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Become a Gardening Guru
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Summer Learning Track: Become a Gardening Guru

“How fair is a garden amid the toils and passions of existence!” –Benjamin Disraeli

What better time than summer is there to start digging around in the dirt and become a real gardening expert? Or maybe like me, you’re just starting to fiddle with plants and have no idea where to start. No matter where you are on your gardening journey, Richland Library has some fantastic resources that can help. Why not take the Richland Library Friends’ Summer Learning Challenge? Soon you’ll be on your way to becoming a real gardening guru!

Get started the using the following learning track, or use it as inspiration to create your own.

These books will provide some beautiful inspiration:

  • Gardens of the World: The Great Traditions by Rory Stuart
  • The Gardens of the Vatican by Linda Kooluris Dobbs
  • Around the World in 80 Gardens by Don Monty
  • Capital Splendor: Gardens and Parks of Washington, DC by Barbara Glickman
  • The French Country Garden: New Growth on Old Roots by Louisa Jones
  • Italian Gardens: A Cultural History by Helena Attlee
  • The Gardens of English Heritage by Gillian Mawrey & Linden Groves
  • The Secret Gardens of Charleston by Louisa Pringle Cameron
  • Infinite Spaces: The Art and Wisdom of the Japanese Garden by Sadao Hibi
  • These will provide insight and instruction on gardening:

  • The Anxious Gardener’s Book of Answers by Teri Dunn Chance
  • Project Garden: A Month-By-Month Guide to Planting, Growing, and Enjoying All You Backyard Has to Offer by Stacy Tornio
  • Gardening Shortcuts by Jenny Handy
  • Kitchen Gardening for Beginners by Simon Akeroyd
  • How to Buy the Right Plants, Tools & Garden Supplies by Jim Fox
  • Succulents Simplified: Growing, Designing, and Crafting with 100 Easy-Care Varieties by Debra Lee Baldwin
  • Plantiful: Start Small, Grow Big with 150 Plants that Spread, Self-Sow, and Overwinter by Kirstin Green
  • Rain Gardening in the South: Ecologically Designed Gardens for Drought, Deluge, and Everything In Between by Helen Kraus & Anne Spafford
  • From Container to Kitchen: Growing Fruits and Vegetables in Pots by D. J. Herda
  • These DVDs are full of tips from recognized gardening experts:

  • Renovation Nation: Gardening
  • Great Gardening Tips
  • The Art of Gardening
  • The Art & Practice of Gardening: England, Ireland & America
  • People, Places & Plants
  • Year Round Gardening with Jerry Baker

  • Amazon Says: Why have the peoples of the world made pleasure gardens, and why have they made them in such different styles? Here, author Rory Stuart explains how all pleasure gardens deriv more...
    Amazon Says: Why have the peoples of the world made pleasure gardens, and why have they made them in such different styles? Here, author Rory Stuart explains how all pleasure gardens derive from one of the world's six great gardening traditions — Italian, Islamic, Chinese, Japanese, English flower garden, and the English park — making them the subject of this book. To create this mammoth resource, Stuart traveled around the world, from Buenos Aires to Vancouver, from Seattle to Cape Cod, from Ireland to India, to China, Japan, and Australia, touring and examining the differences in garden styles. Now he explains them here, abetted by beautiful full-color photos, approaching pleasure gardens as works of art and placing them in their historical and cultural context. less...
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    Amazon Says: Twenty-seven years in the making, The Gardens of the Vatican is a private photographic tour of eight centuries of "green thoughts in a green shade." Reflecting the general his more...
    Amazon Says: Twenty-seven years in the making, The Gardens of the Vatican is a private photographic tour of eight centuries of "green thoughts in a green shade." Reflecting the general history of gardening, the several gardens in the Vatican span worlds — the Persian-influenced quadrant gardens of the Teuton Cemetery and the Secret garden (adorned with lemon-trees in pots) are joined by gardens in the Italian, French, and English styles. The book is also rich in anecdote and detail: Pope John XXIII liked to ramble along the pathways and chat with the gardeners whereas his predecessor, Pius XII, wanted solitude, so the gardeners were obliged to hide. There is a fragment of the Berlin Wall, a Chinese pavilion given by the Catholics of that country, and a gnarled old olive tree transplanted from Gethsemane in the Holy Land. This gorgeously illustrated book offers a fascinating and inspiring glimpse of a bachelors' refuge, through nearly a millennium of history. less...
