Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Underneath all that snow - a garden!

Believe it or not - with all the snow flying past the windows - it is almost time to start getting out in your garden. The first day of spring is this Friday, so I thought I would highlight one of our new gardening books. Generally speaking, when I choose new books for the gardening section anything with the words 'drought-resistant', 'desert' or 'heat-tolerant' in the title get passed over. But books with the words 'shady', 'cool', and 'wet' are a must-have for our library.
Managing the Wet Garden: plants that flourish in problem places is by British horticulturist John Simmons. About 20 years ago, he purchased a wet meadow in Norfolk, England and he began experimenting with different species and varieties. This book is the product of that long-term experiment. Since the climate of England and Southeast is so similar, his advice should translate well to our own gardens here. He has plenty of ideas for selecting plants - including ferns, trees, shrubs, climbers, bulbs and perennials - and for keeping your garden healthy. A mild drought that might not affect your standard garden plants (which might be barely surviving our normal soggy climate) can wipe out a moisture-loving plant. Grass, too, needs special considerations to grow in wet soil. Some of the characters in this book might be old favorites in your garden, but you will probably find some new possibilities in these pages. And thanks to our wacky weather, you still have plenty of time to special-order for the planting season.

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