Staying up late reading

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I got a book for 1$ at the local library sale. "Garden Design Illustrated" by John and Carol Grant, from 1954. I got it because I noticed the authors names, I have a fabulous book on Trees and Shrubs for Seattle, that they wrote decades later.
They explain stuff I was having trouble with, like combining foliage colors, and most especially, planting perennials in drifts. I could never really get it, my drifts are always blobs, or look pretty random and unorganized, though I can see that when done well it totally works. Now I might be able to do it myself! None of the other books I have read really helped me with this much.

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Ooh, cool find! Sounds very helpful. I wonder if it can be found on purpose.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I buy used books from the Barnes an Nobles website. They subcontract with hundreds of used bookstores across the country, and the inventory is listed! I have been doing it for years, you can find all kinds of obscure books. I have never had the slightest problem with a seller. I think Amazon does this too but I have been loyal to B&N because I like having actual bookstores to go to also.

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Thanks, I found it!

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

I have some very old garden books and they are sometimes more useful than the new ones with so many color photos, but not that much information...except for their use of lead arsenate, DDT....etc.

2 of my favorite are:
The Book of Annuals - Alfred C. Hottes (1945)
The Book of Perennials - Alfred C. Hottes (1945)

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Thank you, mlm, I am always looking for good gardening books. Some I re-read every year.

Do you have a copy of "Color Schemes for the Flower Garden" by Gertrude Jeckyll?

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Turtles-Let me know what you think when you have read it.

Evelyn- I am putting the Hottes books on my wish list for my next visit to B&N website.
i do have the Jeckyll book. Very interesting. I have several other books on color.
The Harmonious Garden by Catherine Ziegler is interesting too. She talks about how much of an accent color is helpful.
I have an ancient Horticulture textbook, that describes how to fumigate the greenhouse with cyanide.
What did they use lead arsenate for? It sounds doubly deadly-if the lead doesn't do you in, the arsenic will get you.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

The new ones I have on planting combinations:

Designer Plant Combinations - Scott Calhoun

Planting Combinations - Jill Billington (With photography by Clive Nichols)

re: lead arsenate...I can't find that right now. I don't remember which book recommended of the old ones...

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

I will, mlm. I'm waiting excitedly for its arrival.

Mmm, cyanide, lead and arsenic, yummy! Lol.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I found the Grant book too, and ordered it. But when it arrived, I was very disappointed to find that the pictures were all in black and white. Since then I've been away, so haven't looked at it to see if I can at least figure out what they're talking about. I didn't buy the cheapest one, opted for very good condition, etc. I spent just under $30, not happy.

Turtles, is yours any better?

I have Gertrude Jekyll's book, also a reprint but at least it's in color. Years ago a friend lent me early editions of her books and they were gorgeous. I guess they'd be a fortune now if you could find them.

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Mine hasn't arrived yet, 'though I paid for it. I keep looking...

I'm sorry you were disappointed Pam. Fortunately for me it's the text I'm looking forward to. I did get another old garden book, though, that turned out to have only b&w photos, I think it had "illustrated" in the title, so I know what you mean.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Pam- don't worry. Go ahead and read it. A lot of what they have to say is diagrams of shapes, or photos of what size or shape of tree is appropriate for a certain space. Or how to incorporate areas of perennials into a shrub border. Or which trees look good with shrubs at the base, and whether deciduous or evergreen. Only a small part of the book is actually about color (in those parts I did miss color photos).
However I am surprised it was $30. Yikes.
The other way it is outdated is where they do get specific, of course cultivars of Phlox and Daffodils have changed since it was written.
I have a copy of Colour Schemes for the Flower Garden by Jekyll. ($1 at Half Priced Books). Mine was printed in 1983, with a forward by Graham Stuart Thomas. It has B&W photos and diagrams. She wrote it in 1908, so I am even impressed there were so many photos at all. Did somebody redo her book with new photos? What a project that must have been. What reprint/edition is it? I think I would like to get one.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

I got the Grant book in my public library, which was a surprise to me. Most anything they have on gardening and garden design is at least 20 -30 years old. I have donated a lot of good gardening books and only one or two got onto the shelves. I guess they just sold them at the book sales. When I donated them they just called them "bag of books". I was furious. I will give my books to you all on DG and my gardening friends when I get ready to not need them any more.

OK, back to the Grant book...I, also was disappointed in the lack of color pictures until I actually started to read the book. Oh, they really do know what they are talking about. Not just a bunch of Garden Design Theory. I like how they show what kinds of plants need to be grouped together. Also, I liked, the specific names of trees and shrubs and the fact that they did not say just use a few things. I think that a lot of garden designers and LA's don't really know a lot of plants.

I used to live in L.A. I was appalled at the lack of diversity in plant material in many upscale areas. With the mild Mediterranean climate, there are so many plants from which to chose. Many did not have any design at all...

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Double disappointment. I started reading the Grant book today. It arrived as promised, brand new. But as soon as I turn a page, it separates from the binding, or lack of it. So the first chapter is now all separate pages that have come unglued from the book. I'm trying to remember where I bought it so I can complain.

