Garden Reads

SLHL asked local landscapers to share their favorite garden and landscaping books.

By Melissa Mauzy


This winter, brush up on your plant and flower knowledge with a garden and landscaping book. Start planning for spring by selecting species to plant, get tips for garden design or simply brighten a dreary winter day by flipping through the colorful pages. SLHL asked local landscapers their favorite garden and landscaping books.

“By far my favorite book to recommend to my customers is “The Well Tended Perennial Garden,”  by Tracy DiSabato-Aust. It is a book packed with tips that can turn any garden into a showcase with minimum maintenance. Considered by many as the most thorough book to detail essential practices of perennial care, the techniques are thoroughly explained and illustrated. Gardeners will return to this book again and again for the beautiful images showing perennials in various border situations along with the A-to-Z encyclopedia of important perennial species.” Ann Lapides, Sugar Creek Gardens.

“I have always loved Philip Cave's book, "Creating Japanese Gardens." This is a book that breaks down the philosophy of traditional Japanese gardens and provides lots of great pictures and real-life examples to draw inspiration from. I think it is important to understand what makes a Japanese garden function.” Eric Ringhofer, Green Guys.

“My favorite book is, “Manual of Woody Landscape Plants,” by Michael A. Dirr. This book gives woody landscape plants, such as trees, identification, ornamental characteristics, culture, propagation and uses. It is the most extensive and thorough book in the industry.” David Sherwood, Sherwood’s Forest.

“Our favorite gardening book is the, “Manual Of Herbaceous Ornamental Plants.” This is a great reference book for annuals, biennials and perennials.” Jim Meiners, Prestige Landscape.

“One of my favorite books is, “Dirr's Encylopedia of Trees & Shrubs,” by Michael A. Dirr. This book is great for landscape designs, covers planting and care, and includes beautiful photography. I discovered this book at a seminar years ago, and because I was familiar with the author from a reference book I had used in my college days, it immediately sparked my interest. The book explains in great detail interesting characteristics of hundreds of varieties of trees and shrubs and what makes each variety unique. Particularly interesting to me is the book's extensive catalog of Japanese Maple trees. I have a special interest in unique varieties of Japanese Maples and carry a large selection at Chesterfield Valley Nursery.” Jim Graeler, Chesterfield Valley Nursery.

"Landscapes in Landscapes" by Piet Oudolf & Noel Kingsbury is an amazing book giving you a glimpse into Piet Oudolf's designs. Oudolf, a Dutch garden designer, is known around the world for his work like the Lurie Garden in Chicago and the High Line in New York. He is a leading figure of the new perennial movement. Oudolf stresses form and texture as much as color, and he designs with all seasons in mind showcasing the natural life cycle of perennials. This book is a visual delight featuring 23 of Oudolf's public and private works." Daniel Mee, Frisella Nursery.