Tracy Disabato-Aust

My 4 favorite gardening books

Here are four touchstone gardening books that I return to over and over.

1. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses by Michael Dirr
Michael was just an incredible plantsman. When I'm looking for the best information on woody plants, I turn to his books. I probably use those more than anything. And in fact I used to teach with this particular book at Ohio State.

2. The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes
by Rick Darke
Rick Darke is one of my sources for ornamental grasses, but he also has some great lawn alternatives in this book. He's exceptional and his newest book is top notch. It's beautiful from both a design and a plant material standpoint.

3. Gertrude Jekyll's Colour Schemes for Flower Garden by Gertrude Jekyll
Gertrude Jekyll's work as an artist and with color and design 20 years ago in England was so influential worldwide that her books are still considered fundamental today for anyone interested in gardening and horticulture. This particular one on color is exceptional. I've often used her techniques on complementary color and the effect of value in my own work.

4. Garden Your Way to Health and Fitness by Bunny Guinness
Bunny Guinness is a wonderful horticulturalist and in this book she takes a really neat approach to staying strong as a gardener. It's very important for gardeners, for instance, to strengthen their core muscles. She has tools in book, specific stretches, things you can do in the garden itself. It's very thorough. It even has a soft cover binding that seems laminated so you can actually take it into the garden with you.

What's the best gardening advice you ever received? Click to join the conversation--you may win a FREE COPY of Tracy's new book, 50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants!


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