Shut of your lights for the 8pm hour tomorrow...Earth Hour. I'm not sure about the impact of such things, but I'm game. Here is a picture from my phone of my little "tree hugger" loving on his "favorite" tree at "our park". He wants to climb it so much, but I keep telling him it is not strong enough and he might hurt the tree. This makes him sad for the tree and prompted the hugging, but the urge to climb is very strong.
Friday Book Review (Gardening edition part 1):
With Spring Fever going on in the house and my grandiose plans to start a garden this year (you can tell the years I am pregnant because the garden suffers and then the years the kids are about two they don't do so well because of the "help" I receive). We are assured the soil doesn't have lead so we are a go for the garden at our new house this year and hope to share a community garden plot with our friends Kit and Emily. We'll see how it all goes, but to get into the mood, we are reading our favorite gardening books.
How Groundhog's Garden Grew by Lynne Cherry
No garden library would be complete without this classic from Lynne Cherry. Great illustrations and descriptions of how to save seeds, plant, transplant, etc. all with kid friendly text which in entertaining, but doesn't talk down to the reader. One of our favorites for years and we enjoy several of Cherry's other books (The Great Kapok Tree was our first). Check her out!
In Our Backyard Garden by Eileen Spinelli
While this book is much more about family than actually gardening, it is a favorite and when I asked Parker to give me a list of his favorite garden books this was on it. I love the generations of family and how much of the important things happen in their backyard garden. The tree planting for each birth is very sweet and reminds me that we have some trees to plant at our new house. We planted a tree for Parker's birth at our old house and now we need to plant a new one for all three kids. We buried Josie's placenta where we will have our garden and we still have Dema's placenta in our freezer. We need to put this on our gardening list to do this spring.
Two Little Gardeners by Margaret Wise Brown
This is a sweet little book which is on Dema's list of favorite gardening books. I like how it shows a girl and boy working together on their garden. It is also great to see the end them enjoy the food they grew, one of the great themes with most children's gardening books.
The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
Okay, I can't describe how much I love our Sarah Stewart books with illustrations by David Small. The Gardener is one of Parker's all time favorite books, but both boys love all of them. There is something about the illustrations that makes me want to just look at the books over and over and the text is always wonderful. This particular book is about a little girl who is able to find and grow beauty in even the most difficult situations. She even brings a little softness to her city uncle's life when she goes to live with him when her family falls on hard times.
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Classic, classic. Not about gardening, but a wonderful story about a mother and daughter picking blueberries and a mother bear and her cub eating blueberries on the same hill. In the end the humans go home and can the blueberries and it is just sweet.
Who is in the Garden? by Vera Rosenberry
Okay, I know I say this all the time, but how could you not love Vera Rosenberry? We have several of her books and love the text and illustrations. We love how the characters in her books are usually (if not always) multi-racial. Rob and I were reading a book she illustrated, Savitri by Aaron Shepard so often to Parker when I was pregnant with Dema that he probably would have been named Savitri if he had been a girl...now you know our name for a second girl (if we were to ever think about having a fourth and that fourth happened to be a girl). Anyway, this book is about a boy looking around the garden to see all the different insects and animals who live there.
Sunflower House by Eve Bunting
Eve Bunting is another favorite author and we have many of her books. This particular favorite of Parker's reminds me of the stick house he built with the neighbor friends. In this story the boy plants sunflowers in a circle and all summer he and his friends play in the "sunflower house". It is sad when the house starts to wilt and die, but then they decide to pick up some of the seeds and save them for next year!
Older Children/Adult Books:
Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots by Sharon Lovejoy
This is a wonderful book for gardening with children. She has great ways to incorporate littles hands into the work. I love her garden designs to make things interesting for children. I love to look through it for inspiration before we all go out there and get dirty!
Gardening for the Future of the Earth by Howard-Yana Shapiro
Great book for people into organic gardening. It also has a lot of information on composting and gardening with respect for the Earth. I bought this from Seeds of Change years ago and it may be harder to find now. I'm sure there are more books on organic gardening now than you can shake a stick at, but I really like this one.
Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte
This is a nice book about companion planting and if I was more organized I'm sure it would work better. It is a nice place to start and when I have used the information, I believe it helped my garden. I plan on paying much more attention to companion planting this year to be more efficient in my vegetable garden.
Native Plants in the Home Landscape by Keith Gerard Nowakowski
For you those of you living in Illinois this book is nice to help make your yard a better habitat for native flora and fauna.
Go Native! by Carolyn Harstad
Gardening with native plants and wildflowers in the lower midwest. I use this book and the previous one before I shop at our annual Grand Prairie Friends of Illinois plant sale. Both have pictures (which are really helpful) and ideas on how to incorporate native plants into the landscape.
What are your favorite gardening books?