There is so much gardening information out there it's often hard to know where to start. I have a bookshelf full of gardening books, some great, some good and some not so good. Here is a list of some of my favourite garden books and resources.
Books for plant information
These books offer good information about specific plants, along with some great pictures.
Continuous Colors by Pam Duthie. A great month-by-month guide to flowering shrubs. This book is organized by month which really helps plan a garden with year round color. In addition the plant pictures are of the full plant in a garden scene compared to many that only show a blown up picture of the flowers which can be deceiving.
Continuous Blooms by Pam Duthie. Similar to her other book but for perennials. This book is also organized by month makes designing plant combinations easier. Again the pictures are of the whole plant in a garden setting. The only drawback is their is not a wide selection of cultivars but for the beginning gardener it is useful and for me it is just an enjoyable read!
Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs. I love this book, it was my best source when I started planning. It provides detailed information and recommendations on a wide variety of trees and shrubs with excellent pictures.
Perennials for Every Purpose by Larry Hodgson. I've had this book for a while (my copy says 2000) but it was a great first resource when learning about perennials. Hodgson lists growing tips, good neighbors and top performers for each perennial. It is also organized in a variety of ways: sun or shade, bloom season, perennials for foliage or birds etc.
Shocking Beauty by Thomas Hobbs. Not really an information book but beautiful garden pictures.
The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust. A great book on the care and maintenance of a perennial garden. I wish I could find a book as good for pruning!
Books about native trees and shrubs for the garden
Shrubs of Ontario by James S. Soper and Margaret L. Heimburger. While books abound on native trees, there are significantly fewer sources about native shrubs. Shrubs of Ontario is a good resource containing detailed descriptions of more than 200 species. I have found it useful in indentifying species growing naturally in our back bush.
Native Tress of Canada by R.C. Hosie. My copy was published in 1979 but it has detailed pictures, albeit black & white, of trees native to Canada. The book also has an excellent description of the different Forest Regions of Canada.
Trees of the Carolinian Forest by Gerry Waldron. Both a great source about species of the Carolinian Forest and a great read. The discussion on the mass clearing of the Carolinian Forest in Canada during the times of early settlement in these areas was very eye opening.
My favourite web sites
A few of my favourite web sites.
Northscaping.com Lots of information for Northern Gardeners (Zone 5 and colder)
Ontario Trees and Shrubs A great resource about native trees and shrubs
Humber Arboretum Native Plant List Very useful when planning a native plant garden for Ontario
Renegade Gardener Not really a resource but a very funny read at times. There is lots of advertising but I just ignore that part.