There’s a lot of information out there to inspire and help us in our gardening efforts. But it is important to remember that, as gardeners, we should be gardening – and time disappears like magic when the computer gets involved.
It makes sense to find your go-to references (here is an annotated list of mine), and add a couple voices [blogs] that you trust and enjoy reading. In this way you can benefit from the incredible gifts of the digital world, but not let that world take over your life and prevent you from doing the very thing you’re reading about.
It’s Internet, Old World Style.
www.extension.umd.edu – Educational gold mine for Maryland/Mid-Atlantic Gardeners.
www.ohioline.osu.edu – Excellent database of fact sheets on everything garden.
www.plants.usda.gov – Another smart resource for the gardener looking for a specific plant or pest and facts on its native/invasive status.
www.planthardiness.ars.usda.gov – Don’t know your zone? Plug in your zip code and you’ll get it.
www.njaes.rutgers.edu/deerresistance – When deer are responsible for your alcoholism, this list might help in planting smarter.
www.gardenrant.com – Witty, informative and often wise, Gardenrant is a guilty pleasure that I’m not giving up anytime soon. Plus they publish my heretical views on blogging – how can I not respect and love them?
www.davesgarden.com – Popular worldwide gardening forum and chat site.
Peaceful Valley Farm Supply – Organic catalog site with seeds, plants, equipment and great advice.
Renee’s Garden Seeds – A terrific place to buy seeds (many of which you will find in local nurseries). New, old, innovative, traditional…you’ll find it here. The catalog is online only, but the amount of information on each seed packet is incredibly helpful to the gardener. The gorgeous watercolor images are just gravy.
Heirloom Seeds – Open pollinated seeds for the gardener who wants to collect seeds in the fall (instead of taking a vacation).
Brent and Becky’s Bulbs – I have a special place in my heart for these wonderful people and their fabulous selection of bulbs. This is their passion and gardeners all over the world have trusted them for decades.
Forest Farm – Not only a wonderful database for plants, but a place to buy them too.
Gurneys – Great for the beginner with a lot of square footage to fill. Seed/plant site with lots of old fashioned and newer varieties that are fairly easy on the pocketbook.
Plant Delights – Each January, a nursery friend and I get together with our mutual friends, Gin and Tonic, build a fire in the fireplace and dream over this catalog. Unbelievable selection (particularly for shade) from all over the world, but even if you weren’t into rare plants, Tony Avent’s irreverent descriptions of some of his favorites are worth the read.
Camellia Forest – Woody paradise for camellias, rare trees and shrubs. I came, I saw, I wanted.
American Meadows – Online nursery with a strong commitment to natives, bulbs, seeds and wildflowers. You’ll find strong healthy plants, lots of growing information and a wonderful staff ready to answer all your questions.
Nature Hills Nursery – A large mail order nursery with a huge amount of information on planting, growing and loving your favorite plants – as well as many you may never have heard of. They’ve got an easily navigable website and that makes a huge difference when you’re browsing.
Sometimes you just want a book. Or several thousand. My personal library is extensive and constantly reminds me that many of the experts out there don’t have time to blog, update, tweet, share, pin and post – they’re too busy compiling incredible reference books. Here are a few of my favorites broken down by categories – some old, some new, all wonderful:
General Flower Gardening:
Christopher Lloyd’s Flower Garden – Christopher Lloyd
When Perennials Bloom – Tomasz Anisko
What Plant Where – Roy Lancaster
Color Echoes – Pamela Harper
Designing with Perennials – Pamela Harper
Taylor’s Guide to Growing North America’s Favorite Plants – Barbara Ellis
Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs – Michael Dirr
The Complete Gardener – Monty Don
Rodale’s Garden Problem Solver – Rodale Press
Botanical Latin – William T. Stern
AHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers – Christopher Brickell (ed.)
Hortus Third – Cornell University
Garden-pedia: An A-to-Z Guide to Gardening Terms – Maria Zampini & Pamela Bennett
General Vegetable Gardening:
The New Victory Garden – Bob Thompson
The New Kitchen Garden – Anna Pavord
The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible – Edward C. Smith
Growing Seeds and Vegetables from Seed to Harvest – Terry and Mark Silber
Square Foot Gardening – Mel Bartholomew
Backyard Foraging – Ellen Zachos
The Countryside Cookbook – Gail Duff
The Backyard Beekeeper – Kim Flottum
Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide – Lawrence Newcomb
The Field Guide to Mushrooms – William S. Thomas
And when I’m in the mood to just read about the pleasures of gardening:
The Living Garden – George Ordish
Gardening Mad – Monty Don
Thomas Jefferson – The Garden and Farm Books – Robert C. Baron
The Founding Gardeners – Andrea Wulf
Deep-Rooted Wisdom – Jenks Farmer