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PAL Questions: 830 - Garden Tools: 346 - Recommended Websites: 680

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Keywords: Plant and garden societies, Lathyrus odoratus

Garden Tool:

If you love Sweet Peas you may want to join the National Sweet Pea Society from England, or at least visit their website for tips on getting the most from this cottage garden favorite.

Season: Spring
Date: 2007-07-12
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Keywords: Soil testing, Soil amendments, Plant-soil relationships, Garden soils, Fertilizers

Garden Tool:

Successful gardeners know that healthy soil translates to healthy plants. Learn about the fine points of soil management for the home gardener from WSU Cooperative Extension.

Season: All Season
Date: 2007-07-12
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Keywords: Reference books, Organic gardening

Garden Tool:

The Rodale family of Emmaus, Pennsylvania has a 60 year history of publishing books and magazines that promote organic gardening and their encyclopedias have come to be regarded as the standards on the subject. A good example is the Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening (DK Publishing, 2002 $40.00). A must-have for serious organic gardeners certainly, but the user-friendly qualities that are a trademark of DK will make it one of the first books in a beginning gardener's library as well.

Season: All Season
Date: 2007-07-12
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Keywords: Washington State University Cooperative Extension, Reference books, Horticulture--Washington

Garden Tool:

Wondering what to plant at your cabin in Cle Elum? Or perhaps something to give your cousin who's just moved to Spokane? A new series of booklets on gardening in the Inland Northwest gives a perspective not found in the many titles written by westsiders. Published by the Washington State University Cooperative Extension, separate volumes cover roses, berries, vegetables, landscape plants, perennials, fruit trees and native plants, each for $12 or less. To order, call the WSU Bulletin office at 1-800-723-1763 or order online

Season: All Season
Date: 2007-07-12
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Keywords: Horticultural therapy, Arboretums and botanical gardens

Garden Tool:

Feeling stressed? Recent research shows that visiting a botanical garden or arboretum can help you cope and make you feel less stressed, at least temporarily. Go see the foliar beauty at the Washington Park Arboretum,the Bellevue Botanical Garden or your local public garden and start coping with your stress!

Tammy Kohlleppel, Jennifer Campbell Bradley, Steve Jacob. "A walk through the garden: Can a visit to a botanic garden reduce stress?" HortTechnology 12(3), July-September 2002, 489-491.

Season: All Season
Date: 2007-07-12
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Keywords: Soil erosion, Slopes (Soil mechanics)

Garden Tool:

The Washington State Department of Ecology has many publications to assist homeowners and others interested in learning about Washington state environmental regulations and resources. Of particular interest are the free publications on protecting slopes, bluffs and hillsides from erosion. All are available for downloading from the Department of Ecology's publications web page.

  • Controlling Erosion using vegetation
  • Managing vegetation on coastal slopes
  • Managing drainage on coastal bluffs
  • Season: Winter
    Date: 2007-07-12
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    Keywords: Climbing plants

    Garden Tool:

    Growing Up: A Gardener's Guide to Climbing Plants for the Pacific Northwest by Christine Allen. (Steller Press, 2001)

    Urban gardeners need to maximize every inch of their gardens and growing vertically adds another potential place for more plants. Growing up details vines to plant season by season for a year of vertical interest, plus lists the best plants to use for a particular situation, like covering a chain link fence, or for training up a tree.

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2007-07-12
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    Keywords: Trees--Diseases and pests, Trees--Care and maintenance, Trees, Tree identification

    Garden Tool:

    Silvics of North America Online by United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, 1990.

    Property owners with woodlots and tree lovers alike will find the Silvics of North America an informative and authoritative reference source on trees. Two hundred, mostly North American native trees are described including native habitat, associated trees and shrubs, propagation details, growth rate, and information on the major pests that may damage the tree. Many entries have information on the root development, which can be helpful in learning if a chosen tree will tolerate construction, or be appropriate for planting over water utilities.

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2007-07-12
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    Keywords: Trees--Care and maintenance, Arboriculture

    Garden Tool:

    Trees are Good, a page maintained by the International Society of Arboriculture, has tree care brochures for the public. Learn why you should pay for the services of a certified arborist, how to plant a tree the right way, and how to identify tree hazards. Included on the page is a link to search for certified arborist by zip code so you can find out who the professionals are in your region.

