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Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Armchair Gardener

 This weekend has been quite mild and I had planned to get out in the garden today and do some cleanup.  But when I looked outside this morning, I was dismayed to see overcast skies and the sort of drizzle that the English weather I grew up with is famous for. The gardening will have to wait...

So what's a gardener to do when the weather outside isn't suitable for gardening?

One of my favorite things to do is sit and read gardening books, magazines, or any of the myriad seed and flower catalogs that show up in the mailbox at this time of year.

Garden Gate is a magazine I've subscribed to since last year.  I love the garden plans and in some cases they'll offer regional variations, so you can get the same "look" using plants that are suitable for your area of the country.  That's something that has frustrated me with other magazines and catalogs -- falling in love with a plant, only to find it's not suited to my zone.

Gardening Made Easy is an easy-to-browse book. It has a section on garden styles -- formal, romantic, modernist, cottage garden, cook's garden etc. as well as lots of lovely garden plans. There are also informative how-to sections, such as how to divide perennials, how to start vegetable seeds etc.  Experienced gardeners probably wouldn't get much out of the book, but for an enthusiastic beginner like myself, the book is a comfortable blend of inspiration and practical information.

One of my favorite books this winter has been Projects for the Birder's Garden.  My husband rolled his eyes when he saw the word "projects", thinking it would mean a list of honey-do's a mile long. But actually many of the projects are very simple - like making tray feeders and bird baths from clay plant saucers.

For sheer eye candy, it's hard to beat Birds and Blooms.  I get the magazine every other month and love browsing through the glorious photos (while all the time wishing I could take photos like those). The magazine combines two of my favorite topics, so it's a win-win for me!

What are your favorite gardening magazines or books?

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


Lancashire rose said...

Right now I am reading Monty Don's The Ivington Diaries. I love it. I just read a couple of pages a night and then move on to my novel. He holds nothing back and, despite him having been on Gardener's World, he has made as many mistakes as I. As to catalogues- I only get a few but I did get an offer to get Garden Design -3 years for $20 which sounded too good to be true. I would still rather get Gardener's World. Masses of info compared Horticulture or Texas Gardener. I always buy one when I go to the UK. The sun is out today and I spent the morning in the garden. Sheer bliss. Good luck to project man!

leavesnbloom said...

That birds and blooms publication would suit me perfectly. I'm not reading any gardening publications just now as I'm concentrating on learning photography during the winter so everything I've been reading has been orientated that way.

maiaT said...

I would like to browse through those beautiful books and catalogs too, though I don't have a garden in the city.
So this is where you take those great ideas from, for your beautiful garden.

Pearl said...

Here in Minneapolis, we are still three months from spring, but I, too, am looking through the books.

I cannot WAIT until I can leave the house without 10 pounds of protective clothing...


Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I love Garden Gate too, one of my favorites. I love sitting and looking at garden pictures in books, magazines and the internet on rainy, cold winter days.
Hope you were able to get outside.

Kathleen Scott said...

Cool post. But I giggled when I read the first bit. When I lived in England, the gardeners worked in the sound more like a Texan now.