Arrow-right Camera

Reading To Improve The Garden Or At Least Your Outlook

For the gardening friend who deserves more than a greeting card on their birthday, a spritely mix of humor and wisdom is offered up in “How Does Your Garden Grow?” by Beverly Rose Hopper ($6.95; Walrus Productions, 160 pages).

The San Jose rosarian offers up page after page of smile-starters like, “It wasn’t the apple on the tree that ruined everything … it was the pair on the ground.” And “Manure always smells worse when it’s in the neighbor’s yard.” Or “It’s a Bad Garden Day when you mistake Roundup for Miracle-Gro!”

For those who want to know more about the art of growing small-leaved plants in shallow containers, the new Reader’s Digest Home Handbook, “Bonsai,” uses more than 400 photographs to explain every aspect of the art, complimented by “an A-to-Z of bonsai species” as a catalog of cultivating and styling individual plants.

The beautifully designed pocket-sized book (216 pages; $16) is a significant addition to the growing Reader’s Digest series, and author Harry Tomlinson makes the most of every word and illustration.

I confess to being genuinely excited when the much-heralded update of the “Sunset Western Garden Book” arrived in the mail.

Living up to advance hype, it has 32 more pages than the last edition; a lot more color; additional references, like a helpful listing of top-notch garden catalogs, and an expanded plant encyclopedia with updated evaluations of the plants that make western gardening special.

Take my word: You’re just not going to find as much gardening information for the West Coast in any other book, and it’s easily worth twice its retail price ($24.95 paperback; $29.95 hardcover).

For those who find it difficult to find a particular title of garden books, the answer might be in the free 72-page catalog of Capability’s Books, which lists nearly 1,000 titles for gardeners. Write to the firm at 2379 Highway 46, Deer Park, WI 54007 or call (800) 247-8154.