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    Amazon Says: Monty Don, host of the BBC-TV’s Gardener’s World and one of the United Kingdom’s most respected gardening writers, ventures far from home in this vivid account of garden more...
    Amazon Says: Monty Don, host of the BBC-TV’s Gardener’s World and one of the United Kingdom’s most respected gardening writers, ventures far from home in this vivid account of gardens on all seven continents. Around the World in 80 Gardens visits the exotic floating gardens of the Amazon, magnificent Renaissance Italian water gardens, colorful alpine flower meadows in Norway, and Monet’s world-famous Giverny, all brought to life in beautiful photographs. In his explorations of the often surprising horticulture in these and other locales, Don emphasizes context: as he puts it, “No garden is an island.” Don applies that insight to the Dutch Het Loo, the tropical gardens of Thailand, and the intriguing fusion of indigenous and colonial garden cultures of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. less...
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    Amazon Says: Stunning photos and in-depth essays on more than 30 of Washington, D.C.'s gardens, some famous and other little-known gems, make this book a must-have for visitors and residen more...
    Amazon Says: Stunning photos and in-depth essays on more than 30 of Washington, D.C.'s gardens, some famous and other little-known gems, make this book a must-have for visitors and residents alike.Our nation’s capital is filled with famous gardens, such as Dumbarton Oaks, and little-known gems, such as Meadowlark Gardens. There are also small community gardens and spectacular celebrations like the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which will mark its centenary in 2012. All these gardens and parks are described and illustrated in Capital Splendor. Each of some 30 venues is addressed in detail, and essays include helpful information for making your visit as well as for identifying each garden’s special features. Essays are accompanied by a series of photographs by renowned photographer Valerie Brown. This exceptional collaboration will make this stunning book a must-have for visitors and residents alike. less...
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    Amazon Says: "If you are looking for a celebration of life in a small space, turn to the French garden for the answers."—The Evening Standard French country gardening has experie more...
    Amazon Says: "If you are looking for a celebration of life in a small space, turn to the French garden for the answers."—The Evening Standard French country gardening has experienced a renaissance in recent years. While the great French heritage still thrives, its traditions now provide inspiration for fresh delights and creative expression, as vividly demonstrated in this beautifully photographed volume. The book reaches into every corner of France, from Normandy to the Riviera, from Picardy to the Pyrenees, revealing in exquisite detail the full extent and exciting diversity of the modern French country garden. A magical and intimate "grandmother's garden" on the ancient Via Aurélia combines fruits, herbs, flowers, and vegetables; "gardens for the five senses" focus on sensual stimulation; "natural" gardens protect local ecosystems; and formal gardens incorporate witty and subversive variations on the traditional pattern. 236 color illustrations. less...
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    Italian Gardens by Helena Attlee
    Amazon Says: To many of us, the great gardens of Italy seem like paradise on earth. But how much do we know of their history, and the people who created them? In this ravishing book, illus more...
    Amazon Says: To many of us, the great gardens of Italy seem like paradise on earth. But how much do we know of their history, and the people who created them? In this ravishing book, illustrated with contemporary paintings, drawings and prints as well as photographs of the gardens today, Helena Attlee tells their story. She starts with Petrarch – still looking to medieval chronicles for advice on how and when to plant – and goes on to the Renaissance and those first gardens to emerge from architects' plans. Then she describes the great gardens of the Medici; the first botanic gardens; the weird Mannerist gardens and their grottoes followed by the Baroque splendour of Isola Bella and the Villa Aldobrandini; the Neoclassical and Picturesque gardens of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; and how, in the twentieth century, expatriates with money to lavish on their villas and gardens brought new delights. less...
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    Amazon Says: The magnificent parks and gardens owned by English Heritage are far less well known than its evocative medieval abbeys or Victorian mansions. Yet these remarkable places offer more...
