Book Corner: Gardening Books to Plow Through for Spring Inspiration

It might still be February, but I’m not sure my yard got the message. The daffodils, which started poking up through the ground over a month ago, are starting to show a hint of yellow bloom. The single patch of tulips has already sprouted. And the first tiny curls of sedums are peppering the ground below the dogwood with green. While I have no green thumb, I do appreciate the first signs of life that appear in late winter and flourish over the coming months. I get excited to see the first stumpy growths of hostas and the red buds on the maples. Eventually, I watch the dogwood bloom, and finally, in early summer, the crepe myrtle and its showy colors appear.

The Month-by-month Gardening Guide, opens a new window by Franz Böhmig
Horticulture consultant Böhmig offers practical advice for U.S. home gardeners in Zones 4-8, organized by month for easy reference. Each month covers general gardening tips, vegetables (including herbs), and ornamental plants (outdoors, terraces/balconies, and indoors). Packed with accurate line drawings and an encyclopedia's worth of information, this guide is essential for both beginner as well as expert gardeners.

How to Grow: Nurture Your Garden, Nurture Yourself by Marcus Bridgewater
“Garden Marcus,” TikTok’s most popular gardener, charms his followers with life lessons inspired by his observations in caring for over 600 plants. It’s not a gardening book per se, but a companion that centers on mental health, physical fitness, and spiritual awareness through a gardening lens. Life inside us yearns to grow, and, like plants, humans flourish with the right care and attention. Bridgewater’s unique meditation on self-care and the healing power of nature is the perfect complement to any gardener’s collection.

Plant Grow Harvest Repeat: Grow a Bounty of Vegetables, Fruits, and Flowers by Mastering the Art of Succession Planting, opens a new window by Meg McAndrews Cowden
Seed to Fork blogger Cowden unveils her guide to "succeeding with succession": growing diverse plants throughout seasons like nature does. Learn how to incorporate flowers into food gardens to help them thrive, make sure gardens get the right amount of sunlight, and create organic fertilizer. Accompanied by gorgeous photos and writing, gardeners at all levels will find inspiration.

100 Plants to Feed the Birds: Turn Your Home Garden Into a Healthy Bird Habitat, opens a new window by Laura Erickson
Our feathered friends depend on native plants and garden habitats, and Erickson provides an accessible guide to providing supportive environments in which birds can thrive. Accompanied by dynamic photos of birds and plants, Erickson includes the how and why of bird gardening. She lists North American plants that support birds, including each plant’s benefit, native range, and recommended species. 

Beginner Gardening Step-by-Step, opens a new window by DK Publishing
I’ve always been a fan of DK Publishing books, which cover a variety of nonfiction topics for all ages, because they’re informative, interesting, and include illustrations. This guide is no exception. With clear instructions, tool lists, color photos, and gardening jargon explained, it’s all the beginner needs to get started with growing flowers and foliage of all types.

Vegetables Love Flowers: Companion Planting for Beauty and Bounty, opens a new window by Lisa Mason Ziegler
Ziegler takes the concept of incorporating flowers into food gardens, mentioned in Cowden’s book above, to a whole new level. Practiced centuries ago before today’s chemical fertilizers and engineered plants, vegetables and flowers were interplanted for the most successful yields. Why? Because vegetables love pollinators, and pollinators love flowers. It takes some thought, but if you follow Ziegler’s timetables and tips, you can enjoy both a bounty of flowers and fresh veggies.

Get ready for spring at Central Rappahannock Regional Library with seed drives, gardening and composting classes, and more. Visit, keyword “gardening.”, opens a new window

Tracy McPeck is the adult services coordinator at Central Rappahannock Regional Library. This column first appeared in the Free Lance-Star newspaper.