Students across the county soon will be given reading lists now that school is back in session. Like teachers, gardeners also have their list of must-reads.
For Martinez resident Fran Weber, Walter Reeves and Eric Glasner's Month-by-Month Gardening in Georgia is a must.
"I use this book every month to keep up with what needs to be done in the yard in the way of planting, pruning, fertilizing, etc.," Weber said. "Included are separate chapters for edibles, annuals, perennials, lawns, bulbs, roses, shrubs, trees and vines/ground covers."
Gardener Jil Powell also recommends Month-by-Month Gardening and said it is imperative that gardeners use books that address the Southern region. She also suggests 501 Answers and Southern Living Gardening Guide .
Betsy Ristroph, a member of the Cherokee Rose and After Six garden clubs, relies on Gardening with Native Plants of the South, by Sally Wasowski.
"I highly recommend this book," she said. "It was my introduction to native plants and how to use them."
Ristroph said she also depends on the Southern Living guide. She said it's most helpful to read books that are directed toward gardening in the South.
"I find it difficult to use gardening books not aimed at the southern United States because our area has such different conditions, such as heat, humidity, night temperatures, etc. That advice for the Northeast and Pacific Northwest areas doesn't apply here," she said.
Betty Crowther said there are so many wonderful gardening books available that it's hard to choose a favorite.
"The Internet is a great tool, but it can't replace the pleasure of owning a beautiful book," she said.
She said Passalong Plants, by Steve Bender and Felder Rushing, is a "wonderful and humorous book about plants that are often not found in nurseries but are passed along from gardener to gardener," and includes lots of anecdotes and information on growing, propagation and photographs.
She also suggests The Southern Gardener's Book of Lists, by Lois Trigg Chaplin, and Tough as Nails: Flowers for the South, by Norman Winter.
While some gardeners might put one or two gardening-related books on their shelves, others have libraries stocked with books full of information on their favorite pastime. That is true for Ginny Allen and Judy Kirkland.
Kirkland, a retired English teacher with a master's degree in reading and a specialist's degree in English education, has numerous favorites. Among them is Perennial Combinations: Stunning Combinations That Make Your Garden Look Fantastic Right from the Start, by C. Colston Burrell. Kirkland said the book includes "beautiful pictures and growing tips for plant combinations for specific sites."
She also suggests Darrell Trout's Kitchen Garden Planner. This book includes garden plans, growing times and specific plant suggestions for herb, knot, cottage and various other types of gardens.
Not to be left off the recommended list is Over the Fence with Joe Gardener: Your How-To and Why-Do Guide, by Joe Lamp'l.
"I have gotten much of my inspiration from his pictures and topics," said Kirkland, who also suggests several magazines. Making the list are Horticulture, Garden Gate, Country Gardens, Georgia Gardening and Fine Gardening.
When Allen has a problem in her garden she turns to Rodale's Garden Problem Solver by Jeff Ball. She also enjoys the Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and Flowers by Lance Hattatt and agrees with the suggestion of Month-By-Month Gardening in Georgia.
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