Yesterday I was pleased to be a guest on Better Lawns and Gardens with Teresa Watkins to talk about some books that gardeners might like to see under the Christmas tree this year.
If you live in Florida, this is a wonderful radio program to listen to on Saturday mornings. Teresa provides great information for gardening in Florida and she takes questions from callers. I have the utmost respect for anyone who can take live calls and answer questions like that on the radio for everyone to hear.
Teresa also sent me this wonderful graphic she made by using a picture of me with Santa Claus taken in 2019 and a picture of snow in my garden, probably January 2020.
And now, here’s the list of books for gardeners that we talked about the radio. (Hit that link to listen to us!)
Unearthing the Secret Garden: The Plants and Places that Inspired Frances Hodgson Burnett by Marta McDowell. Even if you never read The Secret Garden as a child or an adult, I think you’ll find this a fascinating book about Frances Hodgson Burnett and her gardens. I absorbed it over one weekend and will probably read it again this winter. Marta, as always, does a wonderful job going through Burnett’s entire life, with a focus on gardening.
Tiny Plants: Discover the Joys of Growing and Collecting Itty-Bitty Houseplants by Leslie F. Halleck. I’ve always loved tiny plants and now I want so many after reading about them in this book. So naturally, I went to a local garden center to see what miniature houseplants they had and came home with a Bird of paradise, Strelitzia nicolai, which indoors can grow up to six feet. Not itty-bitty! Thankfully, Halleck lists some sources for some of the plants featured in her book.
Tropical Plants and How to Love Them by Marianne Willburn. Marianne would be proud of me for buying that Bird of paradise plant which I’ve potted up and placed in a south-facing window. I love how Marianne describes tropical plants in terms of the relationships we’ll have with them. For Bird of paradise, she recommends a long-term commitment, and I agree. Now, the cannas I still need to dig up? We’ve been best friends for two years now so I need to dig them up soon to store over the winter.
Herbal Houseplants: Grow Beautiful Herbs – Indoors by Susan Betz. Sometimes you want a houseplant to do just a little more than sit there in a container and just grow. Susan tells us in this book which herbs make good houseplants and provides great advice not only on how to grow them but also on how to use them. Just the thing for those of us who can’t garden outside in the wintertime.
The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature by Sue Stuart-Smith. Stuart-Smith does a wonderful job exploring how nature and gardening improve our lives. This is a read and re-read book because there is so much to absorb. You’ll really come away from this book with a better appreciation of the value of gardens and gardening for everyone’s mental health.
Of course, also on this list are my books, which I know you know about. If you don’t, where have you been? Check out my online store to see that I’ve got all five essay books in a bundle for a discount.
And add to the list Teresa’s books, A Gardeners Compendium series, volumes 1, 2, and 3. These are filled with quotes about gardening, with information on where they came from. I must warn you, these are wonderful rabbit holes to fall into at any time of the year.
Now, just a bit more advice on giving these books as gifts.
Piece of advice number one is you can buy yourself a gift! I do it all the time. See above about the Bird of paradise plant. And I bought Unearthing the Secret Garden and The Well-Gardened Mind for myself. I had actually checked out the eBook of The Well-Gardened Mind from my library then read through two chapters and immediately had to buy a copy for myself. And Marta McDowell is an author who is on my “buy always” list so I automatically buy any book she writes.
Piece of advice number two is gardening books are great paired up with a plant or gardening tool. I think you can figure out which kinds of plants to buy for Tiny Plants, Tropical Plants, and Herbal Houseplants. For Unearthing the Secret Garden, pair it up with an edition of The Secret Garden which I realize is not a plant or a tool but do it anyway. For The Well-Gardened Mind, maybe some seeds or a trowel?
You get the idea.
Before I forget, please join me in wishing The Christmas Cottontail a belated Happy Birthday!
First published on November 16, 2018. Hard to believe this little book is three years old already!
And that’s enough book talk for today. Please note that the links for the books on my list are affiliate links for bookshop.org. And I received review copies of Tiny Plants, Tropical Plants, and Herbal Houseplants with no expectation that I’d put them on my book list for Christmas gift-giving.
Teresa Watkins says
Carol, I’m so looking forward to reading all the books on your Christmas Book List! My secret wish (okay not so secret) since the first time I read your book was that it needs to become a Christmas cartoon classic. Thank you for coming on Better Lawns and Gardens. Hope to see you soon!
Lynn Purse says
What a great list of books, Carol! I’m a Secret Garden fanatic, so “Unearthing the Secret Garden” just went on my wish list. “The Well Gardened Mind” has been on the list for a while; I’m a big fan of Tom Stuart-Smith and he was promoting her book on insta. Sounds like a wonderful winter read. And I love the pic of you with Santa!