to follow. The book is extremely well laid out. Each recipe for a flavored wine is followed by the recipes (and their page numbers) that she has ingeniously created to use each wine.

    For instance, her tantalizing Sage and Roasted Garlic Chardonnay flavored wine can be used in the recipes for Caramelized Onions, Roasted Yellow Peppers, and Roasted Garlic Ricotta Pizza, and in a Ham and Vegetable Salad. Or, add it to roasted mashed garlic, soy sauce and a dab of honey to make a sensational marinade for pork, chicken or beef.

    There are some great tips on turning your Herbed Wines into Gifts too. And, not just the wines by themselves, but Ms. Mancuso has created gift packages around the herb flavored wines. Why not give a Pasta Gift Package of Parsley and Savory Merlot, a box of Bow Tie Pasta, Green Peppers and Plum Tomatoes, Fresh Parsley, a festive Pasta Bowl and the recipe for Bow Tie Pasta Salad that uses the Merlot.

    And, don’t forget desert, Black Forest Cherry Cake with Sweet Cherry Cabernet Sauvignon. Oh, we did mention there were some great fruit infused wine recipes also, didn’t we?

  • Herbs and Edible Flowers (link)

    By Lois Hole

    Written by veteran gardener Lois Hole, this book covers in great depth her favorite 25 herbs. There is no shortage of information in this book and the emphasis is on both growing and cooking with herbs. Growers tips and chefs hints on each plant are abundant. And, while there are recipes for using the leaves of the herbs, special highlights are given to the use of the flowers. It is obvious she has perfected her skills and her directions are set forth clearly for your success.

    If you are not convinced by the words, the photos of lush herbs, icy pitchers of Lemon Balm Ade or Marigold Punch, savory platters of Basil Stuffed Steaks or Shrimp and Lemongrass and sweet platters of crystallized violets will certainly sway you.

    Its all here. Garden indoors, or out, or both. How much to plant and when. How to harvest and when and what to do with your bounty of herbs. Make butters, vinegars, oils and just about anything else you can think of.

    75 additional herbs are given a brief treatment; just enough to make you wonder when book 2 will come out.

    It should be noted that Ms. Hole is not an organic gardener and we hope that you will take her few recommendations to the contrary with a grain of salt. This in no way minimizes the valuable advice rendered in this book. A book we enjoyed immensely.

  • The Mediterranean Herb Cookbook (link)

    By Georgeanne Brennan

    Georgeanne Brennan lives a charmed life with homes in both the US and Provence, France. She teaches regional cooking in France, emphasizing what is in season. The Mediterranean Herb Cookbook celebrates all our favorite herbs: Lavender, Rosemary, Mint, Oregano, Thyme and more. Luscious recipes for every course and helpful instructions for making simple dishes elegant are indicative of Ms. Brennan’s expertise.

    Whether you want to serve a stylish main course like Halibut Kabobs with Winter Savory and Lemon or a fun sweet like Apple Crumble with Lavender, the four recipe sections—Small Dishes, Salads and Soups, Main Courses, Breads and Sweets, and Basic Herbal Recipes—will provide ample selections. In Basic Herbal Recipes, Herb Blends like herbs de Provence, Herb Butters, Sauces, Marinades, Beverages, Oils and Vinegars are included (over 50 recipes in this section alone). The Mediterranean Herb Cookbook

  • Recipes from the Garden (link)

    By Rosalind Creasy

  • The Stevia Cookbook (link)

    By Ray Sahelian and Donna Gates

  • Stevia: Naturally Sweet Recipes for Desserts, Drinks and More (link)

    By Rita DePuydt

    Stevia Naturally Sweet Recipes for desserts, drinks and more is a combination of recipes and insights about using Stevia from both of Rita DePuydt’s older books listed below. Her books are geared toward healthier cooking and not just the replacement of refined sugar. Stevia is a blessing for those with diabetes but it does take some good advice and experimenting to use it well.

  • Stevia Sweet Recipes (link)

    By Jefferey Goettemoeller

    Over a hundred recipes featuring Stevia for everything from breakfast to desert can be found in this easy to use spiral-bound cookbook. Tips on cooking with Stevia will help to make the learning experience smoother and tastier.

  • Stevia Rebaudiana: Nature's Sweet Secret (link)

    By David Richard

    Stevia is a humble plant that has been used for centuries, like many other herbs, to flavor food and to enhance natural well being. One of only a handful of books dedicated to Stevia, Mr. Richard’s book has been expanded to include valuable growing instructions garnered from those pioneering with this new herb.

    The original issue of this book appeared in 1996 when Stevia was still quite controversial and relatively new to the United States. The current issue of the book encourages the use of the whole leaf and the 20 plus recipes have been adapted to reflect greater use of the fresh and dried herb. Stevia Rebaudiana: Nature’s Sweet Secret is a small book chock full of information that should not be missed by those just starting to explore this herb. With such a new plant, there are always so many questions that the questions and answer section at the back of the book is particularly helpful.

    Among the recipes, you will find not only an interesting idea for a facial masque (in the chapter titled ‘How to Use Stevia’), but also an intriguing recipe for tooth powder located in the main recipe chapter.

  • Tea-time at the Inn (link)

    By Gail Greco

    There is something basic and honest and good about tea. But there is something absolutely magical about tea-time.

    And, Tea-Time at the Inn lets us create our own fantasy tea-time by giving us different kinds of “teas” to make at home. These tea parties hail from Inns across America and run the gamut from A White Linen Tea to A Mystery Tea. Forty Inns have been selected for the teas they give. Each Inn has graciously shared their recipes and tips for preparations. How about a Gone with the Wind Tea featuring:

    Rhetts’s Chocolate bars

    Miss Melanie’s Chocolate Strawberries

    Ashley’s Almond Filled Cookie Cake

    Red Petticoat Swiss Jellyroll

    Katie’s Kahlua Fudge

    Belle Watling’s Midnight Chocolate Cake

    Twelve Oaks Almond Tuiles.

    Of course, you must hand each lady a fan as they enter your tea room and offer each gentleman a cigar. If you don’t want to make the tea yourself you can visit Tara: A Country Inn in Pennsylvania and they will gladly serve you at 4:00 p.m. It would be great fun to spend a little time, tea-time, at each of the Inns in this book. The photos of the Inns and the recipes are terribly enticing.

    About the only thing missing is the tea recipes themselves. There are only a few mentioned. I guess any good stiff tea made in water just to the boil and served in a china cup will do. It certainly is a start.

  • The Herb Book (link)

    By Arabella Boxer

    An older book, The Herb Book, by Arabella Boxer and Phillipa Back, should really be called The Herb Cookbook. The first clue to this is on the inside cover where the publisher states that all recipes in this book are for four people and ovens should be preheated and spoon measures are level. Not the normal wording for an Herb Book, is it? Which is just as well, because these folks know how to cook. The recipes are simple and use lots of fresh and dried herbs. There are everyday dishes and fancy day dishes. And, there are tidbits of helpful information throughout.

    By the way, the book also contains beauty recipes, and growing particulars on 50 herbs. Oh, yes, and the pictures are spectacular.

  • Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs (link)

    By Matthew Biggs, Jekka McVicar, and Bob Flowerdew

    Vegetables, Herbs & Fruit is a massive 640-page, full-color encyclopedia. Written by three very accomplished gardeners that include an organic gardening specialist, a vegetable gardening expert and a highly acclaimed herbalist, this book is a big value for anyone just starting out in any of these areas or anyone wishing to dig deeper into the nuances of what they already grow.

    Did you know that Okra does best when it is planted with melons and cucumbers? Or that Angelica leaves can be eaten fresh from early spring to early summer and then should be dried from early summer until flowering? Surely you knew that sour cherries fruit on younger wood than sweet cherries so they can be pruned harder!

    Seventy different vegetables are explored in the first part of the book. Each vegetable has its own section, which covers history, varieties, cultivation (which includes growing, maintenance, and harvesting and storing), pests and diseases, companion planting and culinary uses (which usually has a recipe highlighting that vegetable).

    The next section of the book goes over more than 100 herbs. Each herb has its own section which is broken down into its different species, cultivation requirements (which includes propagation, pests and diseases, maintenance, garden cultivation and harvesting), container growing tips, culinary and medicinal uses.

    Fruits, including nuts, berries and some unusual plants like prickly pear cactus, take up the last part of the book. There are 100 fruits that are cataloged, and each fruit’s section includes varieties, cultivation (which includes ornamental and wildlife value, maintenance, propagation, pruning and training and weed, pest and disease control), companion planting, harvesting and storing and culinary use (which usually provides a nice recipe).

    The last 100 or so pages of the book cover gardening ideas with topics that range from ornamental vegetable gardens to crop rotation.

    More than just a boring recitation of plant facts, Vegetables, Herbs & Fruit is a colorful foray into the garden that will both educate and excite.

  • Very Pesto (link)

    By Dorothy Rankin

    With innovative and alluring recipes like fresh pea and mint pesto pasta, red pesto crevice, tabbouleh with basil mint pesto, and pesto frittata are sure to spark new interest in an old favorite. 96 pages, 30 recipes

Deer proofing

  • Deer Proofing Your Yard and Garden (link)

    By Rhonda Massingham Hart

    This book should really be called 101 ideas for hopefully keeping deer at bay. As any one who has dealt with deer in the garden knows, it is not one thing you do, but a combination of techniques that insures a minimal amount of damage to the garden. And, this book is chock full of suggestions about creating your perfect landscape and keeping your deer sweet sanity at the same time. Rhonda Massingham Hart compels us to understand the deer and its life by going into details of their traits and habits.

    She lists deer resistant plants and includes some roses which seem to be less appetizing than others. Not surprising her list comprises many herbs, such as Rosemary, Oregano and Thyme. She organizes her selections into several garden plans based on what kind of setting you may have. There is a comprehensive review of fencing methods and repellants that are currently on the market. And, while we do NOT condone the use of electrical dog collars or thiram fungicide sprayed on your plants, this is a most thorough discussion that should be read by all who have suffered deer damage to their gardens.

Encyclopedia

  • The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers (Eastern Edition) (link)

    This classic work is chock full of color photos and important botanic information.

  • The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers (Western Edition) (link)

    This classic work is chock full of color photos and important botanic information.

  • Rodale's Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening (link)

    By Rodale Publishing

    Aren’t sure what pH is? Then you might want to get Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening. This is an in depth look at all aspects of gardening from composting and caring for the soil (the most important part of gardening) to choosing the proper plants for your area (the most fun part of gardening). An important work for all organic gardeners to have, whether they are just starting (especially if they are just starting) or have been at it a long time (there is always more to learn).

  • The Genus Lavandula (link)

    By Tim Upson and Susyn Andrews with illustrations by Georita Harriott, Christabel King and Joanna Langhorne

  • Growing Roses Organically (link)

    By Barbara Wilde

    For thousands of years roses grew wild and carefree. The only practices used or known were organic. Then rose breeders started exploring the possibilities and many roses were created that are disease prone, hard to grow and discouraging to gardeners. Chemical manufacturers came to the rescue and now Roses are one of the most chemically treated class of plants in the landscape.

    So do Organic gardeners have to forgo this lovely sculptured flower? Not at all. As Barbara Wilde explains the proper selection of old roses combined with some exciting new disease resistant roses gives gardeners more than a fighting chance for growing beautiful, fragrant roses.

    Starting with a bit of history we see how the rose got into the mess it is in today and what is being done about it. Giving us the names of today’s rose breeders that are concerned about our success with roses is a special bit of information we can carry with us when we choose the right rose for us. Understanding the different classes of roses, which is presented here in a clear concise way, will also help us to choose what is right for our gardens.

    As organic gardeners know success in the garden comes with the proper care of the soil, the right selection of site and the best choice of plants. Ms. Wilde teaches us all of this and much more. From fertilizing to pruning and more, her instructions are easy to understand and very thorough.

    She addresses disease and insect problems and even suggests how to plant a beneficial insect garden to help defend your roses against dastardly bugs.

    The best part of the book, though, is her chapter on remarkable roses. This encyclopedic like chapter is divided into sections of use. From small shrub roses to recommended ramblers, we are given over 100 choices for the best roses to grow easily and organically. Each rose is given vital statistics including class, hardiness, size, pruning instructions and more. The photographs will have you drooling as you choose which rose to plant first.

    I was glad to see that Ms. Wilde shares my feeling that roses don’t need to be isolated in a garden by themselves. In her last chapter, she shares her garden designs for roses in mixed borders, wild gardens, wildlife gardens and hedges.

    Growing Roses Organically is an important book for anyone just getting interested in roses, struggling with roses now, or looking to change from using harsh chemicals to natural methods.

  • Lavender: The Grower's Guide (link)

    By Virginia McNaughton

    Congratulations must go to Virginia McNaughton for she must be the queen of Lavender. What an incredible book she has provided for all lavender enthusiasts. Photo after photo and description after description both tickles and satisfies our curiosity.

    So many questions are answered in this book, that each time it is reread there is another bit of enlightening information that makes you go’ ah ha! now I get it’. A botanist, Ms. McNaughton has provided us with specific detailed descriptions of the plant’s origins, the proper botanical nomenclature, the color of the flowers AND the foliage, and special pruning and growing requirements.

    She has broken the groups of lavenders up into sections and listed the specifics for that group, for example the Lavandula angustifolias, as well as, the multitude of named varieties that belong to that group. Also of great help are the other common names a plant may be called. For instance, Dilly, Dilly is a common name of Lavandula x intermedia Grosso.

    The only draw back to this book is that when you are finished reading it you just have to have all the lavenders she describes. So many lavenders so little time.

  • The New Book of Salvias (link)

    By Betsy Clebsch

    Ms. Clebsch has a passion for Salvias. Her first edition of The New Book of Salvias was a welcome tool for those interested in this genus and this edition is made even better with the addition of more color photos and about 50 more plant descriptions waiting to be explored within the book’s 344 pages.

    But, this is much more than your typically dry tome about one plant after another. It is the telling of a story. While all the encyclopedic information is there, it is what is interwoven with the facts that makes this a valuable and treasured book. The accounts of Ms. Clebsch’s experiences, preferences, and observations are priceless. Recommendations like planting Salvia victoria with red lettuce, purple basil and Salvia argentea in a large tub reveal her gardener’s status.

    Also enjoyable are her forays into research concerning the names, origins, and, often, the confusion that surrounds many Salvia species. And, if you like lists, then be sure to visit the rear of the book for guides on flowering by season; suitable Salvia selections for containers; saving water; and shade, cold, and humidity tolerance. Ms. Clebsch may garden off the coast of Northern California, but she has written a book we can all use, learn from, and enjoy.

  • The Random House Book of Perennials (link)

    The only plants missing from this book is lavenders? Still they are so chock full of excellent photos (over 1250) and information we can overlook this little lapse. Many of the photos are taken on location and so you get the what it will look like picture. All the garden favorites like Roses and Irises are covered, but so are lesser know plant groups like Eryngium and Lysimachia. Also, particularly helpful are the temperature ranges given for each plant. But, the authors are European and they write in Celsius. So here is a little conversion rule for you. Farenheight = 9/5 Celsius +32. Did we mention how great the pictures are?

  • Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs (link)

    By Claire Kowalchik

    Rodale Press is the organization that brings us Organic Gardening Magazine. Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs is much more than just an encyclopedia of herbs. In addition to the hundred plus individual herb pages, there are sections on cooking with herbs, companion planting and medicinal uses. One of the really nice features is the zone information and pH measure for each plant. It was here we learned why we were having a tough time with Arnica montana. It likes a pH of 4.5 and our soil is usually around 6.5 or 7.0.

  • Stearn's Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners (link)

    By William Stearn

    Unfortunately, this book is getting hard to find. Many books of similar content cost much more. And, this book provides an extensive dictionary of Latin botanical names and their meanings that is more than adequate for the average gardener. William Stearn enlightens us not only on the epithets of the words,i.e. odorata means smelly, but also on the history of why these names evolved.

    The name is the thing with this book just as it is with all plants. Many plants have species names that describe their leaves, flower colors, founders and region of origin. There is much history to be gained from the understanding this volume contributes. It can even be fun to learn what the names mean. For instance, Melissa (the genus for Lemon Balm) is also the name of a Cretan Princess who first learned how to get honey from bees. Because Lemon Balm attracts bees, Melissa is the perfect Genus for it. Armed with this wordy knowledge, we can actually make more appropriate plant choices for our gardens.

  • Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs (link)

    By Matthew Biggs, Jekka McVicar, and Bob Flowerdew

    Vegetables, Herbs & Fruit is a massive 640-page, full-color encyclopedia. Written by three very accomplished gardeners that include an organic gardening specialist, a vegetable gardening expert and a highly acclaimed herbalist, this book is a big value for anyone just starting out in any of these areas or anyone wishing to dig deeper into the nuances of what they already grow.

    Did you know that Okra does best when it is planted with melons and cucumbers? Or that Angelica leaves can be eaten fresh from early spring to early summer and then should be dried from early summer until flowering? Surely you knew that sour cherries fruit on younger wood than sweet cherries so they can be pruned harder!

    Seventy different vegetables are explored in the first part of the book. Each vegetable has its own section, which covers history, varieties, cultivation (which includes growing, maintenance, and harvesting and storing), pests and diseases, companion planting and culinary uses (which usually has a recipe highlighting that vegetable).

    The next section of the book goes over more than 100 herbs. Each herb has its own section which is broken down into its different species, cultivation requirements (which includes propagation, pests and diseases, maintenance, garden cultivation and harvesting), container growing tips, culinary and medicinal uses.

    Fruits, including nuts, berries and some unusual plants like prickly pear cactus, take up the last part of the book. There are 100 fruits that are cataloged, and each fruit’s section includes varieties, cultivation (which includes ornamental and wildlife value, maintenance, propagation, pruning and training and weed, pest and disease control), companion planting, harvesting and storing and culinary use (which usually provides a nice recipe).

    The last 100 or so pages of the book cover gardening ideas with topics that range from ornamental vegetable gardens to crop rotation.

    More than just a boring recitation of plant facts, Vegetables, Herbs & Fruit is a colorful foray into the garden that will both educate and excite.

  • Sunset Western Garden Book 8th Edition (link)

    Sunset has been writing about the west for over 100 years. Their Garden Encyclopedia was first published more than 4 decades ago. Besides having descriptions for zillions of plants (over 8,000 keyed to climate zones), there are lists for everything: what to plant under oak trees, what plants resist deer, what to plant where it is windy, dry or shady, what is good for a rock garden…

    With special contributions from 40 eminent Western garden experts (including our owner), if you live in the west and garden, this book is a must have reference guide

Foraging

  • Peterson Field Guides for Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs (link)

    By Steven Foster and James Duke

    Written by noted authors Steven Foster, James Duke and Christopher Hobbs, both the Eastern/Central and Western guides are a great way to learn about the plants around you.

    The purpose of these books is simple. It is to help you identify the plants around you. The pages of these books will astound you. If they weren’t so small and handy, they would be coffee table books. Full of gorgeous photos and encyclopedic facts, these books let you take the first step, identification, toward appreciating the thousands of plants in your woods and forests.

    Each book contains Common Names and Botanic Names, Conservation and Harvesting, Parts Used and How, Where Found and Warnings, and, of course, those great photos.

    Learning about these plants from the photographs and insights of respected herbalists, botanists and naturalists allows us to discover, appreciate and preserve the treasures in our own back yards.

    The EASTERN/CENTRAL GUIDE contains photos for all plants listed and covers the all states east of, but excluding, Colorado, Montana, and New Mexico. It does not fully cover the southern half of Florida or the southern and western halves of Texas. Adjacent regions of Canadian provinces are included but toward the southern western and extreme northern extensions of the range, the coverage is less extensive.

  • Peterson Field Guides for Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs (link)

    By Steven Foster and Christopher Hobbs

    Written by noted authors Steven Foster, James Duke and Christopher Hobbs, both the Eastern/Central and Western guides are a great way to learn about the plants around you.

    The purpose of these books is simple. It is to help you identify the plants around you. The pages of these books will astound you. If they weren’t so small and handy, they would be coffee table books. Full of gorgeous photos and encyclopedic facts, these books let you take the first step, identification, toward appreciating the thousands of plants in your woods and forests.

    Each book contains Common Names and Botanic Names, Conservation and Harvesting, Parts Used and How, Where Found and Warnings, and, of course, those great photos.

    Learning about these plants from the photographs and insights of respected herbalists, botanists and naturalists allows us to discover, appreciate and preserve the treasures in our own back yards.

    The WESTERN GUIDE contains 500 species and almost 600 photos and covers the area west of the Mississippi River from the western Great Plains and West Texas through the intermountain West, including Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah, to the desert Southwest of New Mexico and Arizona and the Pacific states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Many of these plants also occur in adjacent areas of southern Canada, northern Mexico and Baja California.

Fragrant plants

  • The Book of Perfume (link)

    By Elizabeth Braille

    Originally written in French, of course, we picked up this book in a hurry one day because of the fanciful photo of rose petals littering a warehouse floor. Like many coffee table books, the pictures in this book are a work of art. The full page picture of a lavender field deserves to be framed. Scent rises from the pages with enthusiasm and reality (we thought perhaps the book had been lightly perfumed). More than just a pretty face though, The Book of Perfume is brimming with aromatic stories of perfumery throughout history. It emphasizes that all perfume started with scented plants. Scented plants that we can grow in our gardens and revel in daily.

    It is hard to believe that one of the original primary functions of perfume at its inception in the late 1500’s was to mask the odor of tanned skins used for the large glove making industry in, where else, Provence, France.

    A most compelling chapter of perfume history takes place in this country, in 1946. At that time 85 percent of all fragrances sold in America were French. Even more astounding was that the major purchasers were men. It was considered a gift men gave to women and not a purchase women made for themselves. It was the insight of Estee Lauder that gave women the right to purchase. She didn’t create a perfume at first, because she knew that would defeat her purpose; she created perfumed bath oil. It was called Youth Dew and it was a sensation. She waited another 15 years to introduce an actual perfume.

    From the flower to the bottle this book is rich in information about fragrances. It has very unique information like a section on classifying name brand perfumes by the seven fragrance families, citrus, floral, fougere, (a combination of lavender and moss), chypre, (a combination of bergamot and moss), woody, amber, and leather. And, an extensive chapter on the history of perfume bottles and perfume ephemera. Laced with photos of glamorous stars, serious scientists at work and fields of luxurious flowering plants, this book grips the interest with the turn of each page. Estee Lauder once remarked “Perfume is like love, you can never get enough of it.” Reading this book is a little like that.

  • Cassell's Directory of Scented Plants (link)

    By David Squire

    Scent in the garden is like the watermark on fine piece of linen stationary: almost imperceptible. Yet the same piece of linen without the faint watermark is noticeably less impressive, blah, boring. Scent is a quality that enhances the emotional experience of the garden but is usually just below the surface of conscious observation. Take the fragrance of the earth and the bounty of scented flowers away, though, and our garden of pleasure becomes noticeably less memorable.

    How to get started is often the hardest part of a new gardening venture. Scented Plants by David Squire is the perfect way to start planting for fragrance. Laid out in short chapters that cover many aspects of scented plants, this book provides just enough information for the beginner to truly get involved in aromatic gardening.

    The first chapter explains scent and the different ways plants perfume the air. It also provides suggestions for plants that will provide scent throughout the seasons as well as into the evening. The water color graphics of these seasonal gardens will spark your imagination and you will find yourself situating these layouts amongst your own landscape.

    The second chapter covers the mechanics of creating the scented garden. How to plant, prune and care for the garden of your fragrant dreams. There are suggestions for everything from doorways to water gardens. Need a fragrant trellis cover or windowsill box filler? How about filling that old wheelbarrow with an ocean of perfume? You can even choose plants to add to your existing gardens, whether they be cottage gardens, wild gardens or formal gardens.

    The last chapter is a quickie encyclopedia with full color photos and the particular growing requirements of more than 250 plants.

    Just one caveat. We did find one reference to use of a chemical pesticide. There are better ways to fight pests. We suggest The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control.

    All in all this is a great book for anyone interested in putting in airs!

  • Fragrant Gardens (link)

    By Jane Taylor

    Sometimes the oldies really are the goodies. Fragrant Gardens makes you want to take notes. Ms. Taylor knows her stuff and you will want one of everything on her list. She tells us the ins and outs of aromatic plants from the most fragrant cherries to the most fragrant Rose. She gives us suggestions for fragrant plants in each season and for all uses. Need a summer blooming climber or a winter blooming bulb? No problem. In this one small book your imagination and your garden will expand and grow.

  • Gardening for Fragrance (link)

    By Ann Bonar

  • The Lavender Garden (link)

    By Robert Kourik

    Lavender is a mysteriously elusive plant that encompasses many different facets of enjoyment. Botanists talk of color and leaf shape and ignore fragrance. Perfumists sniff the air for the sweetest smell. Landscapers push for the toughest or the smallest or the largest. And, gardeners want them all.

