Home, Garden and DIY March: Stylish Living and Property Investment

Gorgeous hand-made bouquet, with a hint of caffeine-influenced design, and beautifully preserved vegetables will bring your home a fresh new look. Also have a look at the property investment books.

Syndetics book coverDecorate with flowers: creative ideas for flowers and containers around the home
“This unique collaboration between international bestselling interiors author and stylist Holly Becker of the award-winning design blog, decor, and Leslie Shewring, product designer, photographer and stylist, offers advice on selecting, combining and arranging flowers to best complement your decor. Decorate with Flowers contains a host of exciting ideas separated into eight gorgeous styles, showing flowers in relaxed, casual homes alongside those with some serious panache. You’ll find a host of creative ideas for entertaining at home, from tea parties to cocktails with friends.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverBuilt for caffeine / by Ben Crawford.
“In the land of the long black and flat white, it’s no surprise that some of New Zealand’s most innovative and original design is found in our cafes. In Built for Caffeine, Ben Crawford explores the beautiful, inventive and sometimes quirky interior design from 20 favourite cafes nationwide… Contains interviews with the owners, architects and designers of each cafe, retelling their inspiring stories before translating their fit-out features into design ideas and tips that you can use in your own home.” (Book cover)

Syndetics book coverRowan Bishop with relish : fine chutneys, pickles & more / photographs by Carolyn Robertson.
“Preserving fresh seasonal produce as well as adding interest and flavour to meals with chutneys, pickles, relishes and sauces are age-old, timeless practices. In this, her fifth book, Rowan Bishop indulges her passion for these wonderfully versatile condiments. Not content to stick with the traditional, Rowan has developed over 50 recipes designed to reduce sugar content and let the natural qualities of ingredients shine. She has then enhanced and intensified flavours with spices and herbs from different cuisines and also extended the preserves repertoire beyond the familiar, to include sambals, salsas, pastes, tapenades, a liqueur and even a ‘champagne’. Ideal for the home gardener as well as easy on the budget, these are recipes to savour and relish.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe manual of seed saving : harvesting, storing, and sowing techniques for vegetables, herbs, and fruits / Andrea Heistinger ; in association with Arche Noah, Pro Specie Rara ; translated by Ian Miller.
“Heistinger, an Austrian agronomist, in association with Austrian (Arche Noah) and Swiss (Pro Specia Rara) conservation foundations, presents agronomist Miller’s translation of her award-winning Austrian publication, a comprehensive guide to correctly harvesting, storing, and planting seeds from more than 100 vegetables, fruits, and herbs. The author aims to enable gardeners and farmers to create their own heirloom seeds rather than depending on commercial varieties to grow plants that will thrive under local conditions, to maintain existing plant varieties that may be otherwise lost, to diversify crops, and simply to enjoy good-tasting homegrown foods. The tested techniques offered here in consultation with global experts are easy to follow in both photographs and text. Arranged alphabetically by common plant name, from amaranth to “tomato and relatives,” each plant is described in terms of botanical and propagation characteristics. Also included for each entry are overviews of the plant family, “What You’ll Need” to harvest the plant’s seed, pollination notes, and extensive information on growing the plant for its seeds, harvesting it, selection criteria of which to be aware, and cultivation history. VERDICT With increasing numbers of edible plant varieties disappearing from seed catalogs and gardens, this work enables its audience to engage in a worthy pursuit. It will be very useful for hobbyist and professional growers. A green thumb up.” (Adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverTruth lies & real estate : a property seller’s essential guide / Nigel Mayson & Wendy Mayson.
“The authors, who have extensive experience in both property and marketing in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, offer a practical guide for all property owners to confidently and successfully negotiate their way through the agent/agency appointment, property marketing, and selling processes.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInvest & prosper with property : how Kiwis can profit from property investment / David Whitburn.
“A bang-up-to-date book on property investment in New Zealand, with lots of practical advice from a rising star in this market. This book has been written as an authoritative text on New Zealand property investment. Its goal is to inform investors and inspire and teach would-be investors about how investing in property the right way can make for an improved life. There have been numerous changes to legislation recently, requiring the vast majority of New Zealand property investors and would-be investors to consider changing their investment strategy in response. The global financial crisis and systemic changes to the finance industry also require changes from investors. The book includes many of the author’s own experiences. It is clear and readable in its technical aspects. Chapters include: Why should I invest in property? What do I need to know to get started? Should I buy commercial or residential property? What investment strategy is best for me? How can I really check out a property? How do I structure my property ownership? How can I save money on my mortgage? What do I need to know about accounting and taxation? How do I get and keep good tenants? How can I minimise risks… and much more.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe New Zealand guide on how to subdivide a 1/4 acre property : my experience of residential subdivision in New Zealand / by Toa Greening.
“This book is the complete guide on ¼ acre residential property subdivisions in New Zealand. A 90 page compilation of budgeting calculations, estimations, graphs, site diagrams, pictures and case studies are used throughout to illustrate the various aspects of property development and subdivision. “The aim is to share my experiences of subdividing a quarter acre section so that you too can realise the potential of property subdivision. I will show you how the initial deposit of $30,000 turned into $400,000 in less than five years through property subdivision. More importantly I will teach you how to successfully subdivide property yourself.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHomes people can afford : how to improve housing in New Zealand / edited by Sarah Bierre, Philippa Howden-Chapman & Lisa Early.
“This book investigates New Zealand’s shortage of affordable and social housing. Contributors from a variety of disciplines and policy perspectives argue that when affordable and social housing is under-provided by the market, more active policies and investment are required from central and local government. They offer viable and exciting options which, in combination, could house New Zealanders in homes they can afford. The book explores new models of urban living that encourage a sense of community and a good quality of life, and shows that intelligent housing policy can help make communities healthier, happier, more stable and more resilient to climate change. In Aotearoa New Zealand we need once more to see quality, healthy, safe housing, whether it is rented in the public or private sector, or owner-occupied, as a human right.” (Publisher’s information)

