My current favorite summer garden book list


Most of us in Texas gardening are now indoors, reading our books and designing our fall plantings. Of course, my ideas are much bigger than I will eventually accomplish outside, spurred on by the books I’m reading. Here’s a couple of my favorites that I’m enjoying.

Designing and Planting Small Gardens, by Peter McHoy. “A practical guide to successful gardening in smaller spaces, with step-by-step techniques and more than 700 color photographs”.

So many “small garden” books seem to be filled with ideas that only work if you have an unlimited budget or an exotic locale that just happens to be on the small side. This book contains ideas that the everyday suburban gardener can easily incorporate. It’s easy to read, and contains many step-by-step instructions. The photos are gorgeous, but it isn’t just a coffee-table book of photos, it has real information in it. The only minor issue is that the author is from England, and some of the gardening tips don’t work in the Texas heat. At the same time, I was surprised at how many plants we do have in common, and because it’s well written, I can extrapolate and apply the principles to local plants. If you are already a masterful gardener, you might not need the info on plants. But it also has ideas for painting garden furniture, paths in the garden, and even painting container pots. It’s a fun idea book.


Designing with Succulents by Debra Lee Baldwin. This book is destined to be page-worn very soon. As a neophyte gardener of anything further than the basics, there are many ways to use plants that are new to me. I love the idea of utilizing non-cacti succulents for so many reasons: conserving water in our parched Central Texas land, conserving time because I won’t be out there every day trying to save something from dying in the heat, and the exotic looks of the leaves and blooms that these plants can offer.

Here’s one review: “…easy to understand writing style is user friendly to the backyard gardener, yet the breadth of information is just as appealing to the expert. Baldwin should be commended for what might be the best succulent landscaping book written to date.” Maureen Gilmer, host of Weekend Gardening

The author loves succulents, and gives beautiful ideas for which ones work well together, the habits of various species, and she even has gorgeous photos of some beautiful RED Aloe plants that are out there. I stayed up quite late last night reading this one, and it’s one of the few gardening books that I want to read every word and not just look at the pictures. A wonderful book! I can’t wait to put some of her suggestions into my garden.

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4 thoughts on “My current favorite summer garden book list

  1. Oooh, I need to check out both of these books, especially the succulent book. I’m right there with you, trying to incorporate more succulents into my garden, both because they deal well with the heat, and because they look good year-round and one of my goals is to add more winter interest to my garden. During the last month or so, my standout plants have been things like ice plant and my sedum “blue spruce” that always look sculptural and perky. The one drawback I’ve found with succulents, though, is that your really need to keep an eye out for ants. There’s this blue-grey star-shaped succulent I’ve photographed on my blog a few times where I actually spent an afternoon watching an ant colony deconstruct one and carry the pieces off. It was unreal!

    Lori,
    You seem to have plenty of standout plants to me based on what I’ve seen on your website. Maybe we can trade succulent ideas and passalongs as we get them going. I haven’t seen the ants attack my existing ones – yet – but what does that say that you spent an afternoon watching ants? 🙂
    Robin

  2. Thanks! Have you ever done either? I have to admit I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I’m older now, so I’ve slowed down a lot comparatively, but I still find that I am always the one left wanting to do more than the rest of my friends. Thanks for the fave.
    Robin

  3. Thanks for the reviews. They both look interesting.

    I found the “Small Gardens” book while looking through Amazon at the books you reviewed on your post. Thanks for the guidance. Robin

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