    The Lavender Garden sorts through some of the most asked questions and guides us on choosing the right lavender, planting the lavender, pruning the lavenders, and using the lavenders. This book is Lavender 101 which provides a great starting point for those just discovering lavender.

    Particularly useful are the tips garnered from folks who work with the plants. The craft and recipe section is enjoyable and answers those pesky questions, like when to cut and how to dry and what is a lavender wand.

    There are few points we couldn’t embrace, like putting sand or gravel in the soil and using chemical fertilizer. But, overall the information is helpful in choosing the right plants for the right place and use.

  • Scent in Your Garden (link)

    By Stephen Lacey

    “Scent is the most potent and bewitching substance in the gardener’s repertory and yet it is the most neglected and least understood.” This single introductory sentence sets the tone for the bombardment of the senses that awaits us within the pages of this book. Mr. Lacey’s book is so beautiful, it might be hard to believe the emphasis is on fragrance and not color. But, scent is the waft of anticipation overflowing within his chapters.

    It is his premise that the garden should reward us with pleasure of fragrance every day of the year. He has set about to fulfill this promise by giving us encyclopedic information on fragrant trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, bulbs, roses and, of course, herbs. Specific selections within each genus help the gardener to choose the most fragrant of the Mock Oranges, Honeysuckles and Old Roses.

    But, this is much more than just a beautifully illustrated reference book. There is practical advice on every page. Mr. Lacey’s observations help us to choose the right scented plant for the close border, the wall garden or the tree lined driveway. Shade, Water, Rock or Conservatory, no garden is to be without a selection that will satisfy the hunger of our nose.

    And, even though he is an English Garden Writer, Mr. Lacey has thoughtfully included English measurements (as well as metric) and notations of soil preference. If you garden in very hot areas of the US, be sure and take those part shade directions to heart.

    Whether you haven’t thought about the Scent in Your Garden or want to fine tune the orchestra of fragrant sensations in your existing garden, this book will have you making lists and tracking down those ‘can’t do without’ fragrant plants.

  • The Scented Home: Natural Recipies in the French Tradition (link)

    By Laura Fronty

    How fortunate we are to have found a small stash of Laura Fronty’s wonderful book on scent. We have been looking for a book like this for some time. Unfortunately, a lot of the really wonderful herb books are being discontinued.

    The photos in this book are top notch as the book itself is. Her first chapter is on scents from plants. After a little history and some old world recipes, Ms. Fronty dives right into some do-it-yourself potpourri recipes, like her green mix full of your own home grown herbs. These are followed by simple yet elegant fragrant bouquets, and table decorations.

    The second chapter incense and essences suitable for perfuming the air. Remember this is a book in the French tradition so there are delightful detours into things like incense papers and simple to create fruit candles.

    The next chapter takes to our beauty routine. Make your own violet water. read about the history of Eau de Cologne, and create an English-style perfumed vinegar. Several body oil an soap recipes are also included.

    And, let us not ignore the laundry. The wonderful narrative continues telling us that a very famous king required his washerwomen to wear underwear scented of soap powder made from cloves and nutmeg. This section is where you will find wonderful sachets like the one from the South of France full of lavender and rosemary and other Meditteranean goodies. And, don’t miss the exotic scented water recipe for pillows with mandarin and jasmine essence. Who wouldn’t sleep better?

    Lastly, we even have food. Her statement that good-quality herbs are a must in French cooking pretty much says it all. Perfume your jelly with scented geraniums or make a cake with green tea. History and a few pertinent recipes fill you with ideas.

    A glossary and shopping guide come in at the end. This is a very beautiful book full of history and fun references. It has already become a classic.

History

  • Infusions of Healing (link)

    By Joie Davidow

    Joie Davidow’s telling of Aztec history is mesmerizing. When she draws her conclusion that, had the Aztecs survived, their herbal medicines would rival those of the Chinese, I was totally convinced.

    Finding Herbal Infusions while looking for books on herbal tea was a stroke of luck. And, while the Mexicans may have as many herbs in their medicine chests as the Chinese, this book concentrates on about 200 or so of the most commonly found and used.

    I have always felt that we should make use of the herbs that grow around us instead of trying to grow those from another region. So I was excited to find a book about southwestern herbs.

    What I didn’t expect was how many plants were included that were NOT from the Mexican area or even the southwest. It shows that her research is up to date on what herbs are being used by the Mexicans for medicinal purposes today.

    Particularly useful is the extensive lists of names given for each plant. Common names vary so much from region to region that it can be difficult to locate the correct herb for the healing tea recipe.

    Not only are we given several Mexican names for the plants but also the Nahuatl or Aztec name. Almost every imaginable ailment is listed and which single or combined herbs should be used. Easy to use and handy to have this book is also fascinating just to read.

  • The Natural History of Medicinal Plants (link)

    By Judith Sumner

    According to Judith Sumner, in her book, The Natural History of Medicinal Plants, Sage releases methyl jasmonate when crushed. This can stimulate tomatoes nearby to produce proteianase inhibitors which make grazing insects stop. And, apparently Sage is not the only plant to offer this wisdom. Ms. Sumner tells us of many plants that react to their environments in equally astounding ways.

    Learning how plants interact can help us create a better, healthier garden. Now that is astounding!

Indoor gardening

  • Container Gardening (link)

    By Stephanie Donaldson

    This hefty volume by veteran gardener Stephanie Donaldson will keep your potting bench busy with endless projects aimed at successful container gardening. This book will guide you through the process of planting in containers for both indoor and outdoor gardening. Ms. Donaldson helps you choose the right plant for the right location. The right container and the right planting method for that plant.

    Create arrangements by color or by season. Plant in baskets, boxes or boots. Ideas abound on every single full color page. At the back of the book is an illustrated encyclopedia of over 180 varieties of houseplants with suggestions on watering, fertilizing and propagating.

    Bound as a rigid paperback and containing over 800 color photographs, Container Gardening is sure to give you years of enjoyable service.

Just for fun

  • Ann Ripley's Gardening Mysteries (link)

    By Ann Ripley

    Reading one of Ann Ripley’s Gardening Mysteries is like reading two books at the same time. What a novel idea to combine usable garden chapters with titles like Houseguests are like Gardens---Both should be low maintenance with devilish mystery chapters.

    Ms. Ripley’s heroine, Louise Eldridge, is a local TV Gardening host that digs her way through clues as well as her prize garden beds. Often accompanied or, even bailed out, by her family, Louise finds murder popping up all around her, and of course, her surroundings are usually of the garden type. Louise makes gardening take on a whole new meaning

    And, you can’t miss Ms. Ripley’s organic philosophy which comes through in, not only, the garden chapters but in the mysteries themselves. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

  • Farmer John's Cookbook (link)

    By John Peterson

    I wasn’t sure I wanted to read a cookbook written by a farmer. I mean it makes sense that where there are vegetables, there should be someone who knows how to cook them. But, somehow “John” just didn’t seem like a great name for a chef, and what kind of dish could a guy with a pitchfork make? I already know how to steam, bake and boil my veggies. Turns out John has a whole staff of dedicated vegetable cookers, and the recipes (255 of them, covering 35 vegetables) they have come up with are just as unique as John and his staff at Angelic Organics.

    This is a very personal book. When you read it, you forget that it is a cookbook. You are taken along on a journey, reading a story about how this man’s life unfolds on his farm over many decades. As you travel his road, you find you are excited to turn the page and learn what more he can contribute to your understanding of where your food comes from and how you can grow and prepare your own in a natural, harmonious fashion. If you are a backyard gardener, you will relate to his trials and relish his remedies. If you are a cook, you will wonder why you never put these herbs and vegetables together before.

    The main body of the book is divided into three chapters — early, mid and late season harvest. Each of these contains a section for each vegetable that would be ready at that time of the year. I really like the little part of each section that gives you partners for that vegetable. For instance, for cucumbers, we learn that allspice, basil, cilantro, coriander, cumin, dill, garlic, horseradish, lemon balm, mint, mustard, oregano, parsley, tarragon and toasted sesame seeds are particularly nice. The main attraction to each individual vegetable section, though, are the recipes. Try Baked Cucumbers in Basil Cream. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually bake my cucumbers. The uniqueness of it all is what warrants this book a place on your counter.

