Good day, design friends! Peggi here. How are you? Anybody else psyched to welcome spring in 96 hours? I am definitely ready to bid winter adieu. Despite still-chilly temperatures and wind, wind, wind, this time of year always has me garden-obsessed. Vegetables, herbs, flowers! I love them all. In an effort to share my enthusiasm in the most useful fashion, I created a compilation of gardening resources. For easy reference, I divided them into three categories: in person, in print, internet. Click through to read more about where I seek garden inspiration and guidance. Whether you’re a novice gardener or an experienced one (or just a plant appreciator!), I hope you’ll find something beautiful, fresh and informative.
Probably the most accessible (and enjoyable!) means of gathering ideas and learning about plants is seeing (smelling! touching!) them in person. Start by taking regular walks around town. What better way to find the plants best-suited to your growing conditions? Seeing full-sized specimens, successful companion plantings and seasonal changes offer invaluable insights. You may even score a cutting or a bucket of free plants if you enjoy a stop and chat! Most gardeners I’ve met dig sharing their insider knowledge and leafy bounty. Although not as convenient as a stroll through the neighborhood, I heartily encourage a botanical garden visit. They’re a must-see whenever I travel. Even if I can’t replicate schemes due to zone differences, I note hardscapes, color palettes and unique materials. Botanical gardens also host interesting classes, special exhibits and annual plant sales. They’re amazing!
Speaking of buying plants, free inspiration and education awaits at your local nursery. Staff knowledge and seedling selection vary by location. Your independent outlets likely have the best of both. That doesn’t stop me from spending at the big box stores though. Every spring, I hit all six nearby garden shops…I’m thorough. One other in person resource I want to mention is your county extension office. They offer workshops, trouble-shooting and expert advice geared to your exact area. Local, mostly free inspiration abounds. So lace up those sneakers and head out to peep what flowers and flourishes near you!
Now let’s talk about books!
Click right on the images to be redirected to the source, or use the numbered links below to shop my finds… not all are clickable.
01: the vegetable gardener’s bible // 02: western garden book // 03: the well-tended perennial garden // 04: perennial combinations // 05: encyclopedia of plants & flowers // 06: gardening for everyone // 07: encyclopedia of landscape design // 08: the layered garden // 09: new naturalism // 10: in bloom // 11: the naturally beautiful garden // 12: flower // 13: cultivated // 14: a year at clove brook farm // 15: the new shade garden // 16: scent magic // 17: beyond wild // 18: peonies // 19: the hidden life of trees // 20: dreamscapes // 21: garden lust // 22: adventures in eden // 23: english gardens // 24: garden inspirations
When I get home from my inspiration tours, I hit the books for detailed information. Picture me surrounded by stacks, messy notes, graph paper and colored pencils. Ridiculous. With that in mind, I included quite a few instructional texts in this roundup. My edition of #1 is from 2000, and I would definitely buy it again! No one would confuse it with a coffee table book, but it’s packed with useful information, logically organized and accessible. Both new and seasoned vegetable gardeners will find it helpful. When I first began gardening (in AZ), I bought #2. It’s a must-have for western gardeners, but don’t expect pretty pictures or flowery prose. This is a giant encyclopedia of plants, cultivars and their uses. I would suggest #3 if you’re just getting started with perennial beds and want the basics on pests, pruning and plant selection. If you’re in the market for some advanced reading, might I propose #9? I’m interested in a more natural approach to the garden, so this one caught my eye. I’ve just started it, but I think I’ll learn a lot! I can also personally recommend #15. I purchased the original version when I was struggling with my forested Willamette Valley yard, and it helped me embrace the dark side. If you’re just here for the pretty, I got you! Books #10-24 focus on stunning photography and swoon-worthy gardens!
Here’s a friendly tip for fellow frugal folks. Visit your public library! Even my small local establishment had a half dozen of the titles in my roundup. You can preview books before you decide to purchase. Most libraries also subscribe to a wide variety of magazines. More garden inspiration just waiting for you!
For my last set of resources, I scoured the internet! First, I searched for podcasts. These are just a few that I enjoyed. Do you have any we should add to the list?
- Let’s Argue About Plants- A couple of editors at Fine Gardening magazine chatting all things gardening!
- Spoken Garden- A Pacific Northwest couple with tons of knowledge and experience
- Grow It Minnesota-For all you cold climate gardeners!
- The Joe Gardener Show-Organic vegetable gardening and more!
- A Way to Garden- Margaret Roach, former garden editor for Martha.
We probably all have our favorite Instagram plant people. Since gardening is so climate specific, a gardener in your zone will be most helpful. I’m fortunate that Garden Answer is my local expert! Epic Gardening, in California, is also a fun follow. Most of everyone mentioned here also has a website, blog and Youtube channel. Finally, I would like to note Seed Savers Exchange. They have a comprehensive website and a worthy mission. The volume of excellent gardening content online is really staggering!
No post about gardening would be complete without some favorites from Sarah! Whether you garden in pots on the patio, a few perennial beds or a giant vegetable patch, you’re my people. Tell me what you’re excited to grow this year. Maybe you’ve already started seeds?! Have I missed some vital resource? Let me know in the comments. Until next time, friends!