Gertrude Jekyll's book is at the house in CT, and I won't be there until next Sunday. I'll get the publisher's details then and let you know.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Pam- I definitely think you should get your money back, my book is actually in good condition. The paper book cover is a bit fragile, but inside it is perfect. It opens up flat and everything.
Thanks for the Jekyll book plan.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

To whom shall I bequeath my G.Jeckyll books, and others, when I am no longer in good health?

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Hmm, maybe we should start some sort of DG program to give away our gardening books when we get too decrepit to garden. I like the idea of mine going to somebody who would appreciate them.

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

I agree, and I look forward to the Jekyll book details.

I finally received my copy of the Grant book, and it makes a lot of sense, but it also overwhelmed me to the point of feeling stupid. They talk about 60' by 100' city plots, but all his plans sound like they are on a huge scale. Single drifts that are 15 feet long? And he has 20 or so drifts-width in a single bed?

I think I'll end up feeling lucky that no one ever did anything with my front 'garden,' because I can start from the beginning now. This fall I have to remove some perennials from our last home though, because tenants don't know how to take care of them plus I overplanted, so I guess I'll be creating a temporary bed until I can build the skeletons of my gardens.

Slowerer and slowerer, said Alice. I did shape my front walk, but I think I made it too large. Anyway, I'm starting to slide off topic. As to the book, I didn't mind so much that the photos are black and white as I did that they're so fuzzy I can't distinguish any of the leaf shape he was talking about.

And I wish he'd included drawings of the different tree forms.

I still think I'll want to look at the trees n shrubs of the PNW book. Occasionally he could have explained in more detail, but in general his writing is clear.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Pam ~ Did you find your bookseller for the Grant book? I agree that a refund is in order. Take a picture of it, and maybe you won't have to ship it back. I once got a book from an Amazon seller. It was a reprint of a book, which looked like bad mimeograph pages...some so dark they could not be read. Still, I did not want to return it, since it was by Jane Louden. They settled for half price. This was an Amazon seller.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

turtles-get the Grant Tree book from the library first. You may not want to buy it. It has almost no photos at all, and they are all black and white. It does have exhaustive detail though, with zillions of trees listed. It is a bit dated, some newer cultivars are not in there.
Regarding oversized front walk, this just means you get to plant things that 'soften' the edges, like the books recommend.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

One of my oldies is a book by Alan Bloom, Perennials for your Garden, with black and white photos, drawings and photos of his own gardens. Then there are many color photos of various perennials. I enjoy the writing, the color/height/spread ideas, the shaping of the gardens, etc.

First published in 1974 by Floraprint USA.

Mr. Bloom died in 2005, at age 99.

The tale of the family is quite interesting:

Richmond, TX(Zone 9a)

I'm intrigued by the discussion on an actual technique for planting drifts. I thought it was just a matter of planting lots of the same. How little I know...

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

The older I get the less I know. (And sometimes I forget what I DO know...or DID!!) LOL!!!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Now I'm sorry that I resisted planting in drifts for so many years. An entire field of one plant is so breathtaking. My worry was probably based on the thought...what happens when the blooms are gone - won't it look so devoid of blooms? Not necessarily. The next amazing plant/plants just capture the eyes.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

How true, Evelyn.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

About my defective book: Barnes and Noble said I had to email the vendor, which I did last Sunday, and got no response. Today I called Customer Service, and they gave me an internal email address for the department that handles marketplace complaints. I just emailed them. Now we'll see. I hope they don't want to send me another one. I'm sure they're all made the same, don't you think?

About drifts and dead spots when they go by: I think it was from Gertrude Jekyll that I got the idea to have focus points that vary with the seasons and peak bloom periods of certain plants. So spring bulbs may be followed by ferns, which hide the dying foliage and are a quiet green while something else bursts into color- that's one of hers, I'm sure (at least I think so, lol).

My daffodils are under Daylilies in the middle bed. During that hiatus, iris and peonies along the top wall grab all the attention.

I have a row of Little Lime Hydrangeas, fronted by sedums and Fall Mums. Around and between are a creeping Veronica (early, then quiet) and a taller blue Veronica (mid summer, but still quiet). On one side is the Blue Garden (I wish it were, lol), which is supposed to be quiet late when the Hydrangeas etc start to pop.

I'm still working on it, but the point is that not every area has to be a star all the time. As long as something is fabulous, you tend not to notice what isn't doing anything just then. It's a challenge to get the balance right, but that's half the fun, right?

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Yes, Pam. As long as the v edge tables are behaving themselves.

Okay, you can probably tell I meant vegetables, but I think the auto-correct is funny, so I'm leaving it.

mlm, good point. I can use things that do a LOT of softening! Also a good point about the other Grant book; zillions of trees are not going to help me feel less overwhelmed.

I'm still working on my house; it was a wreck when I bought it 3 years ago, and build a veg garden, and design beauty out of baked clay. Then today I met a fellow gardener neighbor who reminded me to keep it fun. With the gardens that's not so hard, but the house....

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Pam ~ Don't get discouraged about the will work out. I got a good quality one from the library, so they all aren't defective.

