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Master Gardener Book Recommendations

Jefferson County Master Gardeners have complied a list of their favorite books on gardening and nature. Curl up with a good read to pass the time this winter and whet your gardening appetite. 

To Speak for the Trees-My Life's Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger (2021)- Orphaned as a child, the half English and half-Irish Diana offers this memoir of how she was ‘adopted’ by her Irish elders and taught the ancient wisdom of the Celtic natural world. Today Beresford-Kroger is a world-recognized botanist and medical biochemist. “I loved reading about how plants used as medicines in antiquity have been chemically proven to offer benefits. It is also sad that most of the medical benefits attributed to plants have been lost to history through cultural subjugation.”

The Overstory: A Novel by Richard Powers (2019)- This book is suggested by several Master Gardeners: “It’s not an easy read and it took me several starts-and-stops to make headway. It may be perfect for those who are house-bound by COVID and have a few hours to spend curled up with a good book. ”Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, the book is packed with plant science put forth in a series of fables. It will leave you pondering.

Adventures in Eden: An Intimate Tour of the Private Gardens of Europe by Carolyn Mullet (2020)- “This is a book of beautiful photos of significant gardens in the UK and Europe. The author visited them when she led garden tours. It’s a picture book, not a how to, but really fun to ooh and aaah over!!!”

The Beautiful Edible Garden: Design A Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs by Leslie Bennett (2013)- “A beautifully-photographed guide to artfully incorporating organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs into an attractive modern garden design.” (Amazon Review)

Cool Flowers: How to Grow and Enjoy Long-Blooming Hardy Annual Flowers Using Cool Weather Techniques by Lisa Ziegler (2014)- “Expert flower grower Lisa Zeigler profiles 30 long-blooming stars of the spring garden, the ‘hardy annuals’ that thrive when they are planted during cool conditions.” (Amazon review)

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer (2015)- Suggested by several Master Gardeners, this inspirational book is a ‘must have’ for those that appreciate the natural world.

The First-Time Gardener:Growing Vegetables by Jessica Sowards (2021)- “Homesteader Jessica Sowards, the warm and energetic host of YouTube’s Roots and Refuge Farm, is the perfect teacher for new gardeners, offering not just know-how but inspiration and time-management tips for success.” (Amazon review)

The Well-Tended Perennial Garden - Planting and Pruning Techniques by Tracy DiSabato-Aust (2017)- “Whether you are a new gardener or a green thumb, The Well-Tended Perennial Garden is here to help you successfully plan, plant, and tend your garden.” (Amazon review)

Keeping Bees by Pam Gregory & Claire Waring (2017)- “Practical and informative advice on how to get started, how to achieve and collect good harvests, beekeeping through the seasons, and troubleshooting.” (Amazon review)

Feed the Bees: Provide a Healthy Habitat to Help Pollinators Survive, A Xerces Society publication (2016)- The title says it all! Information on native wildflowers and lots of photos. An excellent resource for anyone that wants to support bees and beneficial insects.

Deer Resistant Native Plants for Northeast by Ruth Rogers Clausen and Gregory D Tepper (2021)- Specific to our region, this book offers strategies and plant species to help deter the perennial issue of deer browse. 


Sue Gwise
Consumer Horticulture Educator & Master Gardener Coordinator
315-788-8450 ext. 243

Last updated January 21, 2022