Get Gardening With the Whole Family

Spring is here. This means it is a perfect time to start researching and planning what you want to grow this year. I am already dreaming about sunflowers, lavender, fresh tomatoes, and a variety of other produce and herbs. I love to garden, and have always been spoiled with the gift of family with very green thumbs. I adore fresh flowers, herbs, fruits, and vegetables and am glad to grow or have access to a wonderful supply each year.

kidgardenDuring the garden planning and planting process do not forget that everyone can take part in gardening. No matter the age, we can all dig a hole to plant a seed or young plant, pick out a plant to grow, or help chose a container to plant in. A wonderful trick to getting children (or adults) to try new foods is to have them help grow, pick, and help wash and prepare them.

kidgardens44The library has a vast gardening section in the adult nonfiction section to help with the important planning and plant choices. However, do not overlook the books in the children’s room. These books can give gardeners of all ages some ideas and inspiration to garden as a family, or to give the kids their own special little container or garden space. Here are a few of the great gardening books about involving children and getting them excited in the process.

Garden to Table: A Kid’s Guide to Planting, Growing, and Preparing Food by Katherine Hengel with Lisa Wagner
Container Gardening for Kids by Ellen Talmage
The Family Kitchen Garden: How to Plant, Grow, and Cook Together by Karen Liebreich, Jutta Wagner & Annette Wendland
The Nitty-Gritty Gardening Book: Fun Projects for All Seasons by Kari Cornell
Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 Ways to Get Kids Outside, Dirty, and Having Fun by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher
Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy
Kids’ Container Gardening: Year-Round Projects for Inside and Out by Cindy Krezel
How Does Your Garden Grow?: Great Gardening for Green-Fingered Kids by Clare Matthews
Gardening With Children by Monika Hannemann
A Kid’s Guide to How Herbs Grow by Patricia Ayers
It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden by George Ancona

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Gardens, Gardens, Everywhere

For most gardeners, there is no better season than spring. After a long winter, we forget about previous garden disasters (like those darn deer that ate their way through last summer’s flower beds…) and look forward to what will surely be our most fabulous garden ever!  As I do every year, I spent part of last winter looking through gardening books and catalogs and planning improvements to my home landscape.  One of the many wonderful aspects of working at a library is easy access to all of the best books on any subject, including lots of garden and landscape books.  Here are some of my favorites from the last couple of years.

Jacket.aspxCoffee for roses : …and 70 other misleading myths about backyard gardening  Garden “myth-busting” done with wit and style.  Save yourself time and money–one of the tips I picked up from this book will save me both.

Jacket.aspxThe Know Maintenance Perennial Garden  This simplified approach to perennial gardening uses hardy, attractive plants grown on a 10×14 foot grid. Each of the 62 garden plans combines complementary plants that thrive together and grow as a community and are designed for easy maintenance, the goal of most home gardeners. Even if you don’t switch to this system, you will find some good ideas.

Jacket.aspxLandscaping Ideas That Work.  Your yard should be an extension of your home and this terrific book covers front, back, and side yards and provides strategies for combining elements and creating spaces that work with any home. Some great before and after photos.

Jacket.aspxLawn gone! : low-maintenance, sustainable, attractive alternatives for your yard.  My husband and I have ongoing “discussions” about our too-large lawn.  Every year I drag books like this home in hopes that he will give up the turf war.  No luck yet, but I keep hoping!

Jacket.aspxThe Shady Lady’s Guide to Northeast Shade Gardening.   This is a great book for those of us whose yards are graced with large shade trees.  The Shady Lady identifies best practices, best plants, and best information, specifically designed for the zones of the greater Northeast – and leaves out all the rest. Includes a large yet highly selective illustrated plant gallery that includes all the indispensable perennials, ferns, and bulbs.

Don’t forget magazines!  We get many home and garden magazines in paper and downloadable formats, including Better Homes and Gardens, Fine Gardening, Organic Gardening and more.

