This is a gardener’s favorite time of year. All is new green growth and hopeful expectation. Weeds, bugs, and wilting heat are yet to come. Snow and freezing temperatures seem more and more remote.

It is my favorite time of year.

Whether you are an armchair gardener or a gardener with dirt under your nails (I’m a little bit of both), here are three books for the season.


Wild violets in the yard here at Maplehurst.
(all the photos in this post taken by yours truly)

Gardening books are some of the favorites on my shelves. In the age of google you’d imagine the internet would be a gardener’s best resource. In my opinion, the internet is almost too helpful. It can be difficult to sort the good advice from the bad, and I rarely google a gardening question without ending up overwhelmed. A well-edited, common-sense garden reference book is so much better.

My copy of The Garden Primer: Second Edition by Barbara Damrosch is creased and dirty. Like a good cookbook, this is a sign of its worth. When we planted apple trees, this book showed us how. When choosing blueberry varieties, I consulted this book. From roses to vegetables, from seed starting to planting bulbs, this book has just enough (and never too much) to say about almost everything that grows.


I need to learn the name of these white-flowering shrubs. They are stunning.

I bought The Tree Book for Kids and Their Grown Ups by Gina Ingoglia for my children. They’ve enjoyed it, but I know I’ve opened it up more than they have.

The watercolor illustrations are beautiful and informative. Yes, we could always turn to google images, but it is so much more satisfying to take this book along for a walk, identifying leaves and bark and fruit along the way.

It’s one of my goals to know the names of all the trees growing here at Maplehurst. This book is a very nice way to start.


Lawns without weeds or dandelions make me nervous. Our own lawn supports a healthy ecosystem of weeds.

The title of Ruth Stout’s Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, the Busy & the Indolent pretty much speaks for itself. Originally published in 1961, this book by the folksy grand dame of American home gardening is funny, entertaining, and, occasionally, quite helpful.

Stout’s advice can pretty much be summed up in one word: mulch. But, it’s a very good word. Ask me in a few years if mulching has really made vegetable gardening easier, however my broccoli seedlings do look very cozy in their mulched bed.


The magnolia blossoms are almost as beautiful after they’ve fallen.

Do you garden?



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