Garden Book Forum

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Garden Book Forum

Pruning
Gardening is something you really learn by doing. I have seen many books that talk only about pruning and one of the best is Tracy D's The Well - Tended Garden. Simply put, a book about pruning. The book is much more of course, but the lessons I have learned this year in the garden hammered home her points. We have had the time this year to really do the dead heading of our flowering plants in pots, window boxes or in the garden. It is really astonishing how much better some plants perform when given a little more attention to remove spent bloom on a timely basis. More compact plants with rebloom is a very common sight. Snapdraggons, Nasturtiums, Dianthus, border Dahlias, Coreopsis, Petunias, Lobelia, Achillea and many more. Who wants to look at those dead heads anyway. Off with them!

Garden Book Forum

Garden Book Forum
Woe is me. I have been away for a long time. I even forgot how to post correctly. Recent posts actually show up under comments for previous posts, not as a new post. We have not been sick, just absent. A trip for Katrina relief, building new gardens at the bookstore, building our new website at www.terracehorticulturalbooks.com and too many other things to list here. Well anyway with apologies, we are back.

I have nearly finished A Year at North Hill by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd, Little, Brown and Co. 1995. An amazing book from two amazing gardeners. Lush with it's plants and it's words. Written in a style that has been used since the 'beginning' of gardening books - this calendar book takes you through a year in their Vermont garden. This book reminds me of the writing of Reginald Farrer, who according to Nicola Schulman in A Rage for Rock Gardening (Farrer's biography), changed the way writers wrote about gardening. Pre Farrer writers used what could be described as a 'just the facts' style of writing. In contrast to writers before his early 20th century books, Farrer used a more 'flowering' descriptive style of writing about plants and gardens. Eck and Winterrowd use that same type of lush descriptive language. This is not the spare writing of a poet. They at times trip you up with too many fat words, but still a great effort.

In chapters for each month they describe their activities in the garden. Very practical things that everyone can learn from and yes, they name names. Names of plants that you can use in your Zone 4 garden. Roger Swain in a jacket blurb calls their garden one of the 10 best private gardens in the country. As gardeners, designers and writers, these guys should to be watched. My only question is, whose voice is it in the book? Do they both write? I don't detect a style difference between the two authors through reading the text. I should write to them and ask.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Frenchculture

Frenchculture

Hi Valeryanne,
Abby here, Kent's spouse. Thanks for blogging (blog=weblog or blog for short) back to Kent. He is so excited by all this new media and web interest. It is so great that you as a customer added to his new blog site.

My dear friend Susan loves all things French and would love to know you. Unfortunately, she as a polio victim-victim in the real sense as she caught polio in the hospital when we were kids. She went in with an asthma attack and came out with full blown polio from the waste down. What a terrible life she has had. Anyway, despite it all she finished her Masters in French and taught until her body wouldn't go any more. I would love to see her on a computer and into the world again. She is in a huge depression right now and living on little. I will try to work with her family to see if we can get her online and connected to your French Lit. blog.

I also wondered if you had seen the film of The Five People You Will Meet In Heaven? It is a wonderful film and highly recommended.

Have to get some cornmeal muffins in the oven as we are having chili and putting up the tree today.

Take care and keep blogging. Abby

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Garden Book Forum

Garden Book Forum
Well, this is our first post, and we're a little uneasy that it has been so easy so far. Our Web designer, A J, said this was the place to start and so here we go.

As mentioned in our profile, we have been gainfully employed in a day job that has paid the bills and allowed us to indulge our passion that is book collecting and the offshoot that started in 1991 called Terrace Horticultural Books. We began simply by printing business cards and getting a tax number for retail sales. We had collected a number of books to help with our gardening. Yes, we actually say it all started in the garden. As an ex master gardener, and ex of a lot of other things that had to be dropped as the part time avocation business seemed to develop a life of it's own. We suddenly had customers at the various gardening events we attended. We were getting books and had open houses at our home. At one point, my wife Abby, in a kind way said it was either me or the books that had to go as the boxes crept too close to the bed. We weren't too stupid and opted for the books to go and so off we were to a book cooperative called the Stillwater Book Center, and then our own warehouse in St. Paul, and finally our own home five years ago in St. Paul. We purchased a duplex home in St. Paul for our showrooms so that we could control our own destiny. It didn't have sprinklers. We learned the hard way that books and water from sprinklers don't go together after loosing over 800 of our best to a flood in the St. Paul warehouse. For fun we have developed gardens on the large corner lot. We hold twice yearly public open houses for our customers since we are so far a by appointment store. It is just like many used bookstores around the country, located in a duplex home ( my daughter and her husband live upstairs). I don't mind mentioning that we have been to a lot of store around the world and this charming old brick house is one of the best I have ever seen. Well, enough said about me.

I did want to mention a great book I read called No One Gardens Alone by Emily Harring. Hope I got the name right as I am going from memory. The book is a biography of Elizabeth Lawrence, one of our great garden writers. Lawrence wrote starting in the 1950's The Little Bulbs, Southern Gardening and many gardening columns for the Charlotte Observer. A lot of her writings were posthumously gathered together in other collected versions including Gardening for Love, which consisted of collected correspondence with market gardeners in the south. Lawrence led a charmed and quiet life in North Carolina, never marrying. The book is just a great read and we highly recommend it for a good winter sit. The title alone make me want to know more. It is still in print and readily available.