This year, in addition to my own gardens and a period herb garden I help maintain at the Thankful Arnold House Museum in Haddam, I am assisting with a garden project here at the Cheshire Public Library.  Cheshire Garden club member Anupa Simpatico has designed a low-maintenance garden with four-season appeal for the front of the library.  This project supports and promotes a healthy environment for birds and pollinating insects and carries out the Cheshire Garden Club’s mission of garden education, civic beautification and the preservation of wildlife.  Click here to see the plan and plant list. This project wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Friends of the Library, who are helping fund it with money donated in memory of Margaret Andersen, a long-time member of the Friends and an avid gardener. The Cheshire Town Beautification Committee and several anonymous donors have made  generous contributions towards the cost of the plants and shrubs.
The garden will be enjoyed by library visitors as well as countless people who pass by the front of the library  in vehicles and on foot. We are looking for volunteers to help plant and maintain the garden.  Please contact me at drutter@cheshirelibrary.org if you are interested in helping.

 

 

Did You Know That April is Lawn and Garden Month?

gardeningmanualNow that spring is under way you might be thinking about taking care of your lawn and garden. With April being National Lawn and Garden Month I know I am starting to gather my seeds to start indoors and planning just what I want to do in my yard this year. Whether a landscaping change is in your near future, you are plotting your garden, or you are just preparing for regular mowing, it is a perfect time to get the reading resources you need to do it right.

1. The Lawn & Garden Owner’s Manual: What to do and When to Do It by Lewis and Nancy Hillgardeningcompost

2. The Organic Lawn Care Manual: a Natural, Low-Maintenance System for a Beautiful, Safe Lawn by Paul Tukey

3. The Complete Compost Gardening Guide: Banner Batches, Grow Heaps, Comforter Compost, and Other Amazing Techniques for Saving Time and Money, and Producing the Most Flavorful, Nutritious Vegetables Ever by Barbara Pleasant & Deborah L. Martingardenlawn2

4. All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space! by Mel Bartholomew

5. Decoding Gardening Advice: the Science Behind the 100 Most Common Recommendations by Jeff Gillman & Meleah Maynard

6. The Lawn Bible: How to Keep it Green, Groomed, and Growing Every Season of the Year by David R. Mellor

gardeningsolar7. Lawn Gone!: Low-Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard by Pam Penick

8. Solar Gardening: Growing Vegetables Year-Round the American Intensive Way by Leandre Poisson and Gretchen Vogel Poisson

9. The National Wildlife Federation’s Guide to Gardening for Wildlife: How to Create a Beautiful Backyard Habitat for Birds, Butterflies, and Other Wildlife by Craig Tufts and Peter Loewer

gardeningmini10. Gardening in Miniature: Create Your own Tiny Living World by Janit Calvo

This just scratches the surface for great lawn and garden books in our library. Some more of the best or most unique books I would recommend on the subject include: Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way: 18th-Century Methods for Today’s Organic Gardeners by Wesley Greene, 1,001 Ingenious Gardening Ideas: New, Fun, and Fabulous Tips That Will Change the Way you Garden-Forever! edited by Deborah L. Martin, Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening edited by Fern Marshall Bradley, Barbara W. Ellis, and Ellen Phillips, Gardening Without a Garden by Gay Search, Water Gardening Basics by Helen Nash & Marilyn M. Cook, Taylor’s Master Guide to GardeningHeirloom Vegetable Gardening: a Master Gardener’s Guide to Planting, Growing, Seed Saving, and Cultural History. by William Woys Weaver, and Lawn Care for Dummies by Lance Walheim & the editors of the National Gardening Association.

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Love (or hate) gardening and want to get some kids involved? Well then don’t forget to check in the children’s room for: Kids’ Container Gardening: Year-Round Projects for Inside and Out  by Cindy Krezel, Gardening with Children by Monika Hannemann and others, Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy, It’s Our Garden: from Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden by George Ancona, How Does Your Garden Grow?: Great Gardening for Green-Fingered Kids by Clare Matthews, or Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 Ways to Get Kids Outside, Dirty, and Having Fun by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher.