Last week we recommended some favorite new books about vegetable gardening and next up are popular new books about ornamental gardening.  That means woody plants, perennials, annuals, and so on - everything except edibles.

The Layered Garden by David Culp

This is probably the hottest new gardening book of the year, at least among the many garden writers and avid gardeners I follow online.  That's because the author, David Culp, is an inspired plantsman and garden designer, and he happens to garden just up the road from us in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  This much-anticipated book shows  how he turned a neglected 1790 farmhouse on 2 acres into a living lesson on combining plants by using the style he calls "layering."  He defines it as "art of creating a series of peak garden moments" all year long.

 The awe-inspiring photos are by the popular garden photographer Rob Cardillo, who also gardens in the Philadelphia area.  Gee-orgeous!

Decoding Gardening Advice by Jeff Gillman and Meleah Maynard.

This book, by one of the top two horticulturalist writers in the U.S. today, is sometimes called a Consumer Reports-type guide to gardening tips. It examines 100 of the most common tips today ("Water only in the morning," "Always stake young trees," "Change the soil every year in your flower pots") and reveals the actual research and facts on the wsubject, which may or may not back up the so-called common wisdom.  If you're more interested in scientifically proven facts about growing garden plants than conventional wisdom, right or wrong, this is the book for you.

The Untamed Garden by Sonia Day

This charming book comes in a particularly alluring package - a wrapper suggesting a brown paper bag unfolds to reveal a gorgeous reproduction of Alma-Tadema’s Roses of Heliogabalus.  Inside is a diverse and humorous selection of plant lore, lavishly illustrated with photography and reproductions of botanical drawings and paintings. The book asks and answers such questions as: Which suggestive plant caused a queen to faint when it was presented to her at court? What fun!

1001 Gardens You Must See Before You Die  Edited by Rae Spencer-Jones 

Here they are - 1,001 of the world's best public gardens, with facts and photos to help us plan our travels.  Great for garden tourists and virtual travelers who enjoy winter daydreaming about gardens around the world.

More gardening books coming next week!

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