Saturday, March 7, 2009

Perennials 101

The Urbana Free Library has an outstanding gardening collection. Some of our best books are published by Timber Press, which we purchase with zeal -- owning over 240 titles. Their publications, and therefore our collection, are especially strong on perennials. The latest, Perennials for Midwestern Gardens by Anthony W. Kahtz, covers 400 plants. Of those, 140 are in detail with an additional 260 recommendations. The book covers perennials, herbs, ornamental grasses, and bulbs. Because of its specificity to the Midwest, every entry is suitable for an Urbana garden.

The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust includes hundreds of planting and pruning techniques to keep your garden looking fresh. One nice facet of this books is the listings of related plants -- those plants that would complement the garden by being placed next to each other. She stresses not only color but also form and texture of the leaves.

Joseph Hudak's Gardening with Perennials Month by Month gives ideas that make for an interesting garden from March through September. Some of the useful plant lists are perennials that bloom for 6 weeks or more, those with attractive foliage, and those that are drought tolerant.

The Explorer's Garden by Daniel J. Hinkley covers rare and unusual perennials that have been found throughout the world and would be a unique, yet attractive, addition to most Midwestern gardens. While some of the included plants would not do well in zone 5, I still enjoyed reading about their discovery. Hinkley writes with such exuberance that any reader of his work will want either to garden or to travel, if not both!

The last book is Hardy Perennials by Graham Rice. A well-known author (Encyclopedia of Perennials, Discovering Annuals, Plants for Problem Places, etc.), Rice makes season-by-season selections, provides ideas how to grow them successfully, and how to use them imaginatively in the garden.The call number for all perennials is 635.932, although some of the specialty books (poppies, hardy geraniums, etc.) have slightly different numbers, so check the on-line catalog or feel free to ask any of your friendly reference librarians. We're here to help with any question!

No comments: