It seems like there are plenty of book titles covering every topic, with a book for every season, and yet, new titles arrive on the stacks daily. Gardening tomes fill several shelves at any good bookstore, and publishing houses are offering up plenty of works that focus on a particular plant group, provide solid information on how to grow, harvest, and enjoy your garden– in other words, how to make your garden dreams come true. Here are a few new garden-related books you might like to read:

Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte lists hundreds of vegetables and herbs and details which ones complement or detract from each other.

Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew shows how to grow more in less space through very practical instructions and illustrations. His postage stamp gardens may not be for everyone, but he has lots of good ideas.

The New Organic Grower: A Master’s Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener by Eliot Coleman presents sustainable ways of maintaining the health of the soil and growing and harvesting healthful foods. A down-to-earth guide for novice and experienced gardeners alike.

Propagation Basics by Stephen Bradley is lavishly illustrated and provides comprehensive information on every aspect of growing your own plants from saving seed to starting cuttings and dividing perennial plants.

Rain Gardens: Managing Water Sustainably in the Garden and Designed Landscape by Nigel Dunnet and Andy Clayden is a detailed guide to channeling and capturing water in the landscape. Great ideas for saving and utilizing this most precious resource-water.

Designing with Succulents by Debra Lee Baldwin compiles excellent examples from dozens of designers in how to use these easy-to-care-for and drought-tolerant plants. It also describes in detail more than 90 different species of water-thrifty succulent plants.

And then there is one classic that keeps being encyclopedic, relevant, and just plain interesting:

Sunset Western Garden Book by the Editors of Sunset Books and Sunset magazine is the “bible” for gardeners in our region. From the detailed maps defining 24 different climate zones to the plant descriptions that include exposure requirements, water needs, and common and Latin names, this book does it all for thousands of plants.

July Tips

• Divide bearded iris. Dig up clumps, save healthy growing ends. Cut leaves down to 6Ë and replant immediately. Share extras with your neighbors and friends.

• Don’t over-water California natives. Remember they are used to a summer drought and warm, wet soil encourages some soil pathogens.

• Pick vegetables often to encourage more production.

• Mulch, mulch, mulch. Water carefully and thoroughly.

• Plant citrus, avocados, and other subtropical fruits and ornamentals such as Brugmansia, Hibiscus, and passion flower.


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