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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: "Nonnative Invasive Plants of Pacific Coast Forests" is an unusual field guide that helps to identify plants you don't want to find--but you probably will--especially in the forests of Washington, Oregon, and California. In various ways, these plants are negatively affecting our native plants, animals, and ecosystems. The intent of the authors is to make these recognizable to a larger audience beyond highly trained botanists. Many selections, such as purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) and herb-robert (Geranium robertianum), are all too familiar to gardeners and visitors to the Arboretum. Others will be less familiar, or you might not know they are a problem, such as some of our popular cotoneasters (Cotoneaster franchetii and C. lacteus).

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: "Wild in the City" is an invaluable guide for an exploration of the parks and trails in the Portland metropolitan area, but it's quite readable even if you're stuck somewhere else. Scattered amongst the trail maps and descriptions of various sites and walks are essays about wildlife, history--both natural and human--and the complexities of disturbed ecosystems, with a good dose of philosophy on the value of having nature in an urban setting. Over one hundred writers and illustrators have contributed to this fine work.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool:

When first picking up the fascinating "Life Histories of Cascadia Butterflies," I expected lots of lovely close-up photographs of our native butterflies. While I wasn't disappointed, the majority of the photos are of the early stages of their life histories, i.e., lots of caterpillars! The thoroughness for depicting each species is outstanding with typically five or more photos of the different larval stages. How did authors David James and David Nunnallee do it? By rearing the butterflies from eggs and photographing each stage of their development.

Robert Michael Pyle wrote the Foreword and he best describes the enormous scale of this work: "...this book is the apex of life history treatments to date. In the whole world, no other comparable region enjoys a work of this scale, ambit, and acuity for its butterfly fauna".

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Garden Tool:

Any reader of Connie Sidles' first book, ("In My Nature: A Birder's Year at the Montlake Fill"--2009) will be delighted to learn she has written and published a second collection ("Second Nature: Tales from The Montlake Fill") of her observations, insights, and quiet life lessons gleaned from her continuing visits to the landfill known officially as the Union Bay Natural Area (UBNA). The style of the second book is much like the first, but there are more great close-up photographs of birds, including rarities like a Lazuli Bunting or a Western Scrub-Jay.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Photos of the Union Bay Natural Area (UBNA) can be found in "Seasons of Life in the Union Bay Sanctuary" by Marilyn Smith Layton. This photo essay includes not only birdlife, but also landscapes, flowers, trees, and the people who come to observe it all.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: "Four Seasons on Bainbridge Island" is a photo essay by Paul Brians celebrating the flora of the island, some from his own garden, and accented with a few shots of people, animals, and landscapes. Highly recommended for residents of Bainbridge, this book also captures the essence of semi-rural, island living anywhere around Puget Sound.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: "Flowers of Volunteer Park Conservatory" is one of the best examples I've seen of a book capturing the spirit of a public garden. Photographer Sara L. Chapman has created monthly visual essays, using both close-ups and panoramas to bring you into the page and remind you of a real life visit. But this is more than just a picture book. The subjects of the photos are carefully captioned, making this a useful identification handbook to conservatory plants.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: "When Debra and David began interviewing and photographing people who grow and arrange fresh, seasonal flowers for local markets, I knew they were documenting a new movement...you could call it the slow flower movement." This quote, by Amy Stewart from the Foreword of "The 50 Mile Bouquet," well summarizes this forward-looking book by Debra Prinzing and David Perry, which leaves you with a wider perspective and appreciation of fresh cut flowers and other greenery. This is in sharp contrast to the international florist industry, making Stewart's 2007 book about that industry, "Flower Confidential," a good companion reading (Stewart--who lives in Eureka, California--almost qualifies as a local author).

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Valerie Easton's "Petal & Twig", tells how to find a source of material for flower arranging in your own garden. If--like me--you've ever struggled with getting your home arrangements just right, Easton will loosen you up and give you permission to just go for it, and open your eyes to more possibilities than you ever imagined a few feet from your back door. "After all, you're crafting performance art that changes hour by hour, day by day, as buds open, petals drop, and flowers droop. Imperfection engages us in the creative process."

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: "Landscaping for Privacy" by Marty Wingate is very practical and addresses annoying issues like siting the recycle bins, and how to embrace wildlife or pets without letting them run amok, while empowering you to create a space that is very distinctly your own. Relatively few gardening books address fences and hedges in any depth, but for Wingate "screening hedges become more than shrubs planted in a line; they create a green, living wall, incorporating the design elements of sequence and repetition to pull together the landscape."