    Amazon Says: The magnificent parks and gardens owned by English Heritage are far less well known than its evocative medieval abbeys or Victorian mansions. Yet these remarkable places offer a fantastic variety of outdoor pleasures. Some have stunning designs, while others are important for their history or their plants. A surprising number are brand new, and a few of the best are tiny. All are marvelously atmospheric testaments to the art of horticulture. English Arcadia reveals 25 of the best. Readers delight at homey Osborne, complete with charming vegetable plots for the royal children, then they marvel at the exotic Quarry Garden at Belsay Hall and appreciate the modern restraint of the Contemporary Heritage Scheme. These gardens from every corner of England and almost every century of the nation’s history are joined by essays that tell the story of how each was created and the sometimes eccentric families that owned them. Rounding out this marvelous resource is a look at the decay that the trees, fountains, and statues often fall prey to — and the way they’ve been restored to delight viewers today. less...
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    Amazon Says: A stunning tour with the owners of many of historic Charleston's most beautiful, but rarely seen, private gardens. Charleston gardeners--some working with noted designers, oth more...
    Amazon Says: A stunning tour with the owners of many of historic Charleston's most beautiful, but rarely seen, private gardens. Charleston gardeners--some working with noted designers, others relying on their own skills and creativity--are masters of fashioning intricate designs and plant selections to match the architectural beauty of this legendary city. This is a valuable resource for inner-city gardeners and an important tool for those involved in the restoration of older houses and gardens. less...
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    Amazon Says: Based on classical Japanese writings, this Zen gardening book is full of insightful commentary and lush photographs. Japanese gardens have long been admired for their more...
    Amazon Says: Based on classical Japanese writings, this Zen gardening book is full of insightful commentary and lush photographs. Japanese gardens have long been admired for their capacity to improve on nature through impeccable design, detail, and composition: properties that elevate them from mere gardens to sacred spaces. The Sakuteiki, literally "notes on garden design," by the eleventh-century courtier and poet Tachibana no Toshitsuna laid out the original principles that shaped the design of these gardens. A distillation of centuries of garden design, the Sakuteiki remains a vital influence for garden makers in Japan today. Infinite Spaces pairs extracts from the Sakuteiki with inspiring images that beautifully illustrate the principles of this ancient work. Sadao Hibi's superb photographs capture some of Japan's best-known gardens—from austere compositions in stone and gravel to richly planted landscapes. The photographs express the extraordinary beauty and diversity of one of the world's most ancient and revered styles of gardening. Discover a treasure trove of practical advice and philosophical insight on building and maintaining pools, lakes, and streams; arranging stones for the most natural and harmonious effect; and designing water features and placing stones to welcome auspicious deities while excluding malevolent influences. Japanese gardening topics include: Principles of Garden Design Pools and Lakes Waterfalls Streams Trees and Mounds Good and Evil StonesThis timeless visual artistry of the gardens and the specific design techniques will inspire you to create magnificent garden sanctuaries in your own backyard. less...
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    Amazon Says: The Anxious Gardener's Book of Answers identifies the 100 most common gardening mistakes and gives gardeners the techniques to prevent them. Or, if it's too late and they've a more...
    Amazon Says: The Anxious Gardener's Book of Answers identifies the 100 most common gardening mistakes and gives gardeners the techniques to prevent them. Or, if it's too late and they've already goofed, there are tips to fix the mistake. The book's 24 chapters tackle every kind of gardening disaster, whether it has to do with plants, tools and techniques, or general care and maintenance. Gardeners looking to prune their roses will learn to hold off until late winter to avoid damaging plant tissue. Gardeners that have allowed their mint to overgrow? Dunn advises pulling it out and replanting it in a container to control the root. Organized by common garden topics and designed to be easily dipped in and out of, The Anxious Gardener's Book of Answers offers nuggets of wisdom based on Teri Dunn Chace's years of hands-on gardening experience. Advice is humorously supported by Colleen Coover's delightful illustrations. This accessible guide will transform an anxious gardener into an informed, confident, successful gardener with a mistake-free garden less...
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    Amazon Says: The family that gardens together, grows together!In this beautiful, project-by-project guide, mom and master gardener Stacy Tornio will inspire gardeners young and old to expl more...
