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Category: Home and Garden


Categories: Home and Garden

Booklist's Top Gardening books

Click here for the full list online on the Booklist website:
Top Ten Craft and Gardening Books.

I've pulled just the gardening books for this blog post.

The brief descriptions/reviews are by the list's author Brad Hooper.

American Eden: From Monticello to Central Park to Our Backyards; What Our Gardens Tell Us about Who We Are. By Wade Graham.

Garden designer and historian Graham presents a fresh, critical, and brilliantly wide-ranging interpretation of the form, function, and meaning of American gardens.

The Edible Front Yard. By Ivette Soler.

Soler inspires and guides readers in transforming their front yards into beautifully diverse gardens that provide delicious, healthy produce, both tried-and-true and exotic.

Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation. By Andrea Wulf.

In her uniquely discerning and zestfully anecdotal inquiry, Wulf astutely traces how profoundly the great horticultural passions of the Founding Fathers (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison) shaped America’s founding principles.

The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Own Food: Save Money, Live Better, and Enjoy Life with Food from Your Garden or Orchard. By Monte Burch.

Burch offers exceptionally lucid how-to gardening guidance to encourage readers to grow their own fruits and vegetables to save money, improve their health, protect the environment, and enjoy food like never before.

The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible: How to Grow a Bounty of Food in Pots, Tubs, and Other Containers. By Edward C. Smith.

Best-selling garden guru Smith explains with enthusiasm precisely how to use containers to grow, harvest, and enjoy homegrown vegetables, yard or no yard.

* * *

Look for more gardening books by using "gardening" as a key word and sorting the list by date.

Fine-tune your search by adding key words like vegetable gardening or container gardening or landscape gardening

posted by Sharon


Categories: Home and Garden

Declutter Your Home!

House Works: How to Live Clean, Green, and Organized at Home
America's leading housekeeping expert shows you how to de-clutter, organize, and clean your home, with easy-to-remember tips for every job, from keeping your bathroom clean and doing the laundry to sorting out paperwork and organizing the family photo album.

10,001 Ways to Declutter Your Home on a Small Budget
Who thought organizing your home and office could be fun? 10,001 Ways to Declutter Your Home on a Small Budget is just that and more. With a lively design and inspirational, inexpensive solutions, this guide offers life-changing possibilities. The authors look at why clutter happens and suggest ways to change clutter-accumulating behavior. They illustrate ways to efficiently organize necessary possessions (including the importance of defining necessary items), and examine dozens of ways to dispose of clutter.

Ideas for Storage
This title offers hundreds of innovative and original storage solutions to help keep things tidy and create a sense of space. From clothing to coin collections, and bongos to bicycles, our lives are filled with cherished items of every conceivable size and shape. "100+ Tips & Ideas: Ideas for Storage" is a superb volume that presents readers with hundreds of ideas for solving storage problems. The designs featured don't just help contain our prized possessions - they can even help shape the character of a home and lend a feeling of space and hospitality.

Unstuff Your Life!: Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life for Good
One of the country's most sought-after professional organizers makes his foolproof rescue plan available for everyone. Acknowledging that it's often the "stuff behind the stuff" that holds people back, Mellen offers an action-based plan to redirect clutterers from dwelling on their feelings.

Synopses from


Categories: Home and Garden

New Gardening Books

It's never too late or too early to start thinking about spring and planning for next year's garden. To help you with your project, here are some new gardening books that have arrived at RPL:

Jerry Baker's Perfect Perennials: Hundreds of Fantastic Flower Secrets for Your Garden by Jerry Baker

Summary: Whether starting from scratch or reviving an old, worn-out flowerbed, gardeners will learn everything they need to know to grow beautiful, blooming perennial gardens in their own yards with this book of gardening tips, tricks, and tonics. The comprehensive guide reveals more than 1,700 secrets for creating flowerbeds that will flourish year after year without having to replant, redesign, or reinvest big bucks on more flowers.