Refresh your home and garden this summer: Recent Picks For February

This year’s new books features great innovative ideas for decorating and refreshing the home and garden. Have a browse.

Syndetics book coverBathroom ideas you can use : secrets & solutions for freshening up the hardest-working room in your house / Chris Peterson.
“A design and inspiration book that is packed full with gorgeous photos of beautiful bathrooms and highly desired bathroom fixtures. It contains useful information and intelligent discussion, and features hundreds of beautiful photos of rooms, materials and fixtures. All of the most common fixtures include: multi-head shower stalls, tubs and spas, vanities, lavatory sinks, toilets and bidets, vent fans and even saunas and infrared steam baths. Accessories can transform a plain bath into a luxury salon, including: towel warmers, anti-fog mirrors, cabinetry and cabinet organizers, paper holders and towel rods, shower doors, and home electronics. Whatever your plans may be, from a simple refreshing to a complete makeover, your next bathroom remodeling project starts here.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCreative vegetable gardening
“British garden writer Larkcom suggests ways to enliven vegetable gardens by adding flowers, arches, arbors or free-standing decorative items. Beginning with a brief overview of the potager, the centuries-old concept of vegetable gardening in France, she moves from vast elegantly designed gardens to the practical, with photos of British gardens she knows. Elements of design and siting are explained and beautifully illustrated in sufficient detail for even novice gardeners who want to embellish their vegetable patches with colorful unexpected elements. Taking on all details, from myriad variations on fencing, edging and garden paths to the multiple color and texture diversity of various lettuces, spinaches and other greens, Larkcom also offers a comprehensive alphabetical directory of vegetables (including little-known varieties).” (adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverGardens are for living: design inspiration for outdoor spaces
“Here, Kameon shares insights for making dynamic outdoor spaces that are both beautiful and usable. Inspired by the midcentury-modern ethos that introduced the idea of everyday outdoor living, she shares strategies for making complete environments-what to look for when choosing the paths, walls, and plants but also the lighting, furniture, and accessories. The goal is to create a linked series of warm settings for different purposes to suit different occasions-whether it is a patio for cocktails around the fire pit, a large table for dinner parties, or a cozy hangout nook for curling up with a book. She also shows how to use elements like mats, pillows, lanterns, and benches to carve out individual retreats. It is an inspiring lifestyle with deep roots in California, but one that can be created anywhere.” (Abridged from Syndetic summary)

Syndetics book coverHomes from home : inventive small spaces, from chic shacks to cabins and caravans / Vinny Lee.
“Lee (Recycled Spaces) opens with a reminder that “there is something special about a small, intimate living space, a place where you can let your imagination roam and where responsibilities are few and far between.” The simplicity of these homes may only be skin deep-to convert an old grain store into a residence, the builders used the same tinfoil insulation used in space shuttle construction. The book explores “huts” made from metal, stone, and clay and highlights the appeal of wood structures, including treehouses with long winding staircase up into the branches. Some of the spaces are pure fantasy-a Swiss mountain chalet built by local craftsmen pegging the wood beams rather than nailing, or a South African rondavel with a thatch roof that needs regular patching and replacement. Others seem achievable by anyone: a pop-up trailer “drawn, cut, pasted and sewn by hand.” The author promotes a philosophy of enjoying the natural surroundings: use rainwater to wash hair, harvest herbs to make fresh teas, and decorate with old and recycled furniture and accessories.” (Adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverConverted houses : New Zealand architecture recycled / photography, Daniel Allen ; text, Lucinda Diack.
“Converted Houses showcases clever examples of New Zealand’s early architecture being recycled for modern day living. Industrial and farming buildings, halls, chapels, community landmarks and even a cool store are among the clever conversions featured within this inspiring collection of innovative homes.” (Publisher’s information)

Syndetics book cover“Style your modern vintage home : a guide to buying, restoring and styling from the 1920s to the 1990s / Kate Beavis ; foreword by Paloma Faith.
Style Your Modern Vintage Home is an inspirational book for all vintage enthusiasts. It covers a decade from the 1920s to the 1990s, and provides practical tip for buying, styling and restoring your vintage homewares home. Vintage enthusiasts can restore or integrate the living room, bedroom, kitchen, study, hall and even the garden.” (adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverFarrow & Ball : decorating with colour / Ros Byam Shaw ; photography by Jan Baldwin.
“Farrow & Ball is an iconic British brand and a great British success story. Its paints and wallpapers are used to decorate stylish homes all over the world. Following on from the best-selling Farrow and Ball Living with Colour, this book features a fabulous range of homes, all of which have been specially photographed for the book.” (Syndetics summary)

December Gardening Picks

Amongst this month’s new garden book picks In the Garden was a standout. This beautifully illustrated book cleverly introduces some of our iconic native flora and fauna in a very accessible way.  In the practical gardening tips department  there is advice on how to rejig and refresh existing plant arrangements rather than starting from scratch which is also appealing.

Syndetics book coverIn the garden : explore & discover the New Zealand backyard / Ned Barraud & Gillian Candler.
In the Garden introduces young children to common creatures they can find in a New Zealand garden.  The book describes their relationship with other living things, and includes many interesting and intriguing facts. This book encourages children aged 4-8 to explore their gardens and discover the plants and animals that live there, with sections on bees, wasps and flies; butterflies and moths; snails and spiders; lizards, mammals and birds. Aimed at children from pre-schoolers and up, the book will also appeal to anyone who is curious about the wild side of New Zealand gardens.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRefresh your garden design with color, texture & form / Rebecca Sweet.
“This book is packed with advice on how to wake up boring garden beds, ways to make a cramped garden feel bigger and also ideas on how to  bring a sense of intimacy to an expansive area. If you are needing ideas on how to downplay eyesores, or need to create a certain mood this you will find suggestions on which plants to keep and which to pull, and also how to  thoughtfully integrate hardscaping, structures and accessories.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeatrix Potter’s gardening life : the plants and places that inspired the classic children’s tales / Marta McDowell.
“There aren’t many books more beloved than The Tale of Peter Rabbit and even fewer authors as iconic as Beatrix Potter.  Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is the first book to explore the origins of Beatrix Potter’s love of gardening and plants and show how this passion came to be reflected in her work. The book begins with a gardener’s biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her, including her home Hill Top Farm in England’s Lake District.  Richly illustrated and filled with quotations from her books, letters, and journals, it is essential reading for all who know and cherish Beatrix Potter’s classic tales.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhy can’t my garden look like that? : proven, easy ways to make a beautiful garden of your own / John Shortland.
“John Shortland demonstrates just how easy it is to make adjustments to what is already there to make your garden stunning, whatever its size. Whether it’s an issue with design, plant selection or pruning – or even lack of time – simple solutions are described in clear language that will appeal both to the complete novice and those with more experience.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAustralian coastal gardens / Myles Baldwin, photography by Sue Stubbs.
“The coastal gardens of Australia are as varied as the geography of this vast continent itself. Join Myles Baldwin as he travels around the country, from the gentle landscape of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and the sheer cliffs of Sydney’s Dover Heights to an old copper mining town in South Australia and beyond.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe essential Audrey Eagle : botanical art of New Zealand.
“Presents more than 150 paintings of our most loved native plants, from every major genus. The beautiful full-colour plates are accompanied by detailed notes, and a fresh introduction tells the story of Audrey Eagle and sets her place in the history of botanical illustration of New Zealand’s unique native flora” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe biodynamic orchard book / Ehrenfried Pfeiffer and Michael Maltas.
” This book brings together the best advice for cultivating fruit trees, berries and shrubs using biodynamic methods, with the aim of harvesting healthy fruit free of pesticides.This is an invaluable book with practical advice on all aspects of planning and maintaining a healthy orchard.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGrow your own plants / [Alan Titchmarsh].
“By using a variety of simple propagation techniques you can learn how to grow your own plants for free. Alan Titchmarsh shows how to sow seed, take leaf and root cuttings, divide shrubs, and how to promote growth in your young plants. He covers all the essentials and provides inspirational ideas for filling your garden with flowers, shrubs, trees and vegetables, all grown from scratch.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBackyard foraging : 65 familiar plants you didn’t know you could eat / Ellen Zachos.
“You don’t need to trek into the forest to forage edible plants. Ideal for first-time foragers, this book features 70 edible weeds, flowers, mushrooms, and ornamental plants typically found in urban or suburban neighborhoods. You’ll be amazed by how many of the plants you see each day are actually nutritious edibles. Full-color photographs make identification easy, and tips on where certain plants are likely to be found, how to avoid pollution and pesticides, and how to recognize the plants you should NEVER harvest make foraging as safe and simple as stepping into your own backyard.” (Syndetics summary)

Recent Garden Picks

These new gardening books cover a variety of subjects from the inspiring and unattainable, to everyday practical advice – there’s even a book full of projects that children can get excited about!

Syndetics book coverThe new English garden / Tim Richardson ; photographs by Andrew Lawson ; with Jane Sabire and Rachel Warne. 
“Tim Richardson has selected twenty-five gardens which have gone through an intense phase of creativity and innovation during the past 10 to 15 years. The gardens chosen (most of which are open to the public), cover the wide range of styles flourishing in English garden design today and range from the Prince of Wales’s garden at Highgrove, Arabella Lennox-Boyd’s own garden and ‘laboratory for design ideas’ at Gresgarth and Dan Pearson’s Gardener’s Cottage to Christopher Bradley-Hole’s Modernist garden at Crockmore House, and Alasdair Ford’s truly original garden of sculptures and poetic inferences at Plaz Metaxu.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 
Syndetics book coverEdible garden design / Jamie Durie.
“Practical and inspiring, Jamie Durie’s Edible Garden Design is a book for our times. Here Jamie shows you how to create productive edible gardens that look great. He gives you the lowdown on the design function of each plant, and reveals how to incorporate edibles into even the smallest of outdoor spaces without sacrificing style. Be inspired by real-life case studies in Australia and the US, from Jamie’s mum’s beloved vegie patch and kids’ community plots in Chicago to Matt Moran’s classic kitchen garden in Sydney and New York’s buzzing green produce markets.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRHS garden projects : loads of fun things to make and do in the garden / [senior editors, Deborah Lock, Penny Smith and Carrie Love ; photographer, Will Heap.
“RHS Garden Projects is full of different projects for children to get excited about. From making their own garden buddy to baking a blueberry cheesecake; from lemonade lollies to Wild-West cacti. Each project and recipe is easy to make and has clear steps to follow. Beautiful photographs inspire children to make their own projects whilst bringing the garden to life – further proof that there’s so much fun to be had in their own back yard.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

