When it’s raining, turn to a gardening book | THE COMPLEAT HOME GARDENER

Marianne Binetti shares a list of gardening books by local authors.

Rainy spring days may be great for newly-planted trees and shrubs but they can drive the gardener indoors for a warm drink and a look through some cool new books.

Here are the latest and greatest from some local authors and the rebirth of a best seller from a perennial gardener of international acclaim:

“The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: the essential guide to planting and pruning techniques”

By Tracy Disabato-Aust Timber Press 34.95

Perfect for beginning gardeners and considered the perennial bible for professionals and educated maintenance crews, this best-seller created a storm when it first bloomed in 1998. This completely revised and expanded edition has updated photos and even more information on not just which perennials to plant but how to prune, feed, divide and maintain them as well.

Perennials are listed with photos and descriptions and also included in various plant lists such as deer resistant perennials, perennials for dry shade, perennials for wet soil and my personal favorite, perennials that only need dividing once every 10 years. I have no more guilt about not dividing my hosta plants.

“Gardening with Foliage First: 127 dazzling combinations that pair the beauty of leaves with flowers, bark, berries and more”

By Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz Timber Press 24.95

These local garden writers from the Seattle area had great success with their first book about using foliage plants in containers and this lushly photographed encore is even more useful as the authors teach us how to see the color and texture in foliage shapes and tones and combine vegetative plant material to compose beautiful combinations.

The design of the book itself makes it easy to decode a great planting scheme by featuring small vignettes in a landscape as inspiration, then breaking down the different plants in the display to show how the design grows. One example is a design called “The Magpie Effect” that transforms a shade spot by using shiny foliage and pale colors to light up the darkness. Hart’s-tongue fern and brunnera, Solomon’s seal and Japanese painted fern turn up the lights with reflective surfaces all grouped around an ivory urn. All have a shiny finish that would of course make any magpie happy.

“The Plant Lover’s Guide to Ferns”

By Richie Steffen and Sue Olsen Timber Press 24.95

If you live in Western Washington and you like plants, you need this book.

Ferns thrive in our cloudy, cool summer climate and this book teaches not just the hundreds of fern varieties useful in the garden but also how to use ferns in a rock garden (the dainty dwarf Maidenhair) how to use ferns for spots of color in the shade (the remarkable red foliage of the Autumn Fern) and some creative ideas such as planting ferns in a “stumpery” or amidst fallen trees or to design a small space fern garden on an elevated fern table.

The authors dig deeper into the roots of how to grow fern, understanding the unique botany of these prehistoric plants and then add an encyclopedia with excellent photographs of the types of ferns to use in your garden. I am so inspired that I intend to fill a single large container with my favorite fern – as soon as I can decide which fern in this book is my favorite.

More in Life

Firefighters ring the bell for donations

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Renton Regional Fire Authority Firefighters volunteered to ring… Continue reading

Renton resident Joe Copenhaver and his pet crow, T-Rex, share a moment Nov. 10. Photo by Andy Hobbs
Meet Joe and his pet crow T-Rex | Video

Renton resident makes fast friends with a crow he rescued last spring.

Turkeys Nonni, Noelle, November and Nora at Rooster Haus Rescue in Fall City. Natalie DeFord/staff photo
Turkey rescue: No bird on Thanksgiving menu at this King County sanctuary

“There’s a huge need for roosters. They often end up neglected and abused.”

It’s more than bagging groceries — it’s changing hearts

Local cashier ‘Bev’ McQueen is a concrete part of Renton’s community

Passport Day tomorrow, Oct. 5 | King County

Go to Renton to apply or renew your passport.

This time of year, it’s all about the harvest

The fourth week of August is time to reset for the coming… Continue reading

Scott Kreidermacher, left, and Lara Randolph, right, hold up the food that remains from a busy day at the Free Grocery Store, a new project from nonprofit Sustainable Renton, on Monday, Aug. 19. Photo by Haley Ausbun.
Free grocery store to combat food waste

A small Renton nonprofit hopes to help homeless and keep food from the landfill

Registering to vote online or in-mail ends Monday

In-person registration is available up until Election Day, Aug. 6.

Cruz the Loop and Return to Renton Benefit Car Show set for July 6, 7

Hot Rod weekend, downtown, will have some street closures.

Join author Kurt Armbruster for a discussion of his latest book, “Pacific Coast, Seattle’s Own Railroad” at 6 p.m. May 16 at the Renton History Museum, 235 Mill Ave. S. Courtesy photo
Upcoming events: Pacific Coast Railroad history lesson; coffee with Renton cops

Symphony: Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra Spring Masterworks Concert will highlight Tchaikovsky’s Symphony… Continue reading

Renton Rotary’s Youth of the Month for May

Five Renton students were selected as May 2019 Youth of the Month to finish off the school year.