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The Greener View: Gardening Books

Jeff Rugg on

Last minute shopping for gifts sometimes comes down to just grabbing some books that sound like they might be interesting. Here are some new ones that came out this year that the gardener on your list might not have heard about.

One of the easiest groups of plants to grow is the grasses. They supply much of the food we eat. Corn, rice, wheat, barley, oats, rye, millet and sorghum are all grasses. They are wind-pollinated and couldn't care less if bees and other pollinators exist. They will easily produce a crop, but how do you grow grains in the garden, you ask? Brie Arthur answers your questions in her book "Gardening with Grains." From design to planting to harvest, you'll learn along with Arthur how rewarding it can be to add grains as ornamentals or edibles to your own farm-to-table garden.

Speaking of easy-to-grow plants, the Proven Winners brand of perennials and shrubs are readily available all across the country in just about every garden center. The problem comes when you want to arrange them in your landscape. How do you set them out so that they look nice, not just now but also in future years? Many gardeners place plants too close together or in sun when they need shade. In a few years the planting looks half-dead or overgrown.

To prevent these design problems, authors Ruth Clausen and Thomas Christopher have created a dozen garden designs and an additional 25 container recipes that add color and pizzazz to gardens of all sizes -- even on balconies and patios. The book is titled "The Proven Winners Garden Book."

Many people think that orchids are hard to grow. This is mostly a misunderstanding because people put plants where they don't belong. When you think of orchids, you probably also think they come from tropical jungles. While many orchids do grow in tropical areas, some are native to Midwestern prairies, and some to the pine woods of our northern states. Obviously, these are not tropical areas.

 

"Orchid Modern" is a new book by Marc Hachadourian. He is the senior curator of orchids at the New York Botanical Garden. This book is not a dry recitation of growing orchids in flowerpots on a window sill or under a grow light in the basement. There are chapters covering easy to care for orchids and how to grow healthy orchids, as well as a seasonal care calendar. But there are also 60 pages of creative orchid-growing projects. He explains how to make an orchid- and tillandsia-growing live wreath. Another project is a wall-hanging sculpture of orchids growing on a piece of driftwood. Orchids are not just for the hot greenhouse any more. Anyone can grow certain ones in beautiful arrangements in the house.

For the gardener who has a large property of mowed grass but is looking to create a more natural area, the recently revised "Planting the Natural Garden" by Piet Oudolf and Henk Gerritsen is the inspirational book to read. These internationally famous gardeners from Holland were pioneers in the natural garden movement that started more than 30 years ago. This book is the essential text for gardeners who want to create naturalistic garden using hardy perennials and grasses.

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Email questions to Jeff Rugg at info@greenerview.com. To find out more about Jeff Rugg and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

 

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