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2007-07-12
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    Keywords: Plant diseases--Diagnosis, Plant diseases, Insect pests--Identification

    Garden Tool:

    National Gardening Association's Pest Control Library is a pictorial guide to diagnosing pests and diseases. Every article has a color picture to help confirm if the pest in question looks like the bug eating your plant. Major plant diseases are also included and organized by the part of the plant it infects: leaf, fruit, roots or all parts.

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2007-07-13
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    Keywords: Callicarpa, Berries

    Garden Tool:

    In autumn, when deciduous shrubs lose their leaves, luscious berries extend the season of color into winter. One of the most unassuming shrubs, Callicarpa, is ignored most of the year, but in the fall most everyone who comes upon the berries of this shrub takes notice. Little shining lavender balls adorn the branches of this plant, and most who see it agree the common name of Beautyberry is appropriately applied. Read more about it in the November/December 2002 issue of Garden Design Magazine.

    Season: Fall
    Date: 2008-02-06
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    Keywords: Sedum, Rosa, Hydrangea, Garden design, Amelanchier

    Garden Tool:

    It's easy to plant a garden that is colorful and interesting in June, more difficult is designing a garden that shines in October. Read Autumn Gardens by Ethne Clark (Soma, 1999) to learn both design principles and the best trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs and grasses to plant in fall. Oakleaf hydrangea, Canadian serviceberry, species roses, and sedums are just a few of the plants featured that will extend the garden interest beyond Labor Day.

    Season: Fall
    Date: 2007-07-13
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    Keywords: Plant and garden societies, Hosta

    Garden Tool:

    Hostas are shade loving foliage plants that thrive in our moist temperate climate. The American Hosta Society is devoted to promoting the genus and introducing new cultivars. Visit their website to read about the most popular hostas and how to grow them to perfection. Membership costs $25.00 per year and includes a fabulous color journal three times a year.

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2007-07-13
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    Keywords: Weed control, Invasive plants--Control

    Garden Tool:

    Weed fact sheets are available from UC Davis, in cooperation with the Nature Conservancy. This is an excellent resource for learning how to control some of the most tenacious invasive plants in the US. Many weed profiles have color pictures, "success stories," and references to research.

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2007-07-13
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    Keywords: Wildlife pests, Deer

    Garden Tool:

    Leave it to gardeners to transform innocent seeming Bambi into a plant eating, garden destroying monster! Outwitting Deer by Bill Adler Jr. (Lyons Press, 1999)uses humor to reveal the truth about the largest pest in the garden. The long lists of plants that deer prefer and dislike (no plant is 100% deer-proof) are most helpful, along with an honest examination of the myriad of strategies and home remedies used to repel marauding deer.

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2007-07-13
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    Keywords: Perennials--Care and maintenance

    Garden Tool:

    Staking plants has got to be one of the most tedious garden tasks in the warm summer months. While there are plants you can choose that don't ever require it, some plants simply cannot be appreciated without it. Here are two good articles on the subject:

    Season: Summer
    Date: 2007-07-13
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    Keywords: Reviews

    Garden Tool:

    book jacketGrow It, Cook It with Kids by Amanda Grant (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2010)

    Parents of enthusiastic young gardeners, and farmers' market shoppers alike will love this useful guide to home-growing and cooking. It features easy, photo-illustrated recipes grouped by their main ingredients, so that chocolate zucchini cake is right next to zucchini salad and stir fry, allowing cooks to choose a recipe based on what they have on hand. Better yet, each chapter begins with step-by-step instructions for growing children's favorites like herbs, peas, beans, and berries.

    Reviewed by librarian Laura Blumhagen

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2011-05-20
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    Keywords: Symphyotrichum, Rudbeckia, Perennials--Care and maintenance, Lilium (Lily family), Helenium, Delphinium, Crocosmia, Chrysanthemum

    Garden Tool:

    Many of the daisy-like flowers such as Rudbeckia, Helenium, Symphyotrichum, and Chrysanthemum will form a mass of flowers that will eventually topple over the edge of the beds. While a cascade of color can be attractive spilling over the edge, it looks very unsightly when you expose the brown bare centers of the plants. It is best to stake these plants as a group or clump. Tall perennials with large flowers like Lilium, Delphinium, Crocosmia, and Dahlia will benefit from individual stakes.

