Books on Gardening

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14
Books on Gardening

While visiting my daughter at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (central Massachusetts) we headed north to the little town of Montague (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montague,_Massachusetts) to an interesting destination; a funky used book store (with restaurant and bar) called the Montague Bookmill. It is situated alongside the scenic Sawmill River in a wooded setting.
http://www.montaguebookmill.com/

One has to be amused by their slogan:

On this particularly fine autumn day, they were setting up for a catered wedding party, so access to the falls that flow over widening gradually descending bedrock could only be viewed from afar.

There is an eclectic variety of books, lots of interesting items, and I was pleasantly surprised by the gardening section, some real goodies and at bargain basement prices! I was tempted by so many books, but was trying to watch my wallet in these lean times, so had to pass on good books on the genus Impatiens, Buddleia, some rock gardening books, and more. The best find was Malcolm McGregor's "Saxifrages, a Definitive Guide to the 2000 Species, Hybrids & Cultivars".

Maybe some of you have this excellent book already; if you don't, you really should get a copy, it is an essential addition to any rock gardener's library. There were two copies there, marked down from $50 to $20, a great buy, I now own one of those two copies :). I haven't had enough time to read through the book in detail, mostly I've been skimming and thumbing the pages, and ogling the superb quality photos... I had no idea about the full scope of this fascinating genus. During these busy days, with work required to close out the fall season, I might have to reserve this book for quality winter reading. The book is rich in information and color photos, here's a miscellaneous selection.

Back cover, and back cover liner showing our illustrious NARGS Rock Garden Quarterly Editor, Malcolm McGregor.

Have you picked up a good gardening book lately?

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

A good book that I picked a little while ago: Insects and Gardens - In Pursuit of a Garden Ecology, by Eric Grissell. Insects are so ubiquitous that we can often tend just to take them for granted, or find them simply pests, so this book opened my eyes to a lot more that goes on in the garden! (I also bought Malcolm McGregor's Saxifrages at the Nottingham Conference, and it is very finely produced and written - wonderful value for $20!).

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

Jeremy
Title: Guest
Joined: 2009-10-01

As the growing season comes to an end, the prime reading season is fast approaching! Not that reading ever ends, but it does tend to wax and wane as we have time for it.
I'd like to point out that in our Book of the Month feature over in the Wiki we have reviews of books that we believe will be of interest to rock gardeners. We have eleven so far, and they are increasing at the rate of, oh, about twelve per year. We have reviewed Malcolm MacGregor's  book on Saxifrages and last month's book on "Attracting Native Pollinators" was reviewed by Eric Grissell.
You can get to the Book of the Month here: http://nargs.org/nargswiki/tiki-index.php?page=Book+of+the+Month
And while I'm usually in favor of patronizing small businesses over the big guys, it's rare to find those out-of-the-way deals like Mark did. Our Book of the Month links directly to Amazon, which usually has the books about as cheaply as you'll find, and if you buy using the link NARGS gets a percentage of the transaction!

Jeremy
Uxbridge, MA US Zone 6a
Consider that you might be wrong.

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

What a charming place, Mark, sort of quintessentially New England... at least it seems so to someone who's never been there! 
Love the slogan - though I guess I  don't "need" gardening books (not in the sense of food, water and shelter, at least), I have sure never regretted buying them... as the groaning bookshelves here in the computer room will attest.

That's an amazing bargain on Malcolm MacGregor's book, one I ordered a while back, have pored over many times, and anticipate using for as long as I garden. 
Jeremy, the new book on phloxes was already on my must-get list, and I've just checked out the Book of the Month, and now I'm lusting over Flowers of Turkey:  A Photo Guide too.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Thanks for reminding us Jeremy, personally I think I focus too much on NARGS Forum and not enough time on Nargs.org web site itself!  I just went back and read a bunch of the book of the month features; what a useful feature indeed. 