What's Wrong With My Plant (And How Do I Fix It?): a Visual Guide to Easy Diagnosis and Organic Remedies by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth

Summary: Dealing with a sick plant is one of the most frustrating situations a gardener can face. More often than not, we have no idea what is causing the problem, or how to fix it. Fortunately, help is at hand. This book provides an easy visual system for diagnosing any problem—and matching it to the right cure.

Grown Your Own Eat Your Own by Bob Flowerdew

Summary: Eating locally and growing one's own fruits and vegetables are the first steps in helping the green movement. However, many people don't know where to begin growing and harvesting their own crops. And, what happens when everything is ready to be picked at the same time? Or when the garden's bounty has been eaten? These questions and more are answered in Bob Flowerdew's invaluable new book, in which he discusses everything from what to grow for processing and preserving, when to plant them, and how to harvest them.

New Low-Maintenance Garden by Valerie Easton

Summary: In this inspiring book, Val Easton shows
exactly how to have a low-maintenance garden that doesn't sacrifice style. You won't have to give up
your favorite plants or settle for expanses of ugly bark nuggets. You just have to unlearn some bad old
habits and pick up some good new ones.

Perennial Care Manual by Nancy J. Ondra

Summary: The best-laid perennial garden designs result in gorgeous beds that bring color and texture to home landscapes. But no matter how perfect the garden, how glorious the color, how eye-catching the combinations, no perennial garden stays beautiful by itself. The plants need tender care - watering, pruning, deadheading, and dividing.


Categories: Home and Garden

Succulent Container Gardens

Succulent Container Gardens: Design Eye-Catching Displays with 350 Easy-Care Plants
by Debra Lee Baldwin
635.9525 BALDW

Sharon's review: If you still have a terracotta pot or two to fill, consider popping in a combination of sedum (stonecrops) and sempervivum (hen and chicks). I've been summer potting my hen and chicks for years. Lifting them up from ground level focuses attention on the exquisite detail of the individual plants.
The book is filled with photos to you give lots of ideas, and there is also some good plant care advice.
* * * * *
Here's what the Booklist reviewer has to say:
In her follow-up to Designing With Succulents (2007), Baldwin presents design ideas for container gardens of every stripe: elegant to traditional, miniature to bonsai, to a chic minimalism. She shows off to great advantage the architectural qualities and jewel-like colors of succulent species in head-turning groupings that illustrate such fundamental design elements as rhythm and repetition, and in arrangements showing simple yet striking marriages between single plants and glazed pots. Baldwin will surely ignite a fire under green thumbs who are already drawn to this realm of intriguingly textural plants, with abundant examples of gorgeous private and nursery gardens abetted by succulent displays of starkly upright and cascading forms, ruffled leaves, and rosettes. Regardless of skill level, gardeners will draw on Baldwin’s expert propagation advice for a cost-cutting way to expand one’s garden. Further instructions for the care of these drought-tolerant, fleshy-leaved plants, from agaves to aloes to yuccas, include methods for overwintering, and a list of cold-hardy cacti and succulents.


Back to the Land in Spain

Driving Over Lemons: an optimist in Andalucia, by Chris Stewart

[This book was the latest choice from the Regina Public Library "Book Club in a Bag" collection, and is reviewed by members of the Dewey Dames, a book club consisting of former and present RPL staff.]

Chris Stewart, former drummer for the rock band Genesis, led a peripatetic life afterward. He yearned for a permanent home, following many years spent shearing sheep and writing travel manuals for the "Rough Guide" series.

While traveling in Spain, Stewart fell in love with a remote mountain farm in the Alpujarras which lacked running water, electricity, and even an access road. He made an offer on the property, and then informed his wife Ana, back in England, of what he'd done.

The memoir which follows this impulsive purchase revolves around the development of Chris and Ana's relationship, including the birth of their daughter Chloe, the development of relationships with their neighbours, and the development of a working farm and livable home.

Of the eight people at the Dewey Dames meeting, all but one of us liked the book very much. Some concerns were raised by those who felt that the tenor of the book was somewhat patronising, and a little macho, but others pointed out that Spain is still noted for being a "macho" society, and that Stewart self-mocks as much as he pokes fun at others.