    Amazon Says: The family that gardens together, grows together!In this beautiful, project-by-project guide, mom and master gardener Stacy Tornio will inspire gardeners young and old to explore, innovate, and cultivate through simple projects that will get a garden growing at any time of year. Your whole family be inspired to:Tend beautiful, practical gardens that work in any spacePlant flowers as colorful as they are hardyWhip up delicious meals from vegetables you planted yourselfDecorate your garden with nature-inspired craftsGive the gift of growing, with divided plants, cuttings, and seeds you save yourself Best of all, whether you are tending flowerbeds in spring, stewing July's tomatoes, or coaxing bulbs to bloom mid-winter, you'll be doing it together. less...
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    Gardening Shortcuts by DK Publishing
    Amazon Says: Millions of people love their gardens but wish they weren't quite so demanding. Imagine growing simple fruit and vegetables quickly, equipping yourself with a list of the best more...
    Amazon Says: Millions of people love their gardens but wish they weren't quite so demanding. Imagine growing simple fruit and vegetables quickly, equipping yourself with a list of the best plants to buy for your garden in every situation, and losing fewer plants to pests and diseases. Gardening Shortcuts can show you how. Packed with effective techniques, sparkling ideas, and shameless shortcuts for every corner of the garden, Gardening Shortcuts contains all the advice needed to create the garden you want and still have time to sit on the patio with a glass of wine. less...
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    Amazon Says: Learn how to grow more than seventy types of fruits and vegetables, while finding tips for dealing with weeds, pests, and diseases in this all-in-one gardening guide for growi more...
    Amazon Says: Learn how to grow more than seventy types of fruits and vegetables, while finding tips for dealing with weeds, pests, and diseases in this all-in-one gardening guide for growing tastier and healthier fruits and vegetables. Kitchen Gardening for Beginners takes readers through ten steps to preparing a garden plot, providing need-to-know techniques, such as sowing, planting, feeding, mulching, watering, and weeding, as well as easy projects including making a compost bin and planting a fruit tree. less...
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    Amazon Says: Are you confused by all the choices when you visit a nursery? Do you get sticker shock when you see how much that nice little shade tree costs? Let Jim Fox, a nursery professi more...
    Amazon Says: Are you confused by all the choices when you visit a nursery? Do you get sticker shock when you see how much that nice little shade tree costs? Let Jim Fox, a nursery professional with over twenty years of experience, show you how to become a savvy garden consumer and get the most for your hard-earned landscaping dollars.How to Buy the Right Plants, Tools, and Garden Supplies will arm you with a wealth of knowledge! You’ll learn how to determine if a plant is healthy, how to choose the right size, how to correctly read the plant tag, how to choose the best tools and supplies for your needs, and how to confidently recognize a well-made tool. In addition to helping you navigate the nursery, it tells you what you need to know before you get there and offers helpful tips on how to successfully garden once you get home.With this essential guide in hand, you’ll never experience buyer’s remorse again! less...
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    Amazon Says: Succulent plants are easy to grow and design with once you know the basics.  And Debra Lee Baldwin, the bestselling author of Designing with Succulents and Succulent Containe more...
    Amazon Says: Succulent plants are easy to grow and design with once you know the basics.  And Debra Lee Baldwin, the bestselling author of Designing with Succulents and Succulent Container Gardens, is the ideal guide for gardeners, crafters, and DIYers looking for an introduction to these trendy, low-maintenance plants. Succulents Simplified is a complete primer on choosing, growing and designing with succulents. Along with gorgeous photos packed with design ideas, Debra offers her top 100 plant picks and explains how to grow and care for succulents no matter where you live. Step-by-step projects, including a cake-stand centerpiece, special-occasion bouquets, a vertical garden, and a succulent topiary sphere, will inspire you to express your individual style.Whether you’re a novice or veteran, have an acre to fill or a few pots, live in Calexico or Canada, Succulents Simplified is a dazzling primer for success with succulents wherever you live! less...
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    Amazon Says: Whoever coined the phrase “money doesn’t grow on trees” must not have been a resourceful gardener. While we may not be able to harvest physical money, with the right pla more...
