Bargain Books: Two great finds

I’m trying to control my addiction to books. Especially garden books. There’s only so much space on the shelves. Plus, with an astounding wealth of info on the Internet at the end of a few keystrokes, I try to buy only those books I’ll refer to again and again.¬†Yet, sometimes I’m faced with an offer I can’t refuse.

The two books above, for instance. Great reference material… remaindered at under $7 and $6 from Winners.

Loving peonies as I do, and having had years of dismal failure trying to grow them, Peonies by Pamela McGeorge (Firefly Books, 2006) called my name as I passed. With good sections on herbaceous and tree peonies, plus hybrids, and 200+ well-labelled photos by Russell McGeorge, it’s a handy reference to take along to the garden centre in your hunt for that definitive cultivar.

One day, I’ll overcome the botrytis blight that always wipes mine out in the bud. This book may hold the secret. Sarah, who already has glorious peonies at her place in the country (we hate her; but she shares the bounty anyway, isn’t that right, darling sister?), might also swipe it to hunt for more.

Reading it, and writing this, has sent me scurrying to find local sources for peonies. Hortico (see our link under Garden Retail) has about 45 cultivars listed for sale. The Canadian Peony Society also has a growers list, and good info. Apparently, there’s also a Cyndi’s List for plant catalogs as well as genealogy.

The second book is Strangers in the Garden: The Secret Lives of our Favorite Flowers by Andrew Smith (McClelland & Stewart, 2004). Great photographs and botanical illustrations accompany interesting stories on the history, mythology and symbolism of some of our most-recognized garden plants, from chrysanths to tulips. A fun read.

According to the book jacket, Andrew Smith lives and gardens in Toronto. So, well done, Toronto gardener! FYI, this book is still available online from ChaptersIndigo, though not quite at the same bargain rate I found. [Ed: Not in 2016, unfortunately.]

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