A couple of weeks ago, I suggested gifts — from the modest to the elaborate — for the Central Texas gardener. In this column, I’m listing essential books for the Texas gardener, several of them written by horticulturists who live and work in this area. You can expect these books to be beautifully illustrated and, above all, useful to both active and couch gardeners alike. Most of them are available for purchase on Amazon; many are available on that site as less expensive used books.
• Butterfly Gardening for Texas by Geyata Ajilvsgi
• Pruning and Training by Christopher Brickell & David Joyce
• The Vegetable Book: A Texan’s Guide to Gardening by Sam Cotner. Order from Texas Gardener Magazine: www.texasgardener.com/Store/Products/viewproduct.aspx?id=111.
• What’s Wrong with My Plant? (And How Do I Fix It?): A Visual Guide to Easy Diagnosis and Organic Remedies by David Deardorff & Kathryn Wadsworth
• Texas Gardening the Natural Way: The Complete Handbook by Howard Garrett
• Texas Bug Book: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by Howard Garrett and C. Malcolm Beck, and Gwen E. Gage (illustrator)
• Texas Fruit & Vegetable Gardening: Plant, Grow, and Eat the Best Edibles for Texas Gardens (Fruit & Vegetable Gardening Guides) by Greg Grant (Royal Horticultural Society)
• Pests and Diseases by Pippa Greenwood & Andrew Halstead
• Southern Herb Growing by Madalene Hill
• Neil Sperry’s Complete Guide to Texas Gardening by Neil Sperry
• Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region by Sally Wasowski, Andy Wasowski
• Doug Welsh’s Texas Garden Almanac by Doug Welsh
• Heirloom Gardening in the South: Yesterday’s Plants for Today’s Gardens by William C. Welch and Greg Grant
• The Bulb Hunter by Chris Wiesinger and William C. Welch. Available at www.southernbulbs.com/the-bulb-hunter-by-chris-wiesinger/. Author inscription offered.
Please use your discretion in selecting from these films. Some may be for mature viewers; others may date back several decades; still others may be really bad or really good. But they do all feature gardens or plants. Some are available on Netflix, others on other services. For a quick overview of plot, actors, and rating, visit www.imdb.com.
Greenfingers, Dare to Be Wild (Netflix), The Secret Garden, This Beautiful Fantastic (Hulu), A Little Chaos and The Serpent’s Kiss.
Also, Green Card, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, Back to Eden, The Assam Garden, The Garden of Words, The Garden of Allah, Fireflies in the Garden, WALL-E, The Martian, Ferngully, The Orchid Thief, Little Shop of Horrors, Medicine Man, Field of Dreams, Big Fish, Avatar, Life with Father, My House in Umbria, Howard’s End, Brideshead Revisited and Age of Innocence.
Tips for the winter garden
In December, we can transplant arugula, cabbage, chard, lettuce, spinach and strawberries. All perennial and cool-season annual herbs can be transplanted now. Protect fennel and dill from freezes.
Among ornamentals, we can plant transplants of alyssum, bluebonnet, ornamental cabbage and kale, dianthus, pansy, snapdragon, stock and viola. Bulbs can be planted now — just barely. Hardy perennials can be planted now as well. Feed with a seaweed transplant solution and cover to protect them from freezes.
You can now select an area for planting fruit trees in January and begin preparing the soil by clearing it of weeds and lawn grasses, turning over one shovelful of soil and mixing in compost. January is a surprisingly active growing month, so take this chance to sit back and dream about your coming bounty.