Never mind square-foot gardening. I need help with square-foot gardening books. In this age of online info, I try to be restrained about buying only what I’ll refer to again and again. But my bulging blookshelf shows I’m not restrained enough. There might be people with more; my guess is they have more space.
Trouble is, I love books. Love the physical nature of them. Nothing online combines the wow-factor of a full-bleed image with info that reloads as fast as the flying, flicking finger.
Swapping around my book collections over the holidays has forced me to take stock. My shelves overfloweth. Surely I can divest. But how?
Certainly not if it involves rock-solid reference books like my well-thumbed copy of Michael Dirr’s essential Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, or the massively handy, but massive A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants (mine published by Reader’s Digest).
The first book I pulled for consideration was my 1971 edition of the Chatelaine Gardening Book, the book our mother used. But there it was on the end papers: the colour map of Canada, with our wonderfully wacky zones. It’s a Canadian classic! How could I think of divorce? Back on the shelf it went.
Way back in 1985, my husband and three-month-old son (he had good taste) gave me my first major gardening book, the Reader’s Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening in Canada. It remains an excellent all-round reference (especially when augmented by my highlights and marginal notations). It stays.
Then there’s the Handbook of Edible Weeds, a book I bought on sale in a French bookstore in Québec thinking the price tag said $22 (but was $72). My innumeracy in spoken French being what it is, I didn’t realize my mistake until after I’d signed the credit card chit. That one has a story. It can’t possibly go. Plus, looking at the Amazon link I just posted, it now seems that $72 was a good buy.
All my garden porn books by names like Hobhouse or Verey. Or one-of-a-kind reference tools like Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners or single species reference books on grasses, clematis or geraniums. Gotta have ’em.
What about Trees of Ontario by Linda Kershaw. Hmmm. I don’t remember having this. Out it comes. I crack the spine for the first time and I see why I bought this handy pictorial field guide with its useful photos and well-designed identification key. This one doesn’t go back onto the shelf. It goes with me into the living room with a cup of tea for a nice read.
[pause. you can see my problem.]