Maybe try a different vendor next time, if this one does not satisfy you.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I got an email from Barnes and Noble saying that they would contact the vendor and let me know if they will just refund or ask for a return first. Now I feel better, at least BN is on top of it. Bad enough the seller sent a defective book, but no response to my complaint is not acceptable. I will re-order from someone else.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Sorry I recommended them, I have had such good luck with the used booksellers that BN uses.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Don't feel bad, it could happen anywhere. What's important is that BN gets involved if there's a problem. I'm waiting to see what the vendor does now.

(Susan) Xenia, OH(Zone 6a)

Pfg, copy shops can usually bind a book like that in comb binding for a couple of bucks and then they lay nice and flat too.


(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

BN came through. They were able to deal with the vendor. I sent the book back and got a full refund, so all is well.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I am now collecting books for the Long Winter's Night, in front of the fire... Any suggestions?

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

I have been looking for free books online. There are quite a few that make this claim. Some have just a few free, then there are none without charges....others are just free.

Many times one can get some very good books that have been written 100 years ago or so...wonderful gardening books.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I work the book sale at my local library. I help to sort books that come in, and every year we have a big book sale, one that two years ago was so successful that we now have a continuous sale called Gale's Sales (it's Gale Borden Library). Hard cover books are $2.00, and soft cover books are $1.00. The beauty of volunteering is that I see them first.

I have added to my collection with outrageous books. Some samples:

Right Rose, Right Place by Peter Schneider. It was in my Amazon cart! Quite new: 2009.

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Roses by Mary Moody and Peter Harkness, over 1,000 photographs. It had not been checked out for years. I think that people don't know his name, and don't realize that he was David Austin before there was a David Austin.

Roses of America, The Brooklyn Botanical Garden Roses. One of the authors is Stephen Scanniello (the man who transformed the garden) and Beverly Dodson (co-author of the Combines Rose List, a compilation of every rose available in the world; the other author is her hubbie, Peter Schneider).

Ultimate Rose, by the American Rose Society - glorious photography.

Trees and Shrubs for Fragrance, by Glen Church. Has a great book on hydrangeas.

I have about ten more. All oversize, all hardcover. The scary part is that they are getting rid of lots of gardening books. Is no one reading them?

And speaking of the quality of books! I went into the new book section of the library and got a large hardcover book. I took it home, opened it, and the binding completely came away. I went back to the library with it, assuming I would be accused of being careless with it. As I showed the book to the librarian, I did not even open my mouth before she said, oh yes, that happens all the time. Books are not being bound with the quality they once were.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

That really is a shame.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I keep an eye out for Timber Press books. They seem to be chosen by Editors who actually love plants and encourage knowledgeable writers, and bound with some kind of care. I have worn a few out though! Lately they seem to have a big sale each winter.
I have noticed at the library a real preference for new gardening books. I do this a bit too- there are so many new cultivars in the last 20-30 years. But I learn SO much from the old standards too, it is really worth seeking out good old books too. I got a 1989 hardcover book on Irises from Schreiner's for 15$, when I ordered some iris this year. It is very very interesting, cram packed with historical and breeding info, and clearly the Iris experts still think so too.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Oh Mimi, I love Timber Press books. I agree with you; the quality is truly there. I purchase them through their website, which very often has them for 30% off. Another fine label is Firefly.

The library in my former community had a garden club and, on behalf of the library, they would purchase gardening books as they were published, and there were large numbers of Timber Press books.

But another great source is going through Amazon's list of garden books for sale. There are tons of them, but there are some incredible gems that can, sadly, often be picked up for under $5.00. Two of the most amazing for lovers of roses are Gardening with Roses by Patrick Taylor (Timber Press) and Roses by Orietta Sala, (A Firefly Guide). I learned at least 50% of what I know about roses, over ten plus years of buying them, from these two books alone.

But there are some real gaps. There are only a handful of books about peonies. I have either read or own every single one. They are an odd plant in that no one has one until someone plants one in a visible location. And then, BOOM! - they are everywhere. In my old community, only one person had them. I thought them lovely (although they never staked them despite the fatt that they were under a maturing tree) so I bought three. Because my location was highly visible, after a couple of years at least 20 households bought them, because I think they had the same reaction I did. Oh, yeah - peonies!

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

There is a new book put out by Timber press written by Richard Darke and Doug Tallamy called "The Living Landscape" that I found inspiring for both the visual effectiveness and the ecological importance.
For me having a beautiful garden that also works with native plants is the icing on the cake.
I didn't purchase it yet but I did have a look at the book in B&N recently.

I do own a beautiful book by Darke called "The American Woodland Garden" which is visually pleasing and explores design and color cycles.
There is one chapter that photographs the same creek in many seasons.
The photo of a group of simple trout lily leaves filling a cleft of a rock outcropping described "looking like a school of fish" is simple and effective and something I'd like to acheive in my garden.

Doug Tallamy s previous book is also very informative for choosing the plants that are most
environmently helpful to sustain the birds butterflies,etc.

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or register to post.

Upload Images to your reply

    You may upload up to 5 images