The days are still cold. The days are still short. I’ve snuck outside a few times for winter pruning, but have spent the majority of my free time reading. They say winter is for sharpening tools—brains count.
Each month, I’ll list the books I’ve read even if I didn’t complete them. Many of these were from the library, and I’m glad I didn’t spend money. Others are worth their price.
The big takeaway for January is that I was interested in comparing pruning books that I hadn’t read, and a small but thick guide called The Pruning Answer Book was my favorite.1 It’s written as Q & A’s and gets right to the point.
Another highlight was Phaidon’s The High Line. I’d call it a coffee table book but that would sell it short — it dives deep into every aspect of the project. It’s also fantastic from a book design perspective. Even if you feel like you’ve seen enough things about the High Line in NYC, check it out.
Theses are the books I read in January. Recommendations in bold.
History / Essays
- Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing the American Landscape. Beveridge
- Gardens Are for People (2nd ed.). Church
- Plans and Views of Public Parks. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press
- The Story of Gardening. Hobhouse
- A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening. Downing (1851)
- Writings on Landscape, Culture, and Society. Olmsted
Pruning / Care
- Essential Pruning Techniques. Brown & Kirkham
- Pirone’s Tree Maintenance (7th ed.). Hartman & Pirone
- The Pruning Answer Book. Hill & O’Sullivan
- Pruning and Training. Brickell
- The Gardener’s Guide to Growing Maples. Harris
- An Illustrated Guide to Japanese Maples for Garden Planting and Patio Pots. Kenney
- Native Trees of Washington: A Photographic Guide. Zobrist
- Trees for the Small Garden. Toomer
- The High Line. James Corner Field Operations
- New Small Garden. Kingsbury
- Tree Gardens: Architecture and the Forest. Crandell
- 住宅景观 Zhu zhai jing guan [Residential Landscape]
- Drawing for Landscape Architecture. Hutchison
- Figure: Drawing Methods for Artists. Boerboom
- American Tall Tales. Osborne
- A Tree is Nice. Udry
Misc / Fiction
- Gardenista: The Definitive Guide to Stylish Outdoor Spaces. Slatalla
- Pillars of the Earth. Follett
Cass Turnbull’s Guide to Pruning, 3rd Edition is still the first pruning book I’d recommend. But why keep to just one — each will have unique tips on specific plants and new illustrations. The Pruning Answer Book represents something I’d like to see more of: fits in one hand and makes no attempt to overreach, like so many encyclopedic garden books. ↩︎