Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer Reading


"I've got a problem, I can't seem to stop buying plants" began my confession to my husband a couple of weeks ago.  Not, that he hadn't noticed!  Taking a break from buying plants, I've now moved on to reading about them and planning for the next phases of the landscape.

 
With the lawn chair in a shady spot by the Red Buckeye and a nice cold drink by my side, the setting is perfect for reading a good garden book.  Upon learning that my husband travels to Delaware frequently for business, a gardening friend gave me a copy of How to Grow Wildflowers and Wild Shrubs and Trees in Your Own Garden.  She thought I would enjoy learning about the plants that grow in that region should I ever join my husband on a business trip there.  What I have found fascinating are the descriptions of the native growing conditions of the featured plants.  Author Hal Bruce passionately writes about the plants he studied over the years.  Many of the plants are familiar here and grow well in the Midwest.  Blackgums, magnolias, buckeyes and deciduous hollies are among the plants he writes about.  
 

field of coneflowers 

My husband and I usually go on a road trip at the end of spring and a couple of years ago we drove to Memphis.  Since he rarely drives on an interstate highway on vacation, I knew we would be on winding two lane roads.  And, there would be plenty of opportunity to see patches of native plants and ask my husband to pull over for just a minute for a quick photo.  For that trip, I purchased Missouri Wildflowers by Edgar Denison. 

 
These two books have been great resources in learning more about the growing conditions the plants prefer.  And, helpful for  recommending plants for specific growing conditions to our landscape customers.  Lauren Springer's The Undaunted Garden, Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs and Carole Ottesen's The Native Plant Primer are also great resources. 

 
Top on my bucket list is one day traveling to France to visit Claude Monet's garden.  Wouldn't it be amazing to see this garden in person!  In the meantime, I visit the Monet Garden at the Overland Park Arboretum and enjoy Derek Fell's book Secrets of Monet's Garden

ginkgo foliage 

So, what's next for my garden?  I'm pretty sure I'll find some inspiration in Small Gardens, a Creative Approach to Garden Design.  And, the trunk will start filling up with plants again and my husband will roll his eyes.  Besides, we have new ginkgos in production in Ottawa.  I'm certain Chi Chi is a perfect addition to my Ginkgo collection. 

 
By Susan Mertz, Director of Marketing  

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