July and August are hot months in Phoenix, AZ, severe hot like Minnesota is cold in January and February. So for me, it is an excellent time to stay inside and do some summer reading. I started with a novel, a Pulitzer Prize winner by Richard Powers, The Overstory and it is all about trees!
As the summer heat continued I was having so much fun I read Mark Lynas, Seeds of Science Why we got it so wrong on GMO’s
The world seems to be in a complete frenzy over the scientific efforts to genetically modify living things.
The Gardener—A Documentary film currently available for rent on Amazon, released in 2018, 84 min.
Created over 75 years and three generations, Les Quatre Vents stands as an enchanted place of beauty and surprise, a horticultural masterpiece of the 21st century. See how Frank Cabot gave birth to one of the greatest gardens in the world.
There are shopping list and gift lists circulating during the Holiday season. Gardeners may not know what might make their life easier. So here are a few suggestions tried & tested by Linda Larson, A Traveling Gardener, wandering, wondering, noticing. . .
Fantastic Flowers, Written & Illustrated by Susan Stockdale Children’s nonfiction/nature, Ages 4-94 222.peachtree-online.com
Learning to see involves looking closely and learning the language to describe what is right before our eyes. Fantastic Flowers is a perfect introduction for budding gardeners to explore the blooms in the flower beds of the world. Susan Stockdale’s beautiful illustration of the shapes of flowers that look like upside down pants, prim ballerinas, or wild baboons introduces early readers to an imaginative view of nature. A flower is not just a flower but can be compared to the shapes of other known objects. A hybrid Osteospermum spirals out in the shape of spoons, the hybrid Calceolaria represents a purse with a flap. Teaching children to name what they see helps them remember and will spark their curiosity to look more closely at the beauty of the world.
Plant Exploring The Botanical World Phaidon Editors, C 2016
My Christmas gift to myself is this glorious compilation of botanical art, all 350 pages of brilliant renderings of the plants of the world. I judged this book by its cover, it was so beautiful I wanted it for the art piece alone. The idea to pull together the oldest of illustrations of plant life to the newest technology renderings from artists, photographers, illustrators and scientists all in one volume was bold. The enormity of the work to select and arrange these is inspiring.
Lessons From the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Johanna Silver, Photographs by Marion Brenner, Published by Timber Press 2016
Today’s gardeners digging succulents and arid plants will immediately be attracted to the beautiful cover of The Bold Dry Garden. The surprise in opening the book is that before you learn about arid plants you get a story of Ruth, a curious gardener who loves plants and design. Johanna Silver has written this important story of Ruth Bancroft and her Bold Dry Garden documenting her place in American garden history. Ruth’s succulent and cactus garden in Walnut Creek, CA has been growing since 1972. For over 40 years this garden filled with succulents, cactus, shrubs, and trees from arid lands around the world has been inspiring visitors.This was long before drought conditions introduced gardeners to such interesting plants as Aeonium, Agaves, Aloes, Euphorbias, Sedums and Yuccas.
GARDENS OF AWE AND FOLLY
A Traveler’s Journal on the Meaning of Life and Gardening by Vivian Swift
Visiting gardens wherever I travel is my greatest delight, yet friends ask, “Why? Don’t you see the same plants over and over?” Vivian Swift in her new book Gardens of Awe and Folly, has the best answer to this question. She writes, “If all you ask of a garden is What?, then all you’ll probably get in reply is a planting list. But ask instead, Why? How? When? and most of all, Who? and then you’re in for a nice, long conversation.”
August is a hot month in my Arizona garden and the heat is so constant it drives me inside. Recently I’ve been busy researching gardens in New Zealand for our upcoming trip this fall. By chance I found a Youtube program featuring Australian and New Zealand gardens. The program was part of a 10 part series produced by the BBC2, Around the World in 80 Gardens with Monty Don, the host of “Gardeners’ World”. After one episode I was hooked and I’ve been traveling the world visiting gardens in Mexico, Cuba, India, Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, China, Japan, South Africa, Thailand, Singapore, South & North America.
The Art of Gardening: Design Inspiration and Innovative Planting Techniques from Chanticleer, R William Thomas, Timber Press, 2015
In the nearly 100 gardens I visited in 2015, Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, PA was by far the most inspiring. I came home and implemented design ideas from a Northeast garden into my Southwest landscape. Bill Thomas is the executive director and head gardener of Chanticleer and in the introduction he says the “book aims to be a conversation between our staff and you. . . Our garden exists to inspire and is filled with ideas to try at home.”