    Amazon Says: Whoever coined the phrase “money doesn’t grow on trees” must not have been a resourceful gardener. While we may not be able to harvest physical money, with the right plants and techniques gardeners can rely on nature to give itself away for free. Plantiful shows you how to have an easy, gorgeous garden packed with plants by simply making the right choices. Kristen Green highlights plants that help a garden quickly grow by self-sowing and spreading and teaches you how to expand the garden and extend the life of a plant by overwintering. The book features plant profiles for 50 self-sowers (including columbine, milkweed, and foxglove), 50 spreaders (such as clematis, snow poppy, and spearmint), and 50 plants that overwinter (including lemon verbena, begonia, and Chinese hibiscus). Additional gardening tips, design ideas, and inspirational photos will motivate and inspire gardeners of all levels.  Discover the perfect the art of editing, share the wealth, and learn for yourself that gardeners don’t have to dig deep to grow a lively, plentiful, and colorful garden year-round. less...
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    Amazon Says: The first book directed at the consumer/home gardener market on this important new gardening movement, Rain Gardening in the South is a colorful, readable how-to guide on crea more...
    Amazon Says: The first book directed at the consumer/home gardener market on this important new gardening movement, Rain Gardening in the South is a colorful, readable how-to guide on creating beautiful gardens that capture and use water that runs off roofs, driveways, and other hard surfaces in our landscape. Written by horticulturists Helen Kraus and Anne Spafford, Rain Gardening in the South helps gardeners use our most precious resource wisely. Rain gardens maximize rainwater, enhance the landscape, and promote environmental stewardship. Runoff from out yards, roofs, and driveways contributes more than a third of the pollution that ends upin our nation's waterways. Rain gardens, which function as miniature water reservoirs and filtrations systems, offer effective and visually pleasing solutions that dramatically reduce toxic runoff, resulting in cleaner rivers, lakes, and oceans. Ironically, rain gardens are more drought tolerant than most conventional gardens. Because of plant selection and their ability to store water, rain gardens flourish during dry spells as well as rainy seasons, making them particularly conducive to the South and its unpredictable rainfall. This four-color book addresses the specific environmental circumstances of southern gardeners, including climate issues, plant selection, and soil types. The book offers readers step-by-step instruction on constructing such gardens, from the design stage to post-plating maintenance. it also includes extensive design tips, plant lists, and soil amendment instructions, as well as a chapter on troubleshooting.Rain Gardening in the South, by Helen Kraus and Anne Spafford, received the Silver award of Achievement from the Garden Writers Association. In addition, Rain Gardening in the South won the Silver Benjamin Franklin Award in the Gardening/Agriculture category from the Independent Book Publishers Association and an Honorable Mention in the Home & Garden category for the Eric Hoffer Award. less...
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    Amazon Says: More and more people are recognizing the need for nutritious, local, sustainable food, but organic options can be costly, and the produce sections of most supermarkets are pac more...
    Amazon Says: More and more people are recognizing the need for nutritious, local, sustainable food, but organic options can be costly, and the produce sections of most supermarkets are packed with fruits and vegetables that have racked up more frequent flier miles than a rock band on world tour. How can urban dwellers without ready access to fertile land enjoy the benefits of traditional gardening? And for those with a yard, how do you maximize the harvest of fresh, healthy edibles?In From Container to Kitchen, D.J. Herda shows that there is a way. Written for the novice home gardener as well as the seasoned pro, this fully illustrated, comprehensive guide will show you how to save up to 70 percent on your produce bill by growing fruits and vegetables in pots. Topics include:Selecting the right container size and location Optimizing soil composition and nutrients Managing light, water, and humidity Choosing the best fruits and vegetables for container gardening Eliminating pests and plant diseases naturally Extending the harvest Dig in to this bumper crop of container gardening tips and techniques and learn how to create your own moveable feast!D.J. Herda is an award-winning freelance author, editor, and photojournalist who has written several thousand articles and more than eighty books, including Zen and the Art of Pond Building. He is an avid organic gardener and test grower and has been writing extensively about growing fruits and vegetables for over forty years. less...
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