  • Gardening by Heart (link)

    By Joyce McGreevy

    Steal some moments from your hectic day and let Joyce McGreevy’s Gardening by Heart touch you and entertain you. You might want to steal more than a few because once you start this book you will not want to be interrupted. This is a story book of life inspired by her Mother’s death and her Mother’s garden. And, her Mother must have been a remarkable woman. She certainly seemed to know how to enjoy and transfer, if even subtly, her love of plants. Now, a gardener herself, Ms. McGreevy shares the wonders of gardening with both practical ideas and anecdotal musings. Her book contains a smattering of recipes and practical tips all peppered with her miraculous insight.

    To quote her quoting her Mother, “Life is like a party. It starts before you arrive and keeps on going after you leave, so you might as well celebrate while you are here.”

    She may call herself The Potato Queen (you will have to read why for yourself), but she is really the queen of her ‘party’. Hopefully, after you read her book you will feel like the queen (or the king) of your ‘party’ too.

  • Henry Mitchell on Gardening (link)

    By Henry Mitchell

    Henry Mitchell, columnist for the Washington Post, was a gardener, philosopher and writer extraordinaire. Take a few minutes to enjoy the lighter side of gardening.

  • Peggy Lee's Gardening Mystery Series (link)

    By Peggy Lee

    The Peggy Lee Gardening series is a fun mystery series with lots of gardening tips intertwined. Peggy Lee is a lovable character with an engaging supporting cast. Reading them from first to last is a fun way to spend a winter when there is no garden to distract you; the only thing that would tear you away.

  • Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars: Grandma's Bag of Tricks (link)

    By Sharon Lovejoy

  • Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles Mystery Series (link)

    By Susan Wittig Albert

    The China Bayles Mystery Series centers around a small town in Texas and a successful female attorney, China Bayles. China has grown weary of her big city fights and takes refuge in Pecan Springs. But, her life is far from simple as she had hoped when she purchased the Thyme and Seasons herb shop. Between the perils of small town life and the remnants of her past, Ms. Bayles is kept steadily at work sorting out her life and helping the chief of Pecan Springs sort out his. This thoroughly enjoyable series is full of herbal references and more than a few mysteries.

Kids in the garden

  • Garden Butterflies of North America (link)

    By Rick Mikula

    Rick Mikula is crazy about butterflies. His passion for these fleeting flights of fancy, shines through in every word and photograph in this book.

    His instructions on how to plant your garden to attract butterflies are straight forward and invaluable. He explains the life cycle of these painted beauties and how we can accommodate their needs and enrich our lives by doing so. For instance, when he writes of their need to bask (butterflies’ internal muscles must warm to 80 degrees for flight) he suggests providing light colored basking areas to let them rev up their engines faster. He calls these places butterfly waterless ponds. He makes his in the shape of a butterfly, but any shape will do. You make an indentation in the soil, line it with plastic, add a few similar in size light colored stones or sand and stand back. He adds that, if morning dew collects, the butterflies will find this moisture when they come to bask. Of course, the sidewalk will work too, but it is not as much fun.

    There are also helpful lists of all kinds of things from how to say butterfly in a lot of different languages to plants to plant to deter insects that bother butterflies.

    If all that doesn’t hook you, then you will surely enjoy the full page color photos of 40 of North America’s most treasured visitors accompanied by a detailed page of that butterflies likes and dislikes, particular identifying marks and region it can be found in. In most of the photos, he has included a snapshot of what the butterfly looks like with his wings up. Some of them are amazingly camouflaged.

    This book is a must have for beginning butterfly enthusiasts.

  • Gardening with Children (link)

    By Beth Richardson

    This delightful book should really be titled ‘gardening with the child in all of us’, because what delights children delights adults as well. That first snap pea of the year is an ageless treasure. Ms. Richardson takes you through all the garden processes necessary to be a successful gardener. The approach is to organize each step so the children can easily follow those aspects of gardening that appeal to them.

    This would also be a great book for any beginning gardener.

    There are chapters on planning the garden, building the garden, caring for the garden, harvesting from the garden and even recipes for using your harvest. There is also a section on crafts from the garden. Ms. Richardson gives directions for a simple composter you and your children can build. She teaches how to identify good bugs from bad bugs, and what to do when they become a problem. And, she emphasizes the importance of organic gardening and how to go about it. And, all of this is presented in a way to keep children interested. Actually, we were pretty entertained too.

  • Hollyhock Days: Garden Adventures for the Young at Heart (link)

    By Sharon Lovejoy

  • Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children (link)

    By Sharon Lovejoy

  • Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars: Grandma's Bag of Tricks (link)

    By Sharon Lovejoy

  • Sunflower Houses: Inspiration From the Garden -- A Book for Children and Their Grown-Ups (link)

    By Sharon Lovejoy

Landscaping

  • Edible Landscaping (link)

    By Rosalind Creasy

  • Herbs in Bloom (link)

    By Jo Annn Gardner

    With this book you will read and read again. What better compliment can a book and its author receive? The emphasis here is on pizzazz for the garden. But, it is not fussy plants with difficult requirements that Ms. Gardner is suggesting, rather the uncomplicated perfection of blooming herbs. What could be easier than herbs? Plants that are disregarded as weeds by the unknowing, but prized by those who value their tenacious and giving nature. And, since Ms. Gardner gardens in Nova Scotia, a zone 4 climate, she is very familiar with the word difficult.

    Indeed one of the aspects of this book that makes it valuable is her familiarity with colder zones. Another plus is that she is truly a gardener. How do we know? Because only a gardener would describe Catmint as smelling like Cinnamon. This book is full of personal revelations that come only from experience. Experience that we can benefit from by reading this book.

    Eighty herbs are profiled for their value in beautifying the landscape or garden. There are many photos of her selections, including photos of more unusual herbs like Dittany. Also, while discussing Oregano, for example, she mentions numerous kinds, which brings the number of herbs discussed to around 700.

  • Landscaping with Herbs (link)

    By James Adams

    Landscaping with Herbs is an idea book. A book that every time it’s read another point of interest is noted. Mr. Adams really loves his herbs and wants to make a successful herb gardener out of each of us. More than that, though, he wants us to expand the way we think of herbs to include common culinary herbs in our landscape.

    There are six major chapters that include; creating a Fragrant Garden, a Formal Garden for Beauty, a Beneficial Formal Garden, an Informal Landscape, a Contemporary Landscape, and a Wild Landscape.

    Much appreciated is how each chapter introduces the reader to a myriad of herbs including specific named varieties of well known herbs. For instance, instead of just Thyme, many different Thymes are mentioned and discussed and often a photograph of that plant is included. Also, in each chapter are plans for using the herbs and several color photos of the herbs actually being used in the landscape. This realistic view of the plants is a big help when choosing plants for the landscape.

    There are also useful, fun tidbits on many other aspects of using herbs including information on Topiary Training, Knot Gardens and Kitchen Gardens. There are recipes too, like Meatballs with Lovage, Oregano, Savory and Basil, that make use of the herbs we grow.

    A handy chart located at the back of the book lists each plant and many of its physical characteristics such as zone and bloom season. There is also a use chart which lists the landscape use and herbal use of each plant.

    It is easy to see why this book was honored by the American Horticultural Society as a Great American Gardening Book.

  • Lasagna Gardening (link)

    By Patricia Lanza

    Patricia Lanza got carried away with her layers of stuff gardening and ended up making over 60 gardens. She wisely advises, though, that you start with just one.

    I like her approach in dealing with new gardens on sodded or weed full places. She just places wet newspapers over them and then covers that with a layer of peat moss. She layers garden matter on top of that and then more peat moss. It is a pretty informal system that allows a wonderful garden to emerge in a short amount of time.

    This book is chock full of tips and timesavers and her favorite varieties of veggies and fruits. She creates not only herb and vegetable gardens, but gets creative and gives you guidelines for every thing from white gardens to edible flower gardens.

  • Rosemary Verey's Good Planting Plans (link)

    By Rosemary Verey

    What do Elton John and The Jacksonville Garden Club in Florida have in common?

    They both like plants and Rosemary Verey’s Garden Designs. This book contains more than 25 of her designs. From knots to plots and every size in between, Rosemary Verey has created a garden for it. Each garden design is accompanied by color photos, plant listings and descriptions as well as a watercolor layout. What I really like about the book is how many of the plants are herbs. Herbs are such a natural choice for the landscape because they bring life and use to the garden.

    I particularly liked her Outdoor Dining Room Garden. In a small space, she was able to create a relaxing atmosphere capable of hosting leisurely lunches or sumptuous suppers both enhanced by the wonders of plants.

    As with all books written about plants, be sure to check a reliable source to ensure that your area is appropriate for the plant you choose. If it is a plant we grow here at Mountain Valley Growers, you can check it out in our catalog or on our website.

Lavender

  • The Genus Lavandula (link)

    By Tim Upson and Susyn Andrews with illustrations by Georita Harriott, Christabel King and Joanna Langhorne

  • The Lavender Garden (link)

    By Robert Kourik

    Lavender is a mysteriously elusive plant that encompasses many different facets of enjoyment. Botanists talk of color and leaf shape and ignore fragrance. Perfumists sniff the air for the sweetest smell. Landscapers push for the toughest or the smallest or the largest. And, gardeners want them all.

    The Lavender Garden sorts through some of the most asked questions and guides us on choosing the right lavender, planting the lavender, pruning the lavenders, and using the lavenders. This book is Lavender 101 which provides a great starting point for those just discovering lavender.

    Particularly useful are the tips garnered from folks who work with the plants. The craft and recipe section is enjoyable and answers those pesky questions, like when to cut and how to dry and what is a lavender wand.

    There are few points we couldn’t embrace, like putting sand or gravel in the soil and using chemical fertilizer. But, overall the information is helpful in choosing the right plants for the right place and use.

  • Lavender: The Grower's Guide (link)

    By Virginia McNaughton

    Congratulations must go to Virginia McNaughton for she must be the queen of Lavender. What an incredible book she has provided for all lavender enthusiasts. Photo after photo and description after description both tickles and satisfies our curiosity.

    So many questions are answered in this book, that each time it is reread there is another bit of enlightening information that makes you go’ ah ha! now I get it’. A botanist, Ms. McNaughton has provided us with specific detailed descriptions of the plant’s origins, the proper botanical nomenclature, the color of the flowers AND the foliage, and special pruning and growing requirements.

    She has broken the groups of lavenders up into sections and listed the specifics for that group, for example the Lavandula angustifolias, as well as, the multitude of named varieties that belong to that group. Also of great help are the other common names a plant may be called. For instance, Dilly, Dilly is a common name of Lavandula x intermedia Grosso.

    The only draw back to this book is that when you are finished reading it you just have to have all the lavenders she describes. So many lavenders so little time.

Medicinal

  • Allergy-Free Gardening (link)

    By Thomas Leo Ogren

    In our quest for a tidier landscape, it would seem we have been creating an allergy laden nightmare. Many thanks to Tom Ogren, an agricultural scientist, for pointing out that in plants that have separate sexes, the female is always the one without the pollen. Unfortunately, she also has the flowers that can drop and litter the yard or sidewalk. This has led to the growing trend of planting male only trees in landscapes. But, if you have an allergy or asthma, these male only trees can be hazardous to your health because they produce the pollen. The good news is Mr. Ogren explains how to top graft your trees so you might be able to save them!

    Mr. Ogren has created an extremely useful tool to rate the allergen causing potential for thousands of trees, shrubs, perennials and herbs. In encyclopedic fashion, he lays out these plants under their scientific name and adds helpful insights about many of them. His allergen rating scale is so thoroughly researched that it has been adopted by the USDA to rank entire cities.

    There is so much more to this book than a discussion of pollen though. The opening chapters of this book have many useful ideas on how to lead a healthier life and in the process reduce your allergic reactions. For instance, flowers rated on the low pollen side of 2 to 4 in this book, are usually safe to have around, unless you directly inhale their fragrance.

    Allergy-Free Gardening is bound to become a most valuable reference for all those who have allergies or who have loved ones that suffer from allergies.

  • The Chinese Medicine Bible (link)

    By Penelope Ody

  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (link)

    By Julia Lawless

    When is an oil not an oil? When it is an essential oil. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils tells us that really the term essence is more appropriate. Those tiny little vials termed essential oils are really the pure plant parts with nothing added, usually obtained by some kind of distillation process like steam. It takes a lot of plant to make a little bit of essence. Be careful not to leave the lid off because they evaporate (ever see an oil evaporate?) A plant’s essence can help to heal us, calm us, or make us happy. Different plants contain different oils that do different things. These oils used separately or blended together have powerful physiological and psychological actions. Julia Lawless brings over 150 essential oils and the plants they come from to life as she explains each plant’s chemical components and what they are used for. The individual plant pages contain not only full color photos of the plants and its parts, but also the vials of essential oils, important to those of us seeking quality oils. The therapeutic index helpful in providing a list of preferred oils for specific ailments as well as alternates if that is what you happen to have.

    I particularly enjoyed reading about the many uses of basil oil. I seem to have at least one need from each of her use categories (Skin care, Circulation, Muscles and Joints, Respiratory System, Digestive System, Genito Urinary System, Immune System and Nervous System). As a nerve tonic she rates it A1. I guess my body must know what it needs; I never seem to get enough pesto.

  • Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine (link)

    By Andrew Chevallier

    This book is pretty enough for your coffee table. But it won’t stay there. This is a dynamic book that summons herb gardeners to use the herbs they grow and herb users to grow the herbs they use. 550 herbs are profiled with photos and details of what they are used for, which part is used and how it is used. But, Mr. Chevallier doesn’t stop there. He instructs you with color photographs and hands on instructions how to make the preparations needed. He not only tells you that a lotion of Lemon Balm is used for cold sores but how to make that lotion for yourself.; It covers everything from making your own tablets to making your own tonic wine. The emphasis here is on fresh from the garden potency.; There is a large chapter on specific ailments that is cross referenced with the plant pages. There is even a section on making an herbal first aid kit.

    This is the perfect book for those who want to rely on knowing the herb they are using is the correct one, and that it is fresh and organically grown.

  • Healing Plants of the Bible (link)

    By Vincenzina Krymow

    Vincenzina Krymow, author of Mary’s Flowers: Gardens, Legends & Meditations (Living Legends of Our Lady), has written another inspirational book on plants and the Bible. Healing Plants of the Bible is well researched and has geographical and historical information punctuated with historical folklore for a well balanced presentation of many herbs and shrubs used medicinally in biblical times. 38 plants are given in-depth treatment with 40 additional plants treated lightly in the appendix. Throughout the book are motivational meditations contributed by Sister Jean Frisk. Near the end of the book is a chapter that lists Biblical Herb Gardens to visit. There is also an excellent index and bibliography that will add to the enjoyment of using Ms. Krymow’s Healing Plants of the Bible.

  • Herbal Healing for Women (link)

    By Rosemary Gladstar

    This book is special because it is written by a special woman for all women. Rosemary Gladstar is one of this nation’s leading herbalists. And, while she does not restrict her work to women, she does know first hand what their trials are.

    In this classic book she shares her simple, yet effective, herbal remedies for all stages of a woman’s life. She relates her vast hands on experience in her easy to understand directions for making everything from teas to liniments.

    Also, included is a chapter that provides details on some of the herbs she uses. One of our favorite stories comes from this chapter. It is the one she tells about breaking her leg. The way she heals her broken bones with comfrey after the medical profession has given up is truly inspiring, as is the entire book.

  • Herbal Remedies (link)

    By Andrew Chevallier

  • Herbal Remedy Gardens (link)

    By Dorie Byers

    What an important idea! Glean what medicinal properties there are from the common herbs. Ms. Byer has created over 30 specialty use gardens for everything from headaches to travel fatigue. She does it simply and with only a few important herbs and recipes. Herbal Remedy Gardens is a good book for those beginning with herbs. It will help to unlock their secrets.

  • Herbal teas (link)

    By Richard Craze

    With more than 60 recipes to choose from, understanding the nuances of making herbal teas will be a breeze. The Directory of Herbs covers 45 different plant and, not only gives the instructions for using the herb in tea, but also explains what the taste and health giving properties of the herb are. The photographs will inspire and the recipes will soothe.

  • Herbs of the Bible: 2000 Years of Herbal Medicine (link)

    By James Duke

    James Duke is to herbal medicine and ethnobotany what herbs are to the Bible; an intrinsic force. This book is the coffee table book of the Biblical Herb Books. Dr. Duke weaves history and folklore together with scientific research on over 50 herbs recorded in the Bible. In addition, Peggy Kessler Duke, his wife of nearly four decades, has added her artistic rendition of many of the plants.

