One of my favorite things to do during the slow days of midwinter is to settle down with a good garden-related book or two; to fuel my imagination and get me inspired for the upcoming garden season. If that’s something you enjoy too, we’ve got a few recommendations for you.
One of our recommendations (Gardening in Summer-Dry Climates) is a fairly straightforward gardening book; two (The Bees in Your Backyard and Entangled Life) focus on some of the non-plant neighbors you’ll meet in your yard; and one (Braiding Sweetgrass) is a lovely, lyrical celebration of the interrelationships between humans and the green world. Find yourself a comfy chair, grab a cup of tea, and let’s take a look!
Gardening in Summer-Dry Climates by Nora Harlow and Saxon Holt (above left): This is the gardening book we need right now; specifically written for the summer-dry climates of California, Oregon, and Washington. It’s also the first gardening book I’ve come across that not only deals with things like living with wildfire, adapting your gardens for a changing climate, and learning to ‘garden where you are’; but also gets you excited and hopeful about the process. The book has a huge plant list that includes lots of native plants, with information about where the plants are originally from and what their cultural preferences and water needs are. Best of all, Gardening in Summer-Dry Climates is loaded with gorgeous photos and inspiring ideas that prove that you can have a beautiful garden that is both lush and water-conscious.
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer: One of my all-time favorite books about plants and the natural world. Robin Wall Kimmerer is, in her own words, ‘a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’. Braiding Sweetgrass effortlessly combines these different perspectives and ways of understanding the world. This is one of those rare books that actually changed me as a reader and enriched the ways in which I relate to the natural world. You should read it!
Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake: And now, a book that focuses on all the strange and mysterious things that happen in your garden below ground and out of sight. If we think of fungi at all, we tend to think of their fruiting bodies: from Chanterelles and Morels to Amanitas and Psilocybin. But the wonderful world of fungi is much bigger and stranger than that. Take a journey into this fascinating world and see ‘how fungi make our worlds, change our minds, and shape our futures’. A really fun and eye-opening read.
The Bees in Your Backyard by Joseph S. Wilson and Olivia Messinger Carril: When someone says “bees”, most people probably think of the European Honeybee – but there are actually over 4,000 native bee species found in North America (approximately 500 are found in Oregon!). This book is a great introduction to the incredible variety of bees that can be found in your own pollinator-friendly garden. Great photos, ID tips, and information about the different plants that these bees rely on; The Bees in Your Backyard will open your eyes to the beauty and fascinating life histories of our native bees.
What’s on your garden bookshelf this winter? Stop by the nursery and let us know!