February 27th, 2006
Garden Book Meme

Garden book meme via Cold Climate Gardening. I might have to come back and update it after more thought. And put in some links!

I’ll take up the challenge thrown down by Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening via Chan at Bookish Gardener.

  1. Total Number of Gardening Books I Own:I count 96 that I can get to right now and probably another 20 or 30 in the back room that I can’t get to because of our kitchen deconstruction project.
  2. Name five of your favorite gardening books:
    • Passalong Plants.
    • Collected essays by Henry Mitchell. Essential Earthman and On Gardening.
    • A Woman’s Hardy Garden. Helena Rutherford Ely. This book and the catalog from Select Seeds helped me fall in love with old-fashioned flowers.
    • The Rose Bible. Rayford C. Reddell.
    • Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education. Michael Pollan.
  3. What was the last gardening book you bought (or brought home from the library)? Garden Lunacy: A Growing Concern. When I saw it in the library, I thought the title sounded familiar. Then I remembered, Art Wolk asked if he could reprint one of my anecdotes. And yep, he included it in his book along with my name and this website. Cool!
  4. What was the last gardening book you read? Texas Gardening the Natural Way: The Complete Handbook. Howard Garrett. I found the style to be a bit grating. I prefer his Texas Bug Book.
  5. List five books that have been particularly meaningful to you:
    • The Rodale Herb Book. The very first gardening book I ever bought: 30 years ago.
    • Garden Bulbs for the South. Scott Ogden. Started me on my obsession fo. heirloom bulbs for the south like Tulipa clusiana and oxblood lilies.
    • Roses in the Southern Garden. G. Michael Shoup. Started me on my obsession for heirloom roses for the south.
    • A Southern Garden and Gardens in Winter. Elizabeth Lawrence.
    • We Made a Garden. Margery Fish.
  6. Name three gardening books you’ve been dying to read but just haven’t gotten around to it: These are books I own that I’ve never gotten around to reading.
    • Anatomy of a Rose: Exploring the Secret Life of Flowers. Sharman Apt Russell.
    • A Gardener Obsessed. Geoffrey B Charlesworth.
  7. What gardening books would you most want to have on hand when shut up in the house by a blizzard? Kathy added this. My initial response was, “Blizzard? What’s a blizzard. These are all books that get me in the mood.
    • The Gardener’s Year. Karel Capek.
    • Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden.
    • For Love of a Rose.
    • Tottering in My Garden.
    • Thomas Jefferson: The Garden and Farm Books.
    • Tasha Tudor’s Garden. Tovah Martin. Made me fall in love with the idea of gardening.

    by M Sinclair Stevens

3 Responses to post “Garden Book Meme”

  1. From M2 (Austin):

    Now, *that’s* a nice meme! I can’t play, as the gardening bug hasn’t really infected me. (I’d hoped for a while it would, but nope.)

    I’m delighted that an anecdote was requested of you, and made it through to publication. That’s wonderful! (And it’s a marvelous name for the book, as well.)

  2. From Kathy (New York):

    Oh, yeah . . . blizzards. You don’t get blizzards. The nearest equivalent for you would be an above-hundred-degree heat wave, though that doesn’t stop civilization quite as effectively as a blizzard. I heard you don’t have Japanese beetles, either. Is that true?

    In “A Southern Garden” Elizabeth Lawrence wrote, “…keeping a garden in bloom for four long seasons is different from keeping one in bloom for three short ones.” When I compare our book lists, I really see the difference. (I’m happy to see we share some favorites like Henry Mitchell, too.) Sometimes the idea of nice blizzard where I could curl up in front of the fire and read without guilt sounds lovely. Here I am on the computer when I should be outside weeding and transplanting and pruning and cleaning up in the 80F degree sunlight! There’s no time for rest and reflection in the southern garden.

    As for Japanese beetles…I don’t think we have them. We have plenty of other beetles, but none as bad as that. When I visited the folks in England, I was surprised to discover that they don’t have poison ivy there. Just lots of nettles. We don’t have nettles down south. — mss

  3. From Annie in Austin:

    Cool meme! But your list makes me feel like a real slacker – I have only 70. Some books we have in common, like dear Henry Mitchell’s [also have One Man’s Garden], Mrs Whaley, We Made a Garden & Passalong Plants. My Elizabeth Laurence is a collection called Over the Garden Gate. There are several by Allen Lacy, who influenced me a great deal, and some aimed at the upper midwest.

    While gardening in Illinois, I could never resist Southern garden writing like Celestine Sibley’s Sweet Apple Garden Book. Henry Mitchell’s DC garden made me covet impossible southern plants like magnolias,camellias, crinum lilies & loropetalum, all of which I now grow in TX.

    I didn’t notice it in your links, but a TX professor has made a very cool website about Henry Mitchell, including photos of his glorious mess of a garden in Washington. It’s at



    Annie in Austin