Sunday, July 28, 2013

Reliable References

Yesterday I noticed that my Beautyberry Bush was getting totally out of hand. It is planted in the border of the kitchen garden and is really taking up way too much room. To be honest, it is a case of the wrong plant in the wrong place. But hey, I really, really wanted a Beautyberry Bush and at the time that seemed to be the place for it. The question now is, when do I prune it? It gets these fabulous, bright purple/pink berries in the late summer/early fall, but also gets small flowers this time of the year. I grabbed my trusty book, The Pruner’s Bible, for the answer. This got me thinking about the books in my collection that I use the most. I have a considerable amount of gardening books...I do love books AND I love gardening, so it makes sense. However, there are three books that I refer to the most often and would be lost without them.

The American Horticultural Society’s Encyclopedia of Gardening by editors Christopher Brickell and Elvin McDonald. This was my very first gardening book. I still refer to it at least once a year, if not more. It covers everything you could possibly want to know about gardening, from how to create a garden to how to maintain it. Want to know more about soil and fertilizers, coldframes and cloches, or water gardening? You’ll find it all in this hefty book. Reading it is like lifting weights.

An essential: “The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening.”

Month-By-Month Gardening in New Jersey by Pegi Ballister-Howells. I bought this book in 2005 and refer to it often. Sections include Annuals, Bulbs, Fruits, Ground Covers and Vines, Houseplants, Lawns, Perennials, Roses, Shrubs, Trees, Vegetables. Each section is broken down into months. For example, if you want to look up when to prune your roses, look up roses and browse the months and you will see that you should prune them in March, or April at the very latest. They have specific books for many states, if not all of them.

“Month-By_Month Gardening in New Jersey.”

The Pruner’s Bible by Steve Bradley. I bought this a few years ago because I had no idea when and how to prune certain shrubs in my yard. This book tells you when and how to prune pretty much any shrub you can think of, from Abelias to Wisteria. There are helpful diagrams and illustrations for each shrub type. This is the book I reached for when I wondered when I should prune my Beautyberry Bush. The only problem was, I didn’t know the Latin name and couldn’t find the common name in the index. I ended up looking up the Latin name online in order to find out that it is Callicarpa.

“The Pruner’s Bible” by Steve Bradley.

“The Pruner’s Bible” turned to the page on Callicarpa.

Out of all of my many gardening books, these are the ones that I use the most.

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