In this age of digital everything we sometimes forget to stop and smell the roses. Actually, what I mean is we forget to sit down and read. Or at least I do. So while we have many more weeks of winter left I thought this would be a good time of year to refresh your bookshelf with some must read garden books.
Garden books run the gamut, there are general design books, DIY books, inspirational books, and local plant books. I took a look at all of those categories and I broke the list down into some of my favorite local books. Cause, let’s face it. We live in the high desert with 8″ of water a year and tons of dust. Not all those fancy books on the shelves are going to work here in Albuquerque or the rest of New Mexico. So let’s get focused on what will work this day, this year, here and now.
Growing the Southwest Garden, Judith Phillips.
A local favorite author, Judith Phillips has been writing garden books for decades. I’ve got them all but here is a look at the must have one on the shelf for this year. The book is Growing the Southwest Garden, Judith Phillips. “Plant selection and garden style are deeply influenced by where we are gardening. To successfully grow a range of beautiful ornamental plants, every gardener has to know the specifics of the region’s climate, soil, and geography.” This book introduces plant species that will thrive with our changing temperature patterns. The rise in temperatures here in Albuquerque are making it hard for some of the higher elevation plants to survive and thrive. The plants in this book are chosen to last during those irregular years of abnormal temperatures.
New Mexico Plants Made Easy, Jill Brown
I refer to this book daily not just because I wrote it but because it is an easy pocket plant book. It’s a simple plant book for people like you and me. It includes 60 of my favorite plants for Albuquerque and New Mexico. Each page includes a plant photo, and a basic description about the plants preferences including soil, water, and maintenance needs. Almost all of the plants in this book are well adapted to NM and are easy to care for. The book gives you just enough information to make you knowledgeable but not enough to make you cross-eyed.
- Small pocket plant book
- Showcases 60 of my favorite plants for New Mexico
- Easily organized by plant type, tree, shrub, groundcover, grasses.
- A perfect companion to bring to the plant store.
The Complete How to Guide to Xeriscaping, Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority
This guide was created by the City of Albuquerque back in the late 90’s for the citizens of Albuquerque and the surrounding areas. It is a quick and easy way to learn about landscaping. It provides a brief description of plants and a quick course on irrigation. It’s by far the best go to guide available. It includes the basic Xeriscape Principles, tips on how to plant plus irrigation basics. It is organized by flowering plants, trees & shrubs, desert accents and groundcovers.
Down to Earth, A Gardeners Guide for the Albuquerque Area, Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardeners
This local favorite is not exactly a quick guide. Quite the opposite, this book dives right into all the details of gardening, from pest management to pruning. If you like to know everything there is to know about growing tomatoes in Albuquerque then this book is for you. I caution on starting with this guide because it’s easy to get lost in the details with this book. I recommend opening it up after you’ve thought about the overall big picture design for your yard. It is an extremely throughout guide for growing many of the traditional plants and vegetables you grew up with. (that is, if you did not grow up in Albuquerque). It teachers you how to grow those here in the NM climate. It’s detailed and if you don’t watch out you can get drawn into the detail of each individual plant and loose focus on the actual overall goal.
This is just a sampling of the great plant resources available to you here in the Albuquerque area. We talked about plant specific books, pocket guides, quick resources and an in depth how to garden book. Once you pick out your plants, install them they will need to be maintained. It is by far the most asked question I get. I’ve put together a quick maintenance guide to propel you and your garden forward focusing on clear month by month maintenance tasks to keep your garden looking fantastic.
The secrets to landscape maintenance
Get these simple tips for maintaining the southwest yard!