A few book suggestions

There is always that one person in your family that is hard to figure out what to get them for Christmas. If they are a gardener who has it all, well, books are always a great item for gift giving to them. So, here are a few suggestions that might work well for that person on your list this Christmas season.

Extension Communication Specialist Gail Hudson spoke with several of the U of M Extension’s specialists and they came up with their list of go-to books or books that they thought would make a great reference. The first book is “A Guide to North America’s Bees, The Bees in Your Backyard by Joseph S. Wilson and Olivia Messinger Carril. This one has great pictures for the reader to learn what each individual bee looks like and will make a great reference book. Not to be outdone, Minnesota author Rhonda Fleming Hayes has a book out on the subject of bees as well call “Pollinator Friendly Gardening,” which will also help you learn more about how to identify bees but will also assist you in making your garden a “bee friendly” place. Another Minnesotan author and U of M Extension Educator Jeffrey Hahn also has a book out about insects called “Insects of the Northwoods” which is another great field guide. This is one that can be downloaded to a device if your gardener on your list prefers that over a book in hand.

According to Hudson, “Michelle Grabowski says even though “Hungry Planet: Stories of Plant Diseases” written by award-winning educators Gail Schumann and Cleora D’Arcy sounds like heady stuff, she finds this book a “very readable, enjoyable look into the science and history behind how plant diseases have influenced how we grow food and even what we eat.” There are other books to note that were chosen by our U of M Extension folks. These include: “Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education” by Michael Pollan; “Weeds of North America” by Richard Dickinson and France Royer; “The Turfgrass Maintenance Reduction Handbook: Sports, Lawns, and Golf” by Doug Brede; and  “Growing Perennials in Cold Climates” by Mike Heger, Debbie Lonnee and John Whitman.

There are a few books that are favorites of mine as well. The first comes from our very own SDSU in Brookings by John Ball who is professor of forestry at the college. If you have not yet had a chance to hear him give a talk on trees, you are really missing out. He often tells gardeners “on this side of the border” that one of the best kept secrets we have in our area is Camden State Park! This is high praise for someone who is a forestry professor! He also has several books out that are the go to resources for trees and shrubs in our wind-blown communities. The first is simply called” Trees!,” followed by “Trees for the Northern Plains” and last but not least “Shrubs for South Dakota.” Many of his books can be found either online or through this website agmuseumstore.com. If you really find delving into thinking about plants in an unusual way, try Amy Stewart’s books. She has several that are quite interesting including “Flower Confidential,” “Drunken Botanist,” “Wicked Bugs,” “Wicked Plants,” “The Earth Moved,” and “From the Ground Up.”

For more information on the U of M Extension Educators picks to go http://blog-yard-garden-news.extension.umn.edu/2017/12/our-experts-favorite-gardening-books.html For more information regarding gardening, you can reach me at s.dejaeghere@me.com