When you have an interest in a topic or hobby, it is only natural to read about it, and serious readers all have their own libraries. While we are blessed with an excellent public library system in Calgary, you can’t pop by at midnight or 6:00 am when you want to look something up; hence the personal library. I have been collecting books about plants and gardening for years, and have my favorites. Check them out, and add to your own collection those that sound appealing and appropriate for this time in your life. (I have several about vegetable gardening, for example, which no longer apply as my shady garden now grows only flowers.)
Lois Hole’s Perennial Favorites – Although published in 1995, it is still the essential primer for perennials in Alberta. Contains descriptions of her 100 favorites, and most will be found in local Calgary gardens.
Lois Hole’s Bedding Plant Favorites – 92 of her favorite annuals, as of 1994, and still applicable to our Alberta gardens. This is a must for the beginning gardener with perfect pictures and clear descriptions.
And other books by Lois and Jim Hole – many others on Trees and Shrubs, Vegetables, Roses, and Bulbs.
Great Canadian Plant Guide by Trevor Cole– Short descriptions and photos of 3000 plants sorted by their Latin names. You will be comfortable with botanical names by the time you have read through this one, guaranteed. A small and compact little volume that fits in a handbag.
The A-Z of Garden Flowers by Bay Books – This one is a bigger volume, with many tender varieties that are not hardy here, but a great resource to have on the library shelf when a name comes up that needs researching. I don’t find their zone information to be very accurate – they think everything needs Zone 7 or better, even our hardy Cranesbill Geranium!
Encyclopedia of Container Gardening by Geoffrey Burnie – Absolutely anything that grows in a pot, outdoor or indoor.
Front Yard Gardens by Liz Primeau – Fabulous ideas for projects large and small – great photos of examples to copy.
Herbs, the Complete Gardeners Guide by Patrick Lima
Best Bulbs for the Prairies by Liz Leatherbarrow & Lesley Reynolds – These are Calgary Horticultural Society women who really know their stuff. They have written several books.
The Prairie Gardener’s Book of Bugs by Nora Bryan & Ruth Stahl – You may not need this every month, but there are times it is real handy to have at your fingertips.
Alberta Yards & Gardens, What to Grow by the Alberta Agriculture Food & Rural Development. – A big book for under $10.00 full of valuable information. Order online through the Alberta Government.
If you have a favorite gardening book, please email me and let me know so I can add it to the list!