New Books for New Gardeners

March 21, 2021 Updated: March 21, 2021

As we talked about last week, many people became gardeners in the past few years, especially last year. Gardeners have always turned to books to help them learn.

Here are new books that are going to deserve a special place on the gardener’s bookshelf.

For the people who are new to houseplants, there is a need for a dictionary to look up plant names and an encyclopedia for a picture and a profile that describes the plant and where it is from. Care information would also be nice. All of that and more is covered in the fully illustrated book called “Plant: House Plant Choosing, Styling, Caring” by Gynelle Leon. The etymology of the plant names is worth the price of the book. This book is due out in April.

As the surveys mentioned last week, many people buy plants without knowing the proper growing conditions to keep the plant alive. “Doctor Houseplant” by William Davidson covers all you need to know about the maintenance and care of 42 of the most popular houseplants. It explains the ideal thrive conditions for each one. It has photographs of damaged leaves and flowers that help identify common problems that are sure to develop when people try to grow plants in the wrong places.

“Houseplant Party” by Lisa Steinkopf takes the care of houseplants a step beyond the typical how-to-take-care-of-plants book. It does tell how to take care of plants, but it also covers decorating with plants. There are do-it-yourself projects for using plants to decorate the house, not just set plants next to a window and hope for the best.

It includes the old-fashioned macrame hanger for a vining plant, but it also has shadow boxes to display an air plant collection. Or how about creating a Zen garden for your favorite relaxation spot? There are dozens of easy-to-care-for houseplants that are a perfect fit for your desk, windowsill, bedside table, or bathroom vanity.

“The First-Time Gardener’s Guide to Growing Vegetables” by Jessica Sowards was just released. She explains how to prepare, plant, and tend your first vegetable garden. She shows how to design an eco-friendly layout, how to grow with the seasons, and how to maximize your harvest, even if you only grow in a small space.

New gardeners are intimidated by preparing the soil, how often to water and fertilize, and what to do about insects. All this and more are covered by this excellent book from Cool Springs Press.

I have saved my favorite of these books for last. “Grow Your Own Spices” was released in December, also from Cool Springs Press. Author Tasha Greer explains everything you need to know to grow over 30 species of spice-producing plants. Herbalist Lindsey Feldpausch finds a balance between the science and the natural world of spices, and gives beneficial information on each of the spices.

Regardless of whether you’re using spices as a health booster or to just flavor your meals, you will love the easy-to-follow advice on growing a wide variety of plants.

The book doesn’t just cover the typical garden-variety spices such as dill, fennel, and mustard. It covers cinnamon, sesame seeds, paprika, and wasabi. Greer explains how to grow the tropical spices, such as ginger and turmeric, even if you don’t live in a tropical climate.

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