The descriptions of the harrowing and backbreaking work were all too realistic, and while we enjoyed reading about it, almost all of us thought we'd rather not experience it personally - this was the perfect type of book to enjoy as armchair travel!

Stewart has written a sequel - The Parrot in the Pepper Tree - which is currently only available at RPL in spoken word format. The title in book format can be inter-library loaned. You can also catch up on Stewart's latest doings on his website:


An Italian Idyll

A Vineyard in Tuscany by Ferenc Máté

Hungarian-Canadian author and sailor Máté (The Hills of Tuscany) recounts in wry, candid detail how he rebuilt a Tuscan ruin into a world-class winery. Living in Tuscany with his artist wife and son while savoring the landscape, food and pleasant neighbors wasn't enough for Máté, who admits he thrives on adversity. He wanted his own castle and finagles the purchase of a 13th-century friary in Montalcino, with a proper forno (oven), a forest crammed with porcini and 60 acres of land — 15 of which he fashions over three hard years of work into a vineyard sprouting robust harvests of Sangiovese, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and Syrah grapes. His diary of sorts regales the reader on the process of restoring the ancient ruin, called La Colombaio: first by detailing how an Etruscan house was constructed, then by observing how the various workmen were hired (and what they ate for lunch). While hacking in the forest, he finds the remains of a 3,000-year-old city, inviting the interest of archeologists. Máté breaks from the construction and excavation for treks through the Dolomites before returning to prepare for the toilsome but ultimately satisfying vendemmia (harvest).
From Publishers Weekly

This was a very enjoyable read; Máté and his family had the daring to actually follow their dream of living on an ancient Italian estate, and to develop their own wines, following the traditional methods of wine-making. Their audacity pays off, and they find themselves the proud proprieters of an award-winning winery, with kudos from wine experts such as Jancis Robinson.

The memoir is full of the joys of life - hard work, good friends, fabulous food, and the sense of truly accomplishing your life's goals. An added leavening of humor and humility add to a delightful tale of an appealing couple and their precocious son.


Summer time building!

Stylish sheds and elegant hideaways by Debra Prinzing

Product Description
Virginia Woolf was right. Women–and men, it turns out–yearn for a room of their own.

But instead of a little nook beneath the eaves, that room is now a shed. Today’s sheds, however, are not dusty shelters for plants and tools. Lace curtains have replaced cobwebs, charming antiques stand where shovels and rakes once rusted, and instead of corrugated walls, you will find cedar shingles and window boxes. Sheds are stylish and elegant and offer a hassle-free and affordable way to create more space without undergoing a major renovation. They function as artists’ studios, writers’ retreats, yoga dens, entertaining pavilions, children’s playhouses, garden rooms, or serene hideaways for any personal pursuit.

In Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways, Debra Prinzing and William Wright showcase twenty-eight innovative and beautifully imagined spaces from New York City to East Hampton, from Seattle to San Diego, and from Atlanta to Austin to Santa Cruz. Some are elaborate and luxurious; others are delightfully modest. They are built in urban gardens and suburban backyards and tucked away on rural properties.

Stunning, lush color photography graces Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways, bringing the reader into each space and face-to-face with all its nooks, crannies, and details; the text describes how the owners’ needs and interests inspired the shed practically and aesthetically. With sample plans for building a shed, advice on the practicalities of designing and decorating it, and thoughts from backyard philosophers who celebrate the appeal and possibilities of simple structures, Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways is both an inspiration for creating your own backyard destination and an armchair journey to some of the country’s most private and serene places.

My Thoughts
Coming from a home where space is at a premium I think the ideas in this book are brilliant! Why not turn that little used potting shed into a backyard get away? Why not take a beaten up old garage and make it into a guest house? There are so many great designs in this book it's hard to pick a favorite! They range from the simple out door dining space to the elaborate greenhouse! So go ahead and have a gander, maybe you'll pick up a new idea for a summer project!