    Season: Summer
    Date: 2007-07-13
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    Keywords: Reviews

    Garden Tool:

    The Wild Places book jacketThough I will probably never survey my surroundings from the top of a tall beech tree, or climb a frozen waterfall in the dark, I thoroughly enjoyed discovering unspoiled natural areas of Britain through Robert Macfarlane's book The Wild Places (Granta Books , 2007). In richly descriptive prose, he leads the reader to these increasingly rare spots on the map, from saltmarshes and moors to hedgerows and holloways (tunnels of vegetation). Under the tutelage of his friend Roger Deakin (author of Wildwood, who died in 2007), Macfarlane's conception of wildness evolves over the course of his travels to include the humbler, smaller wild places that are within reach of even the most city-bound nature lovers:

    "I thought about how the vision of wildness with which I had begun my journeys - inhuman, northern, remote - was starting to crumble from contact with the ground itself... The human and the wild cannot be partitioned. Everywhere that day I had encountered blendings and mixings."

    Reviewed by Plant Answer Line librarian Rebecca Alexander

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2008-12-04
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    Keywords: Fall foliage

    Garden Tool:

    Ever wonder when you might expect to find a great display of fall foliage, either in your own area or another part of the country? The United States Forest Service has a toll-free Fall Color Hotline you may call: 1-800-354-4595. The site also lists spots of particular beauty for fall viewing.

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2009-08-19
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    Keywords: Organic gardening

    Garden Tool:

    Ever wonder what you can do to combat global warming? The Union of Concerned Scientists has produced a guide called "The Climate-Friendly Gardener: A Guide to Combating Global Warming from the Ground Up." The gardening choices we make can maximize carbon storage and minimize pollution. This publication discusses fertilizers, cover crops, food gardens, composting, lawn maintenance, and more. You can also sign a pledge to be a climate-friendly gardener!

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2010-05-05
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    Keywords: Reviews

    Garden Tool:

    Informed Gardener jacket

    The Informed Gardener Blooms Again by Linda Chalker-Scott, University of Washington Press, 2010

    If garden writers were superheroes, Linda Chalker-Scott would be "Mythbuster," able to shatter dearly-held gardening practices with a single paragraph. This follow-up to her influential volume of adapted online columns provides convincing scientific evidence to debunk common practices such as foliar feeding, using epsom salts to deter pests, and releasing ladybugs into the garden. Read this book with an open mind, and your garden (and its environmental impact) might never be the same.

    Reviewed by library volunteer Karen Fardal

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2010-05-06
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    Keywords: Reviews

    Garden Tool:

    book jacketOn Guerrilla Gardening: A Handbook for Gardening Without Boundaries by Richard Reynolds, Bloomsbury USA, 2008

    Have you ever passed by a patch of barren, overgrown or otherwise neglected ground and thought, "Someone should plant a garden there?" Richard Reynolds not only did, he established and nurtured a garden at his housing block's previously bleak site. And then he went one better, and founded a movement that has spread worldwide. He fervently believes that gardening should not be the exclusive province of those who own property or manage to score a coveted spot at the P-patch. Instead, he advocates taking over landscape installation and maintenance anywhere it is not already being done, or done well, in public and private spaces alike.

    Despite his almost comically serious reliance on the language and "lessons" of actual guerrilla warfare (the book starts out with Che and Mao, shows a photo of seed "bombs" in the shape of a 9mm pistol, and gardeners can sign up at www.guerrillagardening.com to get a "troop number"), Reynolds aims to inspire beautification, so half the book is devoted to practical advice. He addresses the myriad issues an aspiring guerrilla gardener must face, from site selection to plant choice for hardiness and maximum visual impact, the non-availability of water, how to discourage vandalism, and, eventually, perhaps legitimize the established garden.

    Of course, humans have been sneaking seeds and plants into spaces that are technically not their own for millennia - Reynolds just gave their actions a name and labeled it a cause.