    Dr. Duke has traveled more than once to the Holy Land with his own unique eye on the plants he loves, herbs. His folklore on each herb points to the places he has been and the people and plants he has studied. For instance, he tells us of Chicory, a bitter herb of the Bible, that in Iran it is used as a cooling medicine in attacks of excess bile. And, of raw Bay Laurel berries that the Lebanese mountain people used these berries mashed with flour as a poultice for dislocated joints.

    All the herbs are given a bible reference and thorough explanation of their Biblical connection. It is the history that ties us to the plants. As the subtitle of this book points out, it has been 2000 years of Herbal Medicine.

    It is evident that Dr. Duke has devoted his life to herbs and their medicinal use. His witty writing style only enhances his great knowledge.

  • Home Herbal (link)

    By Penelope Ody

    From babies to the elderly, in Home Herbal, Penelope Ody addresses the seven stages of life and how to care for ourselves at each one. Her emphasis is on taking charge of one’s own day to day health.

    She teaches us how to make and use syrups, infusions, decoctions, tinctures, tonic wines, capsules, compresses, poultices, hot and cold infused oils, massage oils, ointments, creams, lotions, emulsions, eyewashes, mouthwashes and more.

    There are full color photos of how she makes these as well as photos of the plants she uses. There is a remedies for common aliments section that lists the herbs used for specific problems and which way of using it is preferable.

    I am sure when Shakespeare wrote of the seven ages of man he had no idea how stressful life would be in the 21st century and how necessary health maintenance would be. Penelope Ody has it figured out though. Thank Goodness.

    Here is her recipe for making a cold infused oil. Tightly pack a glass jar and cover with cold pressed safflower oil or walnut oil. After it stands for 2 to 3 weeks, strain it through a muslin bag. Take this oil and add it to fresh herbs and more oil and keep repeating until you have enough to use. This book is full of great hands on information like this.

  • Infusions of Healing (link)

    By Joie Davidow

    Joie Davidow’s telling of Aztec history is mesmerizing. When she draws her conclusion that, had the Aztecs survived, their herbal medicines would rival those of the Chinese, I was totally convinced.

    Finding Herbal Infusions while looking for books on herbal tea was a stroke of luck. And, while the Mexicans may have as many herbs in their medicine chests as the Chinese, this book concentrates on about 200 or so of the most commonly found and used.

    I have always felt that we should make use of the herbs that grow around us instead of trying to grow those from another region. So I was excited to find a book about southwestern herbs.

    What I didn’t expect was how many plants were included that were NOT from the Mexican area or even the southwest. It shows that her research is up to date on what herbs are being used by the Mexicans for medicinal purposes today.

    Particularly useful is the extensive lists of names given for each plant. Common names vary so much from region to region that it can be difficult to locate the correct herb for the healing tea recipe.

    Not only are we given several Mexican names for the plants but also the Nahuatl or Aztec name. Almost every imaginable ailment is listed and which single or combined herbs should be used. Easy to use and handy to have this book is also fascinating just to read.

  • Medicinal Herbs in the Garden, Field and Marketplace (link)

    By Lee Sturdivant

  • 101 Medicinal Herbs (link)

    By Steven Foster

    According to Steven Foster in 101 Medicinal Herbs, ” Aloe gel relieves pain and inflammation and increases blood supply to injuries by dilating capillaries. It promotes recovery by increasing tensile strength at the wound and healing activity in the space between the cells.”

    This informative book brings up to date information on the history, use and recommended dosages of 101 Medicinal Herbs. Mr. Foster is a highly respected herbalist and accomplished botanical photographer. This book utilizes both of his talents with current information on how the herb should or should not be used and color photographs for proper identification of the plant.

  • A Modern Herbal (link)

    By Maud Grieve

    The name sounds good. You are looking for today’s information on herbs. After all, only the latest and greatest will do. And, here it is on our recommended book list. What could be better? Not much! But, this is not a book hot off the presses. This two volume encyclopedia goes back 60 years, when two women put their individual skills together to create a work that should be on every herb gardener’s shelf. The writer Maud Grieve and her faithful editor Hilda Leyel created a work that has not been duplicated since. We use this book at least once a week here. Each plants many common names are listed as well as the part used and its habitat. They give us a growth description, talk about the chemical components of each herb and advise us on the medicinal action of these components and how they are used. If other species of the same genus are used that is included.

    Every time we pick A Modern Herbal up we learn something new and we have been reading and studying herbs for 20 years. Two of our favorite sections are on lavender and hops. See for yourself why.

    A Modern Herbal, Volume 2 is also available.

  • National Geographic's Desk Reference to Nature's Medicine (link)

    By Steven Foster

  • Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats (link)

    By Richard Pitcairn

    Twenty years ago I had a little dog that used to follow me around and sleep at my feet. She was my shadow and I always tried to take good care of her. But, no matter what I did, she always had a problem with her teeth. When we moved, her new vet found she needed a tooth removed, and I proceeded to sing him a litany of my little dog’s dental woes. The first question he asked me was if I fed her those famous dog treats. “Why, yes,” I replied, “she loves them. How did you know?” He proceeded to explain about the sugar (molasses, corn syrup, fructose etc.) in the dog cookie; how dogs can’t brush their teeth to remove the sugar and it just sits there like battery acid and destroys their teeth. Naturally, I ran right home to read the ingredients on my familiar box of dog cookies. I was stunned. How could they do this to millions of dogs? What was my pooch to do?

    Since this was before the internet, I made a quick visit to the library. That was how I found Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. The recipes for dog cookies were just what I was after. I was a bit worried that my pal might not take to the new treats, but she loved them. I learned a lot from that book. It reinforced my innate (negative) feelings about canned dog food and bagged dry food. The first chapters deal with diet and contain explanations of what is found in commercial dog foods and why and how to make your own. There are diets for dogs and cats in different stages of life; puppy, older adult pets, lactating females, even orphaned or abandoned babies. Because it may be difficult for both you and the animal to make the transition from commercial foods, there is a chapter that deals with that.

    This book is much more than just food, though. It deals with the total environment in which the animal lives. Much of it is common sense—fresh air, exercise and a safe and warm place to sleep—but much of it is detailed information about how to care for your animal. It is these details that make the difference. The second half of the book is an encyclopedia of medical situations. To help you recognize the problem your pet may be having, each condition’s symptoms are clearly presented. Holistic remedies are presented that include Vitamin, Homeopathic, Flower Essences and Herbal treatments. Dogs and Cats are treated differently when necessary. Acupuncture and Chiropractic treatments are also discussed. There is also a chapter on emergency situations. At the back of the book are lists of suppliers.

    My little friend has been gone for many years and now I have two medium-sized mutts that have come to live with us. Abandoned as puppies, there was more than one time the need for advice reared its head. I still cook for them. Laugh if you will, but they are healthy and happy, and I feel good about what I am giving them. One way I have found to prepare food for them is in our crock-pot. It works while I do and I can usually make a week’s worth at a time. Even so, there are times when I fall back on canned food. But, I try to pick out brands with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. I don’t eat that stuff, so why should they?

  • The Natural History of Medicinal Plants (link)

    By Judith Sumner

    According to Judith Sumner, in her book, The Natural History of Medicinal Plants, Sage releases methyl jasmonate when crushed. This can stimulate tomatoes nearby to produce proteianase inhibitors which make grazing insects stop. And, apparently Sage is not the only plant to offer this wisdom. Ms. Sumner tells us of many plants that react to their environments in equally astounding ways.

    Learning how plants interact can help us create a better, healthier garden. Now that is astounding!

  • Peterson Field Guides for Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs (link)

    By Steven Foster and James Duke

    Written by noted authors Steven Foster, James Duke and Christopher Hobbs, both the Eastern/Central and Western guides are a great way to learn about the plants around you.

    The purpose of these books is simple. It is to help you identify the plants around you. The pages of these books will astound you. If they weren’t so small and handy, they would be coffee table books. Full of gorgeous photos and encyclopedic facts, these books let you take the first step, identification, toward appreciating the thousands of plants in your woods and forests.

    Each book contains Common Names and Botanic Names, Conservation and Harvesting, Parts Used and How, Where Found and Warnings, and, of course, those great photos.

    Learning about these plants from the photographs and insights of respected herbalists, botanists and naturalists allows us to discover, appreciate and preserve the treasures in our own back yards.