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Consider "The Intimate Garden" for very detailed examples of highly individualized garden spaces, with an emphasis on hardscape and ornaments. While both author Brian Coleman and photographer William Wright are from Seattle and the gardens are mostly on the west coast, examples from the east coast and even England are included, making this a very diverse selection of design styles and plant material.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Gardeners east of the Cascades will be pleased to have this addition to the limited collection of garden books for their region. "Native Plant User Guide" is published by the nursery Rugged Country Plants in Milton-Freewater, Oregon and, while self-promoting, there is far more descriptive detail and cultural help than you'd expect from a nursery catalog. With careful reading, gardeners west of the Cascades will pick up useful ideas, too.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: The grandparent of all gardening books for the Pacific Northwest and rest of the west remains the "Sunset Western Garden Book." Now in its new, ninth edition, the proven encyclopedic formula, along with essays, extensive plant selection lists for specific needs, and the much valued Sunset climate zones (all updated) continue to make this a must on any western gardener's shelf. The main addition since the last edition of 2007 is photographs in the encyclopedia--a nice update!

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: "Gnarly Branches, Ancient Trees" is a biography of Dan Robinson, a bonsai gardener noted for his naturalistic style. While one could learn much from the examples, this is not a how-to book, but rather a celebration of one man's enthusiasm and perseverance for his art. This led to his establishing Elandan Gardens near Bremerton. His story is well told by the photography and writing of several of his admirers in the local world of bonsai.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: George Bingham is based in Olympia and had been engaged in bonsai for about nine years when "What I've Learned from Bonsai" was published in 2008. This very personal book shares his observation about both the art of bonsai and the life lessons he has gained while working with his plants and living with multiple sclerosis.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: A local garden and nursery that's not well known is Coenosium Gardens in Eatonville. Owner Robert Fincham has traveled widely in his quest for dwarf conifers and the book "Small Conifers for Small Gardens" catalogs the many fine dwarf firs, spruce, pines, hemlocks, and assorted other species he has collected and grown. If you have considered adding conifers that won't outgrow your garden, this introduction to the merits of over two hundred choices, along with anecdotes about each, is a must read.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Hulda Klager (1863-1960) was a Pacific Northwest pioneer. This Woodland, Washington farm wife survived numerous hardships, but is best remembered for the wonderful collection of lilacs she hybridized and introduced in the first half of the 20th century, and the garden now open to the public that displays those lilacs. The historical novel "Where Lilacs Still Bloom" by Jane Kirkpatrick is largely an accurate biography, with only minor liberties taken to amalgamate some of the real life personalities in Klager's life.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: A strong woman from the early 20th century was Elizabeth Colborne (1885-1948), who grew up in Bellingham. She was an artist that worked in several media with various subjects, but is best remembered for her color woodcuts of northwest forest scenes, with detailed and accurate renditions of our native trees and other plants. "Evergreen Muse" by David Martin is a catalog of her works displayed in an exhibit at the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham during the summer of 2011.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2012 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-09
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Jessi Bloom is a strong advocate for chickens in almost any garden setting, and in "Free-Range Chicken Gardens," she provides detailed information on compatible plantings--including those that provide food for chickens--and structures that meet the multiple needs of fowl and flora. There is a lot of well-organized information in these pages on all other related topics, too, making this of value to chicken keepers at any experience level. But you can also just enjoy the profiles of gardeners and their chickens (many are local) or the many superb photographs (by Kate Baldwin) of contented hens in their gardens, proving their value as a natural compliment.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Robert and Hannah Litt own the Urban Farm Store in Portland and wrote "A Chicken in Every Yard" from experience keeping their own chickens, and helping their chicken-keeping customers. While they don't disapprove of raising chickens for food, theirs are clearly pets and the book encourages this attitude with chapters like "Parenting Your Peeps." There is a lot of detail about different types and breeds, including recommendation lists such as "best for children." All stages of raising and caring are covered in depth, but the garden is only briefly mentioned. If your focus is solely on chickens, this book is an excellent choice.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: "The Urban Farm Handbook" is a blending of deeply personal accounts by two urban (Seattle) families seeking ways of becoming self-reliant in producing and preparing food. By sharing both the triumphs and failures (including persuading significant others), Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols present a lot of options for choosing your own path to provide food for yourself and loved ones. Recipes are scattered throughout, and many of those contain meat. Dealing with the angst of slaughtering various animals to supply that meat is a significant theme of the book, but here, too, the authors give you many options for finding your own comfort level.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Garden Tool: Drawing a parallel with the homesteaders who settled the Oregon frontier, Portland author Renee Wilkinson recognizes that same spirit--and lack of knowledge and experience--in today's pioneers seeking self-sustaining, urban homes. "Modern Homestead" is not an A-Z encyclopedia of vegetable crops, but instead provides general rules-of-thumb to help you decide what you want, including a sizeable portion of the book that is given over to "Citified Creatures." Preserving your harvest is important, too, but the strongest message is don't work alone. Find some buddies to help you with your homestead, and you will collectively be more innovative and much more successful.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Peter Ladner writes "The Urban Food Revolution" from the perspective of a policy maker--he was a two-term City Councillor in Vancouver, B.C.--and a journalist. This is not a gardening book or even an urban farming book, but it does examine issues that impact food production and distribution in an urban setting with the goal of telling policymakers "...what they can do to improve access to healthy food for all the people they represent." Subjects addressed include food deserts, childhood obesity, designing new developments with urban farming options, and the safety of locally raised food.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Many vegetable gardening books include recipes but few are as well integrated as in "Grow Cook Eat" --for Willi Galloway cooking follows sowing, growing, and harvesting as the next logical step (presumably followed by eating). In addition to the formal recipes (none are particularly complex), there are oodles of simple ideas for using the vegetable (or herbs, or even a few fruits) at hand in creative and delicious ways. Jim Henkens's photos expertly capture growing plants, the fresh harvest, and the serving plate, encouraging you to give it a try. The general culture section is brief but sufficient--the goal here is to get growing and get eating--yum!