Lori, I not only want the Flowers of Turkey book, but the Flowers of Crete too!  I have sagging wood book shelves too, with "slide-in" shelves, and believe it or not every few years or so I flip the shelves over (camber side temporarily up)!  Yes, the Montague Bookmill has a definite New England flavor... old wood buildings perched among rocky wooded terrain.  With its character and low book prices, it offers even more incentive to go out to visit my daughter at college more frequently and include a side trip to the bookstore.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Tim wrote:

A good book that I picked a little while ago: Insects and Gardens - In Pursuit of a Garden Ecology, by Eric Grissell. Insects are so ubiquitous that we can often tend just to take them for granted, or find them simply pests, so this book opened my eyes to a lot more that goes on in the garden! (I also bought Malcolm McGregor's Saxifrages at the Nottingham Conference, and it is very finely produced and written - wonderful value for $20!).

Tim, it must be an excellent book, on Amazon it gets a straight out 5-star rating out of 10 reviews!
http://www.amazon.com/Insects-Gardens-Pursuit-Garden-Ecology/dp/0881925047

Then Amazon will show related books, so many enticements!
Bees, Wasps, and Ants: The Indispensable Role of Hymenoptera in Gardens
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0881929883/ref=rdr_ext_sb_ti_sims_2

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Mark - I think there is a remarkable symbiosis that occurs between books and gardening; I couldn't do without either but I have great admiration for writers like Malcolm and Eric Grissell who are able to present their knowledge of a subject so informatively and accessibly.

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

Amen: I have been party to the production of 4 books over the last 20 years: they are an incredible amount of work and they get old really quickly.

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Kelaidis wrote:

Amen: I have been party to the production of 4 books over the last 20 years: they are an incredible amount of work and they get old really quickly.

Panayoti, rather than being a contributing party to several books, we need you to be THE sole party for a book or two or more!

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Kelaidis wrote:

Amen: I have been party to the production of 4 books over the last 20 years: they are an incredible amount of work and they get old really quickly.

Old books are ok in my book  ;)  Some of the better botanical references I have are the older ones.  Among my favorites is the "Illustrated Flora of the Pacific States" (Washington, Oregon, and California) by Leroy Abrams, an exquisite 4-volume 2,771-page tome with various publication dates spanning 1923 - 1951.  Even though taxonomy is dated, the older taxonomy can be followed to current-day taxonomy, and supply incredible detail about plants, detail that can be lost in highly abridged modern floras.  The level of detail in beautiful botanical drawings is a lost art that rarely makes an appearance in recent works.  With nearly 3000 pages of botanical descriptions, detailed keys, superb and informative botanical illustrations, and a cumulative index, it was an incredible bargain to find the complete 4-volume set for a mere $50 (this was about 30+ years ago).

Back in the early BC days for me (Before Children), I subscribed to a number of out-of-print specialty book dealers, and some of my most treasured acquisitions come from these days where I had disposable income I could actually spend on such self indulgences.

One interesting aspect of these older floras, the new floras (such as the new yet-to-be-completed online Flora of North America) often dispense with the older synonymy as if it didn't exist, maybe considering it too old to be relevant, so it becomes disconnected and nearly impossible to follow the synonymy references one encounters without the older floras in hand.  The older floras also seem to contain a level of detail not seen in new floras; again invaluable information in understanding the variability of species.  One gains a better understanding of the relationship between species, adding traceable context to taxonomy changes that might have occurred through the years.  In the next two book scans, I show a couple pages from this publication, showing some Phlox species and Eriogonum species.  What a joy to have such publications.

Now if only I could find Part 2 of the Atlas of North American Astragalus by Rupert C. Barneby, 1964, I would be a happy man... the 596-page Part 1 volume is lonely for its companion.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Mark - that really is the most extraordinarily beautiful book. It does put much that is published today to shame. I could never claim to have the deep botanical scholarship that goes in to such a book and there must be few who do these days, but it is a delight to see such fine illustrations.

As a student in London I picked up two parts of 'The Endemic Flora of Tasmania', with exquisite colour plates by Margaret Stones, for £5 apiece (along with 'Rock Garden Plants of the Southern Alps' by W. R. Philipson and D. Hearn) and these are amongst my most treasured books. Faced with such wonderful writing though it can be hard to set pen to paper oneself! The skill is always finding one's own words.

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

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