These are not textbooks – there will be no ‘required reading’ from them – but they are books most gardeners will find extremely helpful over the years. I recommend you put them on your shelf as they will answer most of your questions and give you new windows of opportunity for you and your garden. The books that follow are general garden books – usually each subject we will cover in class will have its own specific list of references. Do not feel obligated to buy each book, but if you are interested in that particular topic, I have pointed you towards a place to go to feed your curiosity.
Sunset Western Garden Guide 8th Edition, Brenzel, Kathleen Norris, Editor, ©2007, Sunset Publishing All of the recent editions have their merit, but each successive edition has more plants and updates the scientific undergirding of gardening, so I encourage you to invest in the most recent edition you can afford (used copies are usually easy to find, either locally or at Amazon.com). This is the number one go-to book for horticulture in Southern California; no other book is as authoritative as this one for our area. We cannot take advice from most gardening books and apply it to what we do in Los Angeles because our climate and soils are nothing like the rest of the world – especially the east coast and England where most books about gardening originate.
Pests of the Garden and Small Farm, A Growers Guide to Using Less Pesticide, Flint,. Mary Louise, © 1990, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Publishing There is a second edition out that I have on order, but haven’t seen yet. This is another publication that is specific to us in California. It, and its sister volume, Pests of Landscape Plants also published by UC’s ANR division, are loaded with color photographs of all the pest (including insects, rodents, diseases, fungi and all the things that make gardeners grow gray hair) and the effects of the pests on our plants. A very valuable resource!
Common-Sense Pest Control, Olkowski, William, et al © 1991, Taunton Press This is a well written comprehensive text dealing with pest control. No color pictures, but lots of black and white ones and charts. This one is better for learning how to strategize against pests and so is better for more advanced reading into the art and science of pest control – if this is the kind of subject that cranks your tractor. Taunton Press is the place of origin for Fine Gardening Magazine among others.
How To Identify Flowering Plant Families, Baumgardt, John Philip, © 1982 Timber Press This is one of a zillion good titles from the Timber Press family of books. No matter how obscure of a gardening interest you can come up with, Timber Press probably has a book of reference for it. They publish large books on orchids, roses, amaryllis, rock gardens and gardening of all kinds. If you want to learn more about how plants get named ‘lily’ vs. ‘amaryllis’ (which has been a topic of much debate in case you missed the headlines!), then this is the book for you to snuggle into.