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Neighbors Growing Together | Mar 30, 2017

Garden Talk - Good reading for cold evenings

By JEAN THOMSON | Jan 05, 2017

Chilly January evenings are the perfect times for gardeners to turn their attention to some horticultural reading.

Of course there are catalogues to be perused. By now, it’s a rare gardener who hasn’t exclaimed over some of the gorgeously presented plants.

Still, nothing else can take the place of an honest-to-goodness book that is selling purely information and inspiration. If you don’t have one or two already waiting for your attention, the American Horticultural Society is ready to offer its recommendations.

Each year the AHS solicits nominations for its book awards. A panel of judges with impressive credentials in horticulture and communication screens the nominations carefully and finally announces its top choices – five for 2016.

First up is “The Art of Gardening” from the Chanticleer gardeners and R. William Thomas. (Chanticleer is a 35-acre garden near Philadelphia.) The judges cite this book’s wonderful photography and describe it as “packed with extraordinary ideas” with “numerous takeaways for home gardeners everywhere.” Along with most of this year’s other award winners, it is published by Timber Press.

The next selection is “How Plants Work”, by Linda Chalker-Scott. The judges explain that the complicated science behind gardens is made understandable and practical by this fine book.

“Planting in a Post-Wild World” is described by the judges as “inspiring” and “trailblazing.” The authors, Thomas Rainer and Claudia West, offer guidance that can forge new connections between people and nature.

Standing as the sole exception to Timber Press’ dominance, “The Seed Garden” comes from Iowa’s own Seed Savers Exchange. The judges describe it as a wonderfully written and illustrated guide to growing plants and saving their seed. This book is edited by Lee Buttala and Shanyn Siegel, with contributors Michaela Colley and Jared Zystra.

Finally, “Seeing Seeds” offers a different approach to the subject of seeds. Filled with lavish photographs, this book also includes “informative discussions that explain the journey that each seed takes.” Robert Llewellyn and Terri Dunn Chace receive the credit for this award winner.

If any of these titles and descriptions entices you, a trip to a bookseller or an electronic book order fulfilled will bring some beautiful and inspiring company for a few winter evenings.

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