Six on Saturday: Feb 23

Despite a search, there were no signs of change in the gardens as winter continues.  Spring is evident only by the beautiful photos of blooms and green sprigs posted by others, which as they move northward, gives those of us still waiting assurance that indeed, Spring is on the move however slowly.  Therefore, instead of garden photos let me present Six Books that have greatly influenced my gardens….some recently read, others long-time favorites.   Alchemy of Air 1) “The Alchemy of Air”  If you haven’t read this book, you should.  For those who feel composting is a bit of a hassle, reading how the fertilizer industry is impacting our earth will compel you to work a bit harder to make your own “black gold.”  The amazing story of human greed and how piles of bird poop caused economic havoc and even war was eye-opening.  History buffs will find it fascinating as the control of natural resources changed the outcome of wars.  I expected a dry treatise, but discovered a compelling page-turner filled with interesting characters and bits of fascination.   My composting efforts will be greatly increased!  This Organic Life  2) “This Organic Life” by Joan Dye Gussow, one of the early pioneers of “eating local” and “growing your own food.”  While her style seems a bit disjointed at times, and the description of house-building seems over-long, the argument she makes for eating locally, augmented by facts on the effect of long-range shipping on both our food and our environment are clearly stated.  This was a recent read for me, and I was surprised that I hadn’t heard of Gussow much earlier considering how involved she has been in championing eating local for decades.  I’ve been dedicated to growing and preserving our vegetables and some fruits, but I’m definitely going to change my grocery shopping, eating habits even further, and reduce plastics as well.  Crockett3)  “Crockett’s Victory Garden” accompanied the acclaimed TV show of the same name.  Growing up where “gardens” meant the big plot that was planted with veg seeds in one massive effort in mid-May and plowed in September, James Underwood Crockett’s book offered mind-changing concepts.  Gardens could have flowers!  Plants could be grown just for beauty and fun!  Growing times could be extended, not to mention the introduction of dozens of new crops and techniques.  It made thousands of people want to grow their own food, and helped them do it!  My much-used, much-loved copy is from the mid 60’s but the information is still as valid today as then….and even more amazing?  You can get a used  copy from Amazon for 25 cents!!!    Well Tended Per  4) “The Well Tended Perennial Garden” by Traci DiSabato-Aust changed the way I looked at perennials in my garden.  My gardening began more with annuals in containers and small plots because I moved so often early on, but once we were home owners, perennials became more important.  I haven’t adopted all her strategies, but growing in larger numbers and trimming early growth in thirds to get much extended bloom are basic now for some perennials like monarda and phlox.  It’s a great winter read, but don’t do it with plant catalogs beside you if there’s a budget. Herbs book  5)  Along with Adelma Simmon’s books, which I’ve raved about often, this lovely book was instrumental in the success of my herb farming ventures because it inspired dreams and pushed creativity.  It really opens up the world of herbs in an exciting way.  The photos by Chris Mead are just gorgeous.  Emelie Tolley’s recipes and descriptions made growing every herb mentioned an absolute necessity.  I looked at herbs and herb gardens differently from that read on, and still find myself pulling it from the shelf time and again, especially in winter.

In the French 6)  Although smallest of the six chosen, this book has had a big impact on my gardening.  Georgeanne Brennan gives such a lovely description of the French style of growing seasonally; growing just what is needed for fresh meals year-round in a small, compact way that it inspired my potager.  The way I grow now is so different from my former vegetable gardens of long rows and too much of this, none of that during the growing season.  Now pretty, sensual, easy and seasonal is my mantra, a least during the growing months.  Sadly, the climate here in Indiana has little resemblance to France, but we pretend….

So that’s my six and let me tell you, it was hard to choose only six because as a book lover, I have piles and shelves of favorites on any given gardening topic.   If Spring has already reached your area, please post photos or gardening tips or ideas, but if you are still winter-bound and would like to contribute with some other aspect of gardening like books, join the “Six on Saturday” meme hosted by The Propagator. Be sure to visit his site for all the other gardeners’ posts.


About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
This entry was posted in garden books, Six on Saturday, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Six on Saturday: Feb 23

  1. Mala Burt says:

    This was a great post, Carolee. On a Saturday when I am at a loss as what to post because so much of my garden is under water with all the rain we’ve had, I may be reduced to a retrospective…or not posting at all.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks so much for posting this book list. I’ve read some of them, and will definitely be putting “The Alchemy of Air” on my TBR pile. Also really love this line: “Sadly, the climate here in Indiana has little resemblance to France, but we pretend….” This is a little off-topic, but in the same vein. On Netflix, I just watched a food show called “I’ll have what Phil’s Having.” When Paris was featured, I felt such a burning longing to go to a country where good bread is a considered a birthright. Vive la France!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. bcparkison says:

    and good bread…be still my heart…..with a pat of real butter.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Well Tended Perennial Garden was my gardening bible before the internet became so ubiquitous and as a novice gardener had now idea how to take care of perennials. I referenced it for everything, what a classic.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I will add every book to by BOOK LIST, especially the Alchemy of Air! I tried to get to your garden website, but it always gave me an error……is there another http://www………….? I was born in Gary, and lived in Kokomo and Bloomington. After I graduated from IU School of Nursing I traveled everywhere with my career and my husbands. Our kids still live in Bloomington. We now (Hubby and I) have retired to NC. Look forward to hearing from you!


    • carolee says:

      Hello Hoosier! Great to hear from you. I know Kokomo pretty well, and of course lived in the Bloomington area from 1977 until 1992. Never been to Gary, but I’m not a big city gal. Not sure why you couldn’t access the website, Carolee’s Herb Farm. Just google it and it will come up. I still have a son & his family in Bloomington, too. So do you garden there in NC? I’ve given speeches in Raleigh and been to many of the botanical and major gardens in the area, but not really traveled the state.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. They say that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” So, please accept my flattery (and thanks for the inspiration) if you should happen to see my six favorite gardening books and a similar blog post on my blog. I am also a fan of “The Well Tended Perennial Garden” and shall have to check out the other books.

    I’m feeling under the weather, so my Six probably won’t happen on Saturday.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What great book recommendations – thank you. Hope you are having a nice time reading and planning.


  8. Stevebfineart says:

    What a find your blog is, we have our own organic plot and i shall be reading through your pages shortly as i am off to paint today, thank you..


  9. A really nice book list, thank you Carolee – it made me add two (more) to my wish list!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jo Shafer says:

    Ooooo …. more garden books! I’ll have to look for these at the public library as Hubby has place a moratorium on ordering. more and more and . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  11. cavershamjj says:

    A bookish six Carolee, great idea. I like the look of the perennial book. They are my favourite.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. patch405 says:

    Lovely, as always. Inspirational.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Six on Saturday: My Favorite Gardening Reads – Barefoot Lily Lady

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s