    Reviewed by library volunteer Karen Fardal

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2010-06-03
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    Keywords: Reviews

    Garden Tool:

    book jacketSo You Want to Be a Garden Designer: How to Get Started, Grow, and Thrive in the Landscape Design Business by Love Albrecht Howard, Timber Press, 2010

    Love Albrecht Howard's first book fills a gap in our collection. To my knowledge, it is the only recent book on running a garden design business that is written for plant lovers who may not have formal horticultural or business training, but who do have a fair amount of common sense and are willing to get their hands (and feet!) dirty learning. The author certainly approves of formal education, recommending that prospective designers take courses, but she knows firsthand that hands-on experience gained through internships, volunteer work, and garden shows, as well as time spent with gardening books and magazines can be even more valuable than coursework. Indeed, fifteen out of twenty chapters focus on day-to-day operations, including best gardening practices, rather than on estimating costs, hiring staff, and other money-related aspects of the business. To its credit, this book has a comprehensive index, with topics ranging from accent plants to Rocky Mountain spotted fever to zone creep. Albrecht Howard offers a wealth of knowledge gained from real-world experience, along with basic guidelines to help ensure the fledgling business does well financially. The underlying message is one most readers will want to hear: if a new designer can perfect skills in garden design, plant care, and customer relations, the money is secondary, and it will come.

    Reviewed by librarian Laura Blumhagen

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2010-06-05
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    Keywords: Reviews

    Garden Tool:

    book jacketHow to Grow a School Garden: A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers by Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Kathleen Pringle, Timber Press, 2010

    The authors, who are members of the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance, recognize a fact that is becoming clear in schools across the country: if we are to have school gardens in this era of tightening budgets, increased academic testing and expanding class sizes, parents must step up and offer their time and energy to establish and maintain them. My own personal experience with this process as a volunteer in the garden at my neighborhood elementary school indicates that while a few parents at each school might have the necessary time and energy to devote to this, it is rare to find anyone at all with the practical knowledge, patience and understanding that are necessary to make such a garden flourish. That’s why this book is so important and useful. Not only does it empower parents and teachers to get something growing, it educates them about the planning, funding, building, maintenance, use, and enjoyment of such a garden. Valuable topics include dealing with vandalism, training students in basic garden tasks, preparing for garden lessons, scheduling class activities in the garden, and planning for summer watering. This book is a must-have for any gardening library.

    Reviewed by librarian Laura Blumhagen

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2010-06-05
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    Keywords: Reviews

    Garden Tool:

    book jacketGarlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science by Eric Block, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK 2010

    The genus Allium covers onions, garlic, leeks, chives and others. Their pungent odor comes from sulfur compounds they contain. Dr. Eric Block is a professor at New York State University at Albany, and has spent over 35 years studying the chemistry of alliums. His book covers an enormous range of information on the genus Allium. The "Lore" portions are fascinating, with references to archaeology, literature, painting, folk medicine, cultivation, and more. The "Science: parts are - well - scientific. For those who would like to explore the phytochemistry of alliums and its sulfur components, the long chapter on these topics is comprehensive.

    For the rest of us, browsing the other chapters one can discover a 1600-1700 BCE recipe for braised turnips containing onions, turnips, and garlic and leek juice. Allium references in literature range from the Bible to Shakespeare to Rudyard Kipling. There is a whole chapter on folk medicine, both its uses and some cautions, such as this one: alliums including onion, garlic, leeks and chives are toxic to cats, dogs and monkeys.

    For further information see: Dr. Eric Block’s page on NYU Albany site and Harold McGee's article in the New York Times June 10, 2010

    Reviewed by former Miller Librarian Lyn Sauter

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2010-10-22
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    Keywords: Reviews

    Garden Tool:

    book jacketBackyard Bounty by Linda Gilkeson (New Society Publishers, 2011)

    Amidst the bumper crop of new food-gardening titles, Backyard Bounty : The Complete Guide to Year-Round Organic Gardening in the Pacific Northwest by Salt Spring Island, B.C. resident Linda Gilkeson stands apart. I put three recent edible plant titles by Northwest authors to the test by trying to find answers to commonly asked questions in them. Whether you are a beginning gardener or an experienced (or jaded!) old hand, this book will neither insult your intelligence nor blind you in a blizzard of technicalities. If you want to know about soil in raised beds, what to grow over the winter, or how to protect your grapes from predacious raccoons, this is the place. Though it lacks photos of primped and prinked up fruit and veggie glamour, the information is well-organized and clearly presented. I learned enough from reading it that I may just have to own a copy.

