This month’s blog features tips on enhancing outdoor space, growing flowers all year round, and entertaining the children outdoors.
The cut flower patch : grow your own cut flowers all year round / by Louise Curley.
“Louise Curley looks at what makes a great cut flower, ideal conditions and soil and the tools you’ll need. There is advice on what to grow – from favourite hardy annuals, half hardies and biennials to spring and summer bulbs to adding foliage and fillers to balance arrangements – and advice on how and when to sow, how to support your plants and tips on weeding, deadheading, pests and feeding.” (Library catalogue)
The nourished kitchen : farm-to-table recipes for the traditional foods lifestyle : featuring bone broths, fermented vegetables, grass-fed meats, wholesome fats, raw dairy, and kombuchas / Jennifer McGruther.
“Following the precepts of dentist-nutritionist Weston Price, McGruther has developed a system for healthy eating based on lots of vegetables and grains as cooked and preserved on early twentieth-century American farms. What differentiates McGruther’s approach from other regimens is her unabashed advocacy of animal fats. She is especially fond of cooking foods in lard, noting its fat-content profile’s similarity to that of olive oil. When sweetness is an object, McGruther suggests replacing refined sugar with honey, molasses, sorghum, or maple syrup. Bread recipes specify ancient grains such as einkorn, and leavening comes from sourdough. She favors making one’s own butter when possible, and she recommends drinking that by-product of churning: buttermilk. Her meat dishes will satisfy carnivores, whether with a rich rabbit pie studded with bacon and chanterelles or with a rare-roasted elk steak. McGruther advocates sustainable agriculture, and she enthusiastically preserves summer’s bounty through fermentation for pickles, sauerkraut, and relishes.” (Booklist)
Plantiful : start small, grow big with 150 plants that spread, self-sow, and overwinter / Kristin Green.
“Green (interpretive horticulturist, Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum) wants readers to overcome anxiety about fast-spreading plants so they can creatively take advantage of them to save time and money. She encourages the opportunistic use of 50 self-sowers, 50 spreaders, and 50 tender plants that can extend the season or successfully winter over, but she wisely tempers her enthusiasm for such plants with appropriate cautions about invasive species and implores people to engage with their plants and gardens conscientiously. While she recommends self-sowers, Green empowers the gardener to “edit” them as necessary to create more pleasing combinations. Further, she teaches seed saving and propagation methods so gardeners can feel in control. Beginners will benefit from tips such as creating a photo directory of seedlings for future reference. Green is also a skilled photographer: her book is more beautifully illustrated than Sue Fisher’s Fast Plants (although Fisher’s includes specific notes on controlling growth for recommended plants). Verdict? Gardeners who enjoy a bargain will want Green’s book to begin cashing in on nature’s generosity.” (Library Journal)
101 things for kids to do outside / Dawn Isaac ; photography by Will Heap.
“Because it’s about time you stopped staring at that screen and had a go at racing snails, playing human croquet, brewing potions, planting wigwams, setting traps, weaving nests, autographing pumpkins, hunting bears, making twig stars, building snow lanterns (and 91 more totally brilliant ideas that just won’t fit on the back cover.” (Back cover)
Kitchen stitches : sewing projects to spice up your home / compiled by Karen M. Burns.
“Brighten your kitchen and dining area with delightful projects from a host of talented designers. For sewists of all skill levels, this value-packed volume offers an extraordinary variety of styles, including quilted, appliquéd, and embroidered designs. Create everything from aprons to table runners, towel sets, casserole covers, place mats and more.” (Abridged from Syndetics summary)
Handmade for the garden : 75 ingenious ways to enhance your outdoor space with DIY tools, pots, supports, embellishments & more / Susan Guagliumi ; photographs by John Gruen ; photostyling by Raina Kattelson ; illustrations by Sun Young Park.
“Guagliumi, author of many books on knitting (Hand-Manipulated Stitches for Machine Knitters), takes a trip to the garden with this lovely book. Chapters are arranged to follow the gardening year. Early season projects involve making newspaper cups for seedlings, seed tapes, coverings, and planting tools. Some sections are weak-the one on painting and altering terra cotta pots is a little less adventurous, and the part about making concrete containers and building plant supports lacks needed detail-while other sections shine (the areas devoted to making sieves, garden baskets, and gift seed packages are quite well done). Step-by-step illustrations are only sporadically provided, though instructions are well written. A better choice for readers learning to make concrete containers is Sherri Warner Hunter’s Creative Concrete Ornaments for the Garden: Making Pots, Planters, Birdbaths, Sculptures & More; those seeking information on plant supports and related structures would be best served by Trellises, Planters & Raised Beds: 50 Easy, Unique, and Useful Projects You Can Make with Common Tools and Materials. Verdict? Despite some flaws, this pretty, fresh work would round out any garden project collection. Recommended.” (Library Journal)
The urban house : townhouses, apartments, lofts, and other spaces for city living / Ron Broadhurst ; foreword by Richard Meier.
“An authoritative volume on the most innovative new residential design in cities around the globe. This carefully curated book presents twenty-five new and recent spaces for city living. Author Ron Broadhurst has selected projects that represent a set of ideas that can be described as belonging particularly to our time and which will shape how we think of living in the city in the future. Where the great experimenters of the last century were stripping away ornamentation and creating free-flowing spaces for the first time, today’s innovators are pioneering research in the potential of new materials for both formal invention and environmental sustainability and creating bold and sophisticated essays in the adaptive reuse of spaces originally designed for other purposes. With the newest work from such design luminaries as Andrée Putman, Annabelle Selldorf, and Richard Meier, as well as emergent talents like Barbara Bestor and Messana O’Rorke, The Urban House is a uniquely coherent volume on the best in new residential design.” (Syndetics summary)
Forest feast : simple vegetarian recipes from my cabin in the woods / Erin Gleeson.
“Erin Gleeson made her dream a reality when she left New York City and moved into a tiny cabin in a California forest in order to be closer to nature. The natural beauty of her surroundings and the abundance of local produce serve as the inspiration for The Forest Feast, based on her popular blog. Most of the book’s 100 wholly vegetarian recipes call for only three or four ingredients and require very few steps, resulting in dishes that are fresh, wholesome, delicious, and stunning. Among the delightful recipes are eggplant tacos with brie and cilantro, rosemary shortbread, and blackberry negroni. Vibrant photographs, complemented by Erin’s own fanciful watercolor illustrations and hand lettering, showcase the rustic simplicity of the dishes. Part cookbook, part art book, The Forest Feast will be as comfortable in the kitchen as on the coffee table.” (Syndetics summary)
A woman’s shed : spaces for women to create, write, make, grow, think, and escape / Gill Heriz ; with photography by Nicolette Hallett.
“Every woman deserves a shed of her own, somewhere to retreat to for some quiet time, to create or grow, to write or paint, or just to contemplate the view. Gill Heriz has interviewed over 80 different women, and Nicolette Hallett has photographed their sheds inside and out, to collect together this unique insight into why women have sheds, and what they do in them. Virginia Woolf once argued that, for women, writing fiction required a room of one’s own. These women have taken that premise a step further – to the end of the garden – to find their own very personal space.” (Syndetics summary)
Compost : how to make and use organic compost to transform your garden / Clare Foster.
“Composting is one of the most fundamental aspects of gardening. Clare Foster shows you how easy and natural it is to feed your soil with your household and garden rubbish.” (Library catalogue)