Books offer help for gardeners |

Books offer help for gardeners

Dan Doyle

Now that it is spring, it is time to start thinking about planning this year’s garden. The library has a wide assortment of books on gardening and landscaping.

An excellent “no-nonsense garden guide for Westerners” is the seventh edition of the “Sunset Western Garden Book.” Starting with the 1967 edition, the “Sunset Western Garden Book” introduced a system of 24 climate zones for the western states. This system helps gardeners decide on appropriate plantings specific to their climate zone. The book is a practical guide to gardening with sections including: plant selection, a western plant encyclopedia, a resource directory, glossary of gardening terms and two very complete indexes. This book is good for any western gardener from novice to master gardener.

A companion book to the “Sunset Western Garden Book” is the “Sunset Western Garden Problem Solver.” As the title states, this book deals with garden problems and offers a comprehensive common sense guide to pest, disease and weed management. One particular section of interest offers problem-solving solutions by plant type. Also contained in this book are an encyclopedia of damaging and beneficial creatures and an encyclopedia of weeds. All these sections are complemented by color pictures for easy identification.

The “Home Landscaping Guide for Lake Tahoe and Vicinity,” put out by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension in conjunction with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, has specific gardening information for the Lake Tahoe Basin. The book looks at the challenges of gardening and landscaping in Tahoe’s extreme environment. The “Home Landscaping Guide…” offers “An integrated landscape, one that is beautiful, functional, easy to maintain, environmentally friendly and relatively defensible from wildfire.” Helpful information is included, such as: recommended plants lists, pest control; planting guide, seasonal maintenance for Lake Tahoe landscapes and how to conserve and improve soils. Easy to understand instructional diagrams, a glossary of terms and recommendations for further reading round out this useful book.

An excellent comprehensive guide, “Taylor’s Guide to Perennials,” features an encyclopedia of 387 perennials with more than 400 color photographs. Included are sections on getting started, basic botany, garden designs and buying plants as well as a section on nurseries and seed sources. The encyclopedia also contains a description of the plants with a section on how to grow them. Similar to many of the other gardening books, the growing zone is listed for each plant.

For annual plants, “Taylor’s Guide to Annuals” by Barbara Ellis is a good choice. Arranged much like “Taylor’s Guide to Perennials,” this book features an encyclopedia of annuals illustrated with gorgeous color photographs. Included in the encyclopedia is descriptive and propagation information on each plant type. The introduction has chapters on growing annuals, biennials, and tender perennials with other information on planting and frost dates.

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For wildflowers a good choice is “The Wildflower Book: From the Rockies West: an Easy Guide to Growing and Identifying Wildflowers” written by Donald Stokes. As the title infers this book has two purposes: a guide to growing wildflowers and an identification guide to wildflowers. Illustrated throughout with color photographs, special attention is given to growing wildflowers in the diverse habitats of the western United States. The “gallery of favorite wildflowers” chapter features growing information, identification clues, lore, and where each wildflower listed can be found.

These books and other books on gardening can be found at the Lake Tahoe Branch Library in Zephyr Cove.

– Dan Doyle is a senior library technician at the Lake Tahoe Branch Library.