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.
Recommended books are 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 books 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. ↩︎