--The Library Technician


Categories: Home and Garden


Composting: an easy household guide by Nicky Scott

Product description:
Composting is fun and easy! You can make compost even i fyou live in an apartment and don't have access to a garden. This book provides all the information you need for successful composting -- a satisfying way to live lightly on the Earth.

My thoughts:
This is SUCH a neat little book. Small and compact (so you can tote it around the garden), it's FULL of information on how to start and maintain your own composte pile. There's suggestions on different ways you can do it, what requires more work and the different types of bins you can make or purchase. I can hardly wait to try it out this spring!!

--The Library Technician


Categories: Home and Garden

Therapy anyone?

Apartment therapy presents Real Homes. Real People. Hundreds of Real Design Solutions. by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan

Product Description from
From the Web site that attracts more than 3 million unique visitors a month, this groundbreaking book features 40 homes decorated by real people. Over 400 photos show details of all sorts of abodes from a tiny rental in Brooklyn to a condo in San Diego to a ranch-style in Miami. Each home profile includes floor plans, detailed resource lists, and "how I did it" explanations from the renters and owners who created fresh and entirely original interiors. Edited and written by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, Apartment Therapy founder and frequent makeover expert on HGTV, this bible of accessible design ideas is the ultimate home decor book for the DIY-savvy.

If you're like me, and you live in a lovely home that has yet to be completed to your satisfaction, it's always refreshing to have a look at someone else's finished home. In Apartment Therapy there are great ideas that won't cost you and arm and a leg. The pictures are clear, and capture all the highlights of these different spaces and a floorplan of every space is given at the beginning of each description. There are great space saving techniques too, as the spaces tend to be small. Even though it says apartment, it doesn't mean it wouldn't work on a small house as well. It makes me just want to pop over for some coffee and look around in person!!

You can also check out Apartment Therapy: the eight step home cure by the same author for more space overhauling ideas!!

--The Library Technician


The smell of Spring is in the air...

Now that gardening season is almost upon us, here are a few great titles from Lone Pine Publishing. These wonderfully colourful and informative books focus exclusively on gardening in the Prairie Provinces.

Best Garden Plants for Saskatchewan and Manitoba by Patricia Hanbidg and Laura Peters

Whether an experienced gardener or a beginner, you'll find this book indispensable on your next trip to the garden centre. We've selected the best annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, vines, climbers, roses, bulbs and herbs for growing conditions in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Beautiful photographs complement detailed information on habitat, height, spread, required soil, light and water conditions, as well as tips on the best way to use a given plant in your garden.

Gardening Month by Month in Saskatchewan by Laura Peters and Patricia Hanbidge

Create and maintain the beauty of your garden year-round by using this handy seasonal planner. Keep track of important annual events as they occur year after year, and make this book an enduring record of your garden. Filled with tips and advice on what to do and when to do it, this seasonal guide can be used any time of the year. Its inspiring colour photographs and useful and interesting garden topics will help you keep your yard looking its best. You'll find tips on how and when to prune, starting plants from seed, creating wildlife habitat, lawn maintenance, plant propagation, houseplant care, container gardening, gardening planning and design ideas, first and last frost date maps, charts on climate normals and extremes, as well as a list of books, clubs and online resources for Saskatchewan gardeners.

Perennials for Saskatchewan and Manitoba by Patricia Hanbidge and Laura Peters

An easy-to-use and comprehensive primer on the perennials that grow best in Saskatchewan and Manitoba:

• 500 perennials suited to the prairie climate
• 530 brilliant full-colour photographs
• tips on planting, growing, recommended varieties, problems and pests
• details on light, water and nutrient needs
• how and when to start your plants
• Quick Reference Chart provides at-a-glance information on colour, blooming, height, hardiness, and light and soil requirements.

Annuals for Saskatchewan and Manitoba by Patricia Hanbidge and Laura Peters

Discover the 573 best annuals for Saskatchewan and Manitoba with this richly illustrated, colourful guide. Organized into 91 accounts, this book will acquaint you with the species, varieties, hybrids and cultivars that are best suited to your garden. 300+ color photographs

--The Library Technician

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