Book Review: New Naturalism

Horticulturist Kelly D. Norris packs a lot of ideas, information and philosophy in New Naturalism: Designing and Planting a Resilient and Ecologically Vibrant Home Landscape (Cool Springs Press, 2021). The book argues for a “nature-forward” approach to home garden design—an approach in which gardeners plant with the ecological functions of plants, the natural tendencies of…

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Book Review: The Perennial Kitchen

Local author Beth Dooley’s latest cookbook, The Perennial Kitchen: Simple Recipes for a Healthy Future (University of Minnesota Press, 2021), is a celebration of all things local and sustainable: from food grown by local farmers and ranchers to your home garden. The book focuses on how to use these ingredients to create healthy and delicious…

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Book Review: The Backyard Homesteader

Books on becoming more resilient and self-sufficient have been popular for years. Some are memoirs from those who’ve done it, such as two of my favorites, Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Vegetable Miracle and Joan Dye Gussow’s This Organic Life. Others tend toward the practical, from the 1940s classic, The Have-More Plan, to more recent books on…

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Two New Books for Vegetable Gardeners

Winter is a time many publishers issue their new gardening titles—perfect for winter reading for northern gardeners. These two new books for vegetable gardeners are packed with great information, particularly for gardeners who like to get the most from their vegetable space. The authors are both horticulturists and contributors to SavvyGardening.com. While neither of them…

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Book Review: A Year in Flowers

With a blizzard raging outside and frigid temperatures predicted for the holidays, it seems the perfect time to dream about next year’s garden and growing bouquets. Erin Benzakein’s book, A Year in Flowers (Chronicle Books, 2020), may help you make that dream a reality come spring. Benzakein is the owner of Floret Flower Farm in…

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Book Review: Houseplant Party

Lisa Eldred Steinkopf is known as the Houseplant Guru on the internet, where she hosts a blog of the same name and frequently writes for home and garden magazines and websites. Her latest book, Houseplant Party, is geared to less experienced houseplant lovers and those with a crafty bent. It would be a great gift…

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Book Review: Uprooted

I am a big fan of garden memoirs (as evidenced here, here and here) because they dig deep into why each of us gardens. Paige Dickey’s new book, Uprooted: A Gardener Reflects on Beginning Again (Timber Press, 2020), is a beautiful example of the genre—beautifully imagined, beautifully written, beautifully photographed. It’s one of the best…

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Review: The Midwest Native Plant Primer

As a gardener who likes to use as many native plants as fit (both physically and aesthetically) in my urban yard, Alan Branhagen’s new book will be an often consulted guide. Branhagen, who is director of operations at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and former director of horticulture at Powell Gardens in Kansas City, has two…

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Book Review: The Earth in Her Hands

In The Earth in Her Hands (Timber Press, 2020), Jennifer Jewell introduces readers to 75 women in horticulture and gardening. Some are names you’ll recognize from plant tags or seed packets, such as Renee Shepherd of Renee’s Garden Seeds or Annie Hayes of Annie’s Annuals and Perennials. Some are famous for other endeavors, such as…

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Book Review: Foliage First

One of the mantras often repeated by garden designers is “think foliage first, then flowers.” Foliage lasts throughout the growing season and sometimes hangs on into winter, while flowers on trees, shrubs and perennials tend to be fleeting. In this book by Washington-state based garden designers Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz, foliage is both the…

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