In recognition of February as National Library Lovers’ Month, I’m going to share my favorite gardening books with you. The Undaunted Garden—Planting for Weather-Resilient Beauty by Lauren Springer (ISBN 1-55591-115-3) has everything a gardener wants—colorful pictures of great gardens, a directory of tough plants (also with great pictures), and Springer’s straightforward narrative.
The single best thing about this book, however, is the ability for any gardener to have a garden that reflects a sense of place. We all know the type of garden that uses the same plants over and over, to the point where there is no distinguishing between a Midwest garden and one on the east coast. This book celebrates plant diversity and unashamedly promotes plants that are native while introducing us to forgotten plants that are found off the beaten path.
Another important book for me is Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac (ISBN 0-345-34505-3). This book was first published in 1949 and follows Leopold’s observations in Sand County, Wisconsin. As the world around him modernized and mechanized, Leopold decries the loss of things wild and free.
Leopold’s story of the mother wolf and her cubs is haunting. The lessons learned from this book are as valid today as they were in 1949. What’s best about A Sand County Almanac is the fostering of a land ethic. Ultimately, this book moves us forward in understanding the impact humans have wreaked and placing value on spaces and animals that have their own right to exist.