Four gardening books that caught my eye:
Foliage by Nancy J. Ondra, with photographs by Rob Cardillo (Storey, 2007, $24.95): Beautiful photography helps Ondra drive home the point that flowers alone do not a garden make. Foliage lends structure to a space, she explains, while ensuring season-long interest. Chapters are organized by color, shape and texture, and they illustrate the characteristics of dozens of plants, and instruct on selection.
First-Time Gardener by Kim Wilde (Collins, 2008, $24.95): Step-by-step advice coupled with illustrated instructions make this a wonderful guide for beginning gardeners. Hardscaping, planting, sowing, seeding and pruning techniques are covered in detail, along with basics such as soil, climate and sunlight requirements. Novices also will learn the intricacies of plant-combining and the how-tos of containers.
Tending Your Garden: A Year-Round Guide to Garden Maintenance by Gordon and Mary Hayward (Norton, 2007, $39.95): Divided by season, this nuts-and-bolts guide covers every necessary garden chore and tells you when and how it needs to be done. Chock-full of tips and anecdotes, it also makes for good reading. The authors are full-time gardeners and garden designers.
Pots in the Garden: Expert Design and Planting by Ray Rogers (Timber Press, 2007, $29.95): Filled with discussions about color, form and texture, this book doesn't merely make plant and arrangement suggestions. Rather, Rogers instructs on design principles, pot selection, planting techniques and more, inspiring the reader to find his own style and develop his own applications. Photographs by Richard Hartlage are plentiful and present a wide variety of pots and plants.