    The EASTERN/CENTRAL GUIDE contains photos for all plants listed and covers the all states east of, but excluding, Colorado, Montana, and New Mexico. It does not fully cover the southern half of Florida or the southern and western halves of Texas. Adjacent regions of Canadian provinces are included but toward the southern western and extreme northern extensions of the range, the coverage is less extensive.

  • Peterson Field Guides for Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs (link)

    By Steven Foster and Christopher Hobbs

    Written by noted authors Steven Foster, James Duke and Christopher Hobbs, both the Eastern/Central and Western guides are a great way to learn about the plants around you.

    The purpose of these books is simple. It is to help you identify the plants around you. The pages of these books will astound you. If they weren’t so small and handy, they would be coffee table books. Full of gorgeous photos and encyclopedic facts, these books let you take the first step, identification, toward appreciating the thousands of plants in your woods and forests.

    Each book contains Common Names and Botanic Names, Conservation and Harvesting, Parts Used and How, Where Found and Warnings, and, of course, those great photos.

    Learning about these plants from the photographs and insights of respected herbalists, botanists and naturalists allows us to discover, appreciate and preserve the treasures in our own back yards.

    The WESTERN GUIDE contains 500 species and almost 600 photos and covers the area west of the Mississippi River from the western Great Plains and West Texas through the intermountain West, including Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah, to the desert Southwest of New Mexico and Arizona and the Pacific states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Many of these plants also occur in adjacent areas of southern Canada, northern Mexico and Baja California.

  • Tyler's Honest Herbal (link)

    By Steven Foster

Pest control

  • Deer Proofing Your Yard and Garden (link)

    By Rhonda Massingham Hart

    This book should really be called 101 ideas for hopefully keeping deer at bay. As any one who has dealt with deer in the garden knows, it is not one thing you do, but a combination of techniques that insures a minimal amount of damage to the garden. And, this book is chock full of suggestions about creating your perfect landscape and keeping your deer sweet sanity at the same time. Rhonda Massingham Hart compels us to understand the deer and its life by going into details of their traits and habits.

    She lists deer resistant plants and includes some roses which seem to be less appetizing than others. Not surprising her list comprises many herbs, such as Rosemary, Oregano and Thyme. She organizes her selections into several garden plans based on what kind of setting you may have. There is a comprehensive review of fencing methods and repellants that are currently on the market. And, while we do NOT condone the use of electrical dog collars or thiram fungicide sprayed on your plants, this is a most thorough discussion that should be read by all who have suffered deer damage to their gardens.

  • The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control (link)

    By Barbara Ellis

    End your worries about garden problems with safe, effective solutions! This easy-to-use problem-solving encyclopedia covers more than 200 vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, trees, and shrubs. The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control combines color photos of both friend and foe with encyclopedic sections on plant problems and organic remedies in this comprehensive volume. If you are looking for answers, this is the place to look.

  • Insects and gardens (link)

    By Eric Grissell

    Order out of chaos. Insects are a natural part of gardening. But, all too often the habitat for these creatures is missing and so the garden goes lacking, usually in beneficial insects.

    Interested in how the two go together? So is entomologist, Eric Grissell. He seems a little surprised to find out we are also interested. This is a fascinating look at why we need the plants in our gardens to attract the insects. Not a bug book really, because it is not full of tedious plates of one bug after another. Rather this is a book that attempts to get us to understand the delicate balance necessary to have a successful garden with as little artificial intervention as possible. His opinions are strong on how to go about this and frankly we like that.

    From Bees to Wasps, Mr. Grissell helps us understand how the insects live, grow, feed and die. An easy to read and extremely entertaining book with many unusual color photos.

    If your garden is a little too quiet or overrun by some unwanted garden pest this book can help you create a place more amenable to you by making it more amenable to your beneficial insect friends.

  • Trowel and Error: Over 700 Organic Remedies, Shortcuts, and Tips for the Gardener (link)

    By Sharon Lovejoy

Pets

  • Herbs for Pets (link)

    By Mary L. Wulff-Tilford and Gregory L. Tilford

  • Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats (link)

    By Richard Pitcairn

    Twenty years ago I had a little dog that used to follow me around and sleep at my feet. She was my shadow and I always tried to take good care of her. But, no matter what I did, she always had a problem with her teeth. When we moved, her new vet found she needed a tooth removed, and I proceeded to sing him a litany of my little dog’s dental woes. The first question he asked me was if I fed her those famous dog treats. “Why, yes,” I replied, “she loves them. How did you know?” He proceeded to explain about the sugar (molasses, corn syrup, fructose etc.) in the dog cookie; how dogs can’t brush their teeth to remove the sugar and it just sits there like battery acid and destroys their teeth. Naturally, I ran right home to read the ingredients on my familiar box of dog cookies. I was stunned. How could they do this to millions of dogs? What was my pooch to do?

    Since this was before the internet, I made a quick visit to the library. That was how I found Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. The recipes for dog cookies were just what I was after. I was a bit worried that my pal might not take to the new treats, but she loved them. I learned a lot from that book. It reinforced my innate (negative) feelings about canned dog food and bagged dry food. The first chapters deal with diet and contain explanations of what is found in commercial dog foods and why and how to make your own. There are diets for dogs and cats in different stages of life; puppy, older adult pets, lactating females, even orphaned or abandoned babies. Because it may be difficult for both you and the animal to make the transition from commercial foods, there is a chapter that deals with that.

    This book is much more than just food, though. It deals with the total environment in which the animal lives. Much of it is common sense—fresh air, exercise and a safe and warm place to sleep—but much of it is detailed information about how to care for your animal. It is these details that make the difference. The second half of the book is an encyclopedia of medical situations. To help you recognize the problem your pet may be having, each condition’s symptoms are clearly presented. Holistic remedies are presented that include Vitamin, Homeopathic, Flower Essences and Herbal treatments. Dogs and Cats are treated differently when necessary. Acupuncture and Chiropractic treatments are also discussed. There is also a chapter on emergency situations. At the back of the book are lists of suppliers.

    My little friend has been gone for many years and now I have two medium-sized mutts that have come to live with us. Abandoned as puppies, there was more than one time the need for advice reared its head. I still cook for them. Laugh if you will, but they are healthy and happy, and I feel good about what I am giving them. One way I have found to prepare food for them is in our crock-pot. It works while I do and I can usually make a week’s worth at a time. Even so, there are times when I fall back on canned food. But, I try to pick out brands with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. I don’t eat that stuff, so why should they?

Roses

  • Growing Roses Organically (link)

    By Barbara Wilde

    For thousands of years roses grew wild and carefree. The only practices used or known were organic. Then rose breeders started exploring the possibilities and many roses were created that are disease prone, hard to grow and discouraging to gardeners. Chemical manufacturers came to the rescue and now Roses are one of the most chemically treated class of plants in the landscape.

    So do Organic gardeners have to forgo this lovely sculptured flower? Not at all. As Barbara Wilde explains the proper selection of old roses combined with some exciting new disease resistant roses gives gardeners more than a fighting chance for growing beautiful, fragrant roses.

    Starting with a bit of history we see how the rose got into the mess it is in today and what is being done about it. Giving us the names of today’s rose breeders that are concerned about our success with roses is a special bit of information we can carry with us when we choose the right rose for us. Understanding the different classes of roses, which is presented here in a clear concise way, will also help us to choose what is right for our gardens.

    As organic gardeners know success in the garden comes with the proper care of the soil, the right selection of site and the best choice of plants. Ms. Wilde teaches us all of this and much more. From fertilizing to pruning and more, her instructions are easy to understand and very thorough.

    She addresses disease and insect problems and even suggests how to plant a beneficial insect garden to help defend your roses against dastardly bugs.

    The best part of the book, though, is her chapter on remarkable roses. This encyclopedic like chapter is divided into sections of use. From small shrub roses to recommended ramblers, we are given over 100 choices for the best roses to grow easily and organically. Each rose is given vital statistics including class, hardiness, size, pruning instructions and more. The photographs will have you drooling as you choose which rose to plant first.

    I was glad to see that Ms. Wilde shares my feeling that roses don’t need to be isolated in a garden by themselves. In her last chapter, she shares her garden designs for roses in mixed borders, wild gardens, wildlife gardens and hedges.

    Growing Roses Organically is an important book for anyone just getting interested in roses, struggling with roses now, or looking to change from using harsh chemicals to natural methods.

Troubleshooting

  • Trowel and Error: Over 700 Organic Remedies, Shortcuts, and Tips for the Gardener (link)

    By Sharon Lovejoy