Winter Reading Grows Healthy Soils, Plants and Minds

Gardeners collect. We collect seeds and seed catalogs, gloves, aprons and tools. We collect plants, and we collect books too. Here are a few gardening books that adorn the shelves of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension staff and volunteer spaces. These books, and others, help us to grow healthy soils, plants and minds. They can help you too.

A good book to get started with as a new gardener is the Sunset Western Garden Book edited by Kathleen Norris Brenzel. We have many different editions and variations of this title in the office and use them all. Another good book to begin with is Accessible Gardening for People with Physical Disabilities: A Guide to Methods, Tools, and Plants by Janeen R. Adil. This text will help you get your garden off of the ground throughout all stages and phases of life and ensure family and friends will feel right at home on your grounds as well.

For general horticulture knowledge, try Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon, Garden-Pedia: An A to Z Guide to Gardening Terms by Pamela Bennett and Maria Zampini, How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do by Linda Chalker-Scott, The Informed Gardener by Linda Chalker-Scott, The Meaning of Trees: Botany, History, Healing, Lore by Fred Hageneder and The Soul of Soil: A Soil-Building Guide for Master Gardeners and Farmers by Joseph Smillie and Grace Gershuny.

Having garden problems? Take a gander at Pests of the Garden and Small Farm: A Grower’s Guide to Using Less Pesticide by Mary Louise Flint and What’s Wrong With My Plant? (And How Do I Fix It?): A Visual Guide to Easy Diagnosis and Organic Remedies by David Deardorff and Katheryn Wadsworth.

Tips and tricks for helping pollinators while conserving landscape water can be found in Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants by Douglas W. Tallamy, Water-Efficient Landscaping in the Intermountain West: A Professional and Do it Yourself Guide edited by Heidi Kratsch and Water-Wise: Native Plants for Intermountain Landscapes by Wendy Mee, Jared Barnes, Roger Kjelgren, Richard Sutton, Teresa Cerny and Craig Johnson.

For something different, pick up Macro Photography for Gardeners and Nature Lovers: The Essential Guide to Digital Techniques by Alan L. Detrick. The author will teach you how to show off the flowers, butterflies and other small details of your garden and landscape.

Are you a history buff? We have a few free copies of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension: A 100-year History available for pick up at 4955 Energy Way in Reno.

A light mystery thriller can be found in Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart. The volume has a companion coloring book for frighteningly fun winter evenings coloring by the fireplace.

Collect these and other gardening books from your favorite local garden center, book store or library. Happy learning as you read gardening books this winter. What you find out may change you and your garden and landscape for the better.

Ashley Andrews is the horticulture assistant with University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Horticulture questions? Contact 775-336-0265 or, or visit