    Reviewed by Plant Answer Line librarian Rebecca Alexander

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2011-04-30
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    Keywords: Reviews

    Garden Tool:

    book jacketBug Zoo: How to Capture, Keep, and Care for Creepy Crawlies by Nick Baker (DK Publishing, 2010)

    Does someone you know want an earwiggery? How about a wormery or a dragonfly den? If you know a child who loves bugs, this illustrated handbook of bug habitats will teach him or her how to capture, observe, and learn from these tiny animals respectfully, with an understanding of their delicate biology.

    Reviewed by librarian Laura Blumhagen

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2011-05-20
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    Keywords: Reviews

    Garden Tool:

    book jacketRadical Gardening by George McKay (Frances Lincoln Publishers, 2011)

    "The law condemns the man or woman
    Who steals the goose from off the common
    But lets the greater villain loose
    Who steals the common from the goose."

    -Anonymous Victorian author, 1854

    This epigraph opens the first chapter ("The Garden in the [City] Machine") in George McKay’s Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism & Rebellion in the Garden, and refers to the conflict between between affluent private landowners and poor villagers over access to open space which was once shared by all. Don’t be put off by the crude cover art: McKay offers thoughtful discussion based on his extensive research into the role of public and community gardens, the politics of the organic movement and its offshoots (biodynamics and permaculture), gardens of peace and war, and the many ways in which gardens and open space have figured into politics, society, and culture. McKay enjoys wordplay (remember that 'radical' is rooted!), coining the term 'horticounterculture' to describe gardening-related movements which represent activism and resistance, as well as utopian (or dystopian) visions.

    Of local note: McKay cites Professor Linda Chalker-Scott's debunking the pseudo-scientific underpinnings of biodynamics (a philosophy of agriculture developed by Rudolf Steiner, whose views held some appeal for National Socialists). Seattle is also noted briefly in a list of cities with an active community garden movement.

    Reviewed by Plant Answer Line librarian Rebecca Alexander

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2011-06-10
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    Keywords: Reviews

    Garden Tool:

    book jacketUrban Agriculture by David Tracey. New Society Publishers, 2011

    Though I personally am cheered by the sight of a P-Patch, a front garden, or a tiny apartment balcony resplendent with edible plants, there is still resistance to seeing raised beds replete with tomatoes and lettuce overtake a lawn or other underutilized space. Activist and arborist David Tracey’s Urban Agriculture: Ideas and Designs for the New Food Revolution opens with an account of conflict over creating a community garden in his native Vancouver, B.C. Despite this negative note, the book is an antidote to despair. Tracey’s informal and humorous style diminishes the sense of helplessness we feel in the face of corporate control over our food supply, and its attendant environmental devastation and cost to human health. Tracey does not provide detailed directions on how to grow various vegetables from seed, or how to make your own compost; his purpose is to inspire and empower the reader to begin or continue the worthwhile work of growing food (as opposed to “fuud,” the term he coins for the products of Big Ag). You may not think you are engaged in agricultural pursuits but by the author’s definition, anyone who grows edible plants is a farmer. The book is explicitly organized from the smallest to largest scale of edible cultivation (sprouts on the kitchen counter to full-scale farming). There are some unusual inclusions here, such as sections on aquaponics (in case you want to grow fish and greens together!) and school farms, the self-sufficiency model of Cuba’s urban farming project, and a checklist of questions to ask politicians before the next election (ask where she or he stands on the use of public space to grow food by raising the concept of usufruct, the legal right to use and enjoy the fruits or profits of something belonging to another). There are numerous quotable lines in this book, such as: “It takes food to grow a village,” and “The seed knows what to do.” The library also has his previous book, Guerrilla Gardening: A Manualfesto.

    Reviewed by Plant Answer Line librarian Rebecca Alexander

    Season: All Season
    Date: 2011-07-26
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June 24 2013 12:55:25