My Favorite Garden Books…a Series of Sorts

When I go to a garden book, it’s usually to find an answer about specific features of a plant.  With that in mind, it’s no wonder that my favorite book is actually a series of books, connected in one way or another to the University of Illinois.  As you read down through the list, sometimes the connection is outright and sometimes subtle, but it’s there one way or another:


*Large Flowering Shrubs for the Midwest, by Sharon Morrisey and Floyd Giles – great content offered shrub by shrub complete with full descriptions, line drawings and color plates.  I used to teach with these knowledgeable individuals and enjoyed it very much.

large flowering shrubs

*Dwarf Shrubs for the Midwest, by Rebecca Keith and Floyd Giles – similar book for smaller plants.

Dwarf Flowering Shrubs for the Midwest

*Flowering Trees for the Midwest, by Mary C. Walker and Floyd Giles – great material, presented in a logical and readable fashion.

Flowering Trees for the Midwest Book

While we’re at it, the books that I’ve personally authored deserve a bit of a mention as well, and are remotely in keeping with the University of Illinois thread, since I used to work there.

*Taunton’s Lawn Guide by John C. Fech, Taunton Publishing, a mix of how-to and specific turf information.

Taunton's Lawn Guide

*All About Trees, by Jan Johnsen and John C. Fech, Meredith Books, a mix of how-to and specific tree species information.

all about trees book

John Fech
Horticulture Extension Educator at Nebraska Extension
John Fech is a horticulturist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture. The author of 2 books and over 200 popular and trade journal articles, he focuses his time on teaching effective landscape maintenance techniques, water conservation, diagnosing turf and ornamental problems and encouraging effective bilingual communication in the green industry. He works extensively with the media to extend the message of landscape sustainability, making over 100 television and radio appearances each year.
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