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Garden Tool: Graham Kerr is an (now local--Mt. Vernon) author who easily includes recipes amongst his recommendations for a kitchen garden, but that's not surprising as he is much better known as a chef (remember the Galloping Gourmet) than a gardener. He has embraced raising his own, healthful food as eagerly as any of his past pursuits. "Growing at the Speed of Life" is filled with the same enthusiasm--Kerr hasn't lost any of his wit or knack of turning a phrase that made him such a popular television personality in the early 1970s.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Garden Tool: The Seattle based authors of "Food Grown Right, in Your Backyard" operate a business that gets homeowners started growing their own vegetables (along with herbs, edible flowers, and a few berry fruits) no matter what the challenges may come from inexperience or a difficult site. Colin McCrate and Brad Halm advice is great for beginners, providing a lot of structure and many details while including a teaching element with every entry. For example, by growing radishes you'll learn how to harvest at the right time for the best taste, while planting corn will teach you about wind pollination.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Binda Colebrook is on her fifth edition (the first from 1977) of the classic "Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest," and it's still a must for any serious food gardener. The emphasis is on crops that will grow throughout the year, so no tomatoes or corn, but instead you'll discover many options that are really better suited for our mild climate. There is much emphasis on ways to reduce the impact of freezes, heavy rains, and cold winds, but Colebrook is great at encouraging experimentation even if your property doesn't have perfect conditions. An excellent reference section completes the book.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Here is another approach to dealing with limited space: grow up. "Vertical Vegetables and Fruit" is one of the very few books focused on this technique of food-growing. Some of the featured vegetables and fruits are naturals (beans or kiwi), but many are not. And while the thought of a high-flying watermelon may take a bit of getting used to, the author devotes several pages to slings and other support devices to make this possible. There are many unconventional ideas here to try, including hanging bags and living walls, along with some more familiar espaliers of fruit trees and strawberry pots. The emphasis is on innovation and experimentation--and having fun with your veggies (and fruit)!

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Massingham Hart has re-engineered another of her older titles with "Dirt-Cheap Green Thumb". This is essentially a general gardening book (including ornamentals) packaged in short, snappy bits of information and is perfect for the newer gardener who is anxious to get started right now. The reader who is frugal will even be more pleased as there are lots of tips (400 according to the sub-title) for saving money while growing the garden of your dreams.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: "Apartment Gardening" takes the whole concept of gardening in your available space a step farther, or I should say, smaller. Amy Pennington has considerable gardening experience in a setting with plentiful space, but now confined to a Seattle apartment, she wasn't about to stop. She distills her plant selections to a short but well-tested list. Some surprised me (zucchini on a balcony?) but overall I was impressed by the what-works approach. Large compost bins are out, but worm bins are still possible; she even advocates a beehive on the deck. But check with the neighbors first! Hers nixed the idea. Helpful recipes use only the plants listed, and include making lip balms and lotions, and herbal teas.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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June 24 2013 12:55:25