 Syndetics book coverYates garden guide.
“Practical advice on all aspects of gardening: designing and planning your garden, preparing and maintaining your garden, organic gardening, water-saving gardens, gardening for kids, low-allergen gardens, pests, diseases and weeds, hundreds of handy hints from New Zealand’s leading gardeners, container gardening for courtyards.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUrban gardening for dummies / by Paul Simon, Charlie Nardozzi, and the editors of the National Gardening Association.
“This book helps you make the most of what you have in order to create an urban garden. Proven small-space gardening techniques will allow urban gardeners to maximize the use of their space, and get creative with gardens on building rooftops and balconies.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTeeny tiny gardening : 35 step-by-step projects and inspirational ideas for gardening in tiny spaces / Emma Hardy.
“35 fun and inspiring step-by-step projects for the small-scale gardener, from edible crops in pots and a child’s fairy garden to an elegant fern terrarium and brightly colored woven baskets.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGardening with free-range chickens for dummies / by Bonnie Jo Manion and Rob Ludlow.
“Home gardens can be great chicken habitats if designed well, and Gardening with Free-Range Chickens For Dummies provides a plain-English guide with step-by-step guidance for creating a gorgeous chicken-friendly landscape that helps the chickens and the garden thrive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSmall garden handbook : making the most of your outdoor space / Andrew Wilson ; special photography, Steven Wooster.
“Expert garden designer Andrew Wilson guides you through the process of planning, planting and maintaining a small garden that will make you happy every time you step outside.” (Syndetics summary)

I love reading with my Mum and Dad – Books for families

It’s family reading time! Share your hobbies and favourite books, and enjoy the laughter and joy they create.

For engine and speed lovers:
Syndetics book coverSupercars / [written by Mark Hillsdon].
“Your heart is pumping faster to the revs and roars of the engines. Yes, the love of cars is in the big and small boys’ gene.” (Staff review)

Syndetics book coverTop Gear : the cool 500 : the coolest cars ever made / Matt Master.
“Ever since Karl Benz first powered up his Patent-Motorwagen in 1885, man has salivated and swooned over automobiles. And none more so than the motoring fanatics at Top Gear Magazine, who have test-driven, critiqued and worshipped some of the finest cars in motoring history.” (Library catalogue)

For the creative science fantasists:
Syndetics book coverEnder’s game / Orson Scott Card.
“Six-year-old Ender Wiggins, a star pupil in Battle School, suddenly finds himself in a real war when he’s chosen to lead Earth’s people to victory in an interstellar battle against insectoid aliens.” (Adapted from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverAirborn / Kenneth Oppel.Airborn
“A swashbuckling new fantasy by the bestselling author of the Silverwing trilogy. In the early 20th century, a young orphan serves as a cabin boy aboard an airship and is witness to life-and-death battles in the sea and above land.” (Syndetics summary)

For those with unstoppable feet and adventurous minds:
Syndetics book coverThe world is waiting for you / Barbara Kerley.
“”What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question kids get asked over and over. But very few connections are made for kids between the present and the future. This book shows kids a pathway from their current interests and talents to a future career or interest. And in so doing, it also encourages adventure, exploration, and discovery, three core principles of National Geographic’s mission. It’s a celebration of possibility–so simple and so profound.” (Library catalogue)

Syndetics book cover125 years : the moments, the people, the discoveries that changed the world.
“A collection of memorable National Geographic programs to celebrate 125 years of the society.” (Syndetics summary)

For the colour and flavour cultivators:
Syndetics book coverPasta sauce! : grow your own ingredients / Cassie Liversidge.
“K-Gr 4-Kids interested in digging into this project will need to bring an engaged grown-up along for the ride, but it shouldn’t be hard to find one. Adorable, friendly vegetables take readers on a chapter-by-chapter guide through each ingredient in the garden: tomatoes, onions, basil, peppers, and garlic. Supplies for growing each one are laid out, and step-by-step instructions follow, with a few hilarious veggie jokes interspersed throughout. The introduction provides a “rough guide” for when to sow and harvest, but makes the wise recommendation to check the local weather. Some terms are defined while others, like “worm tea” and “wormery” are not. The pasta-sauce recipe is a little vague at times, using “about ten big handfuls” and “a bunch” as measurements. Each step is illustrated with photos and includes instructions for kids to cut onions and garlic, but recommend asking an adult to help cut the pepper. In spite of a few inconsistencies, this is a fun concept in an attractive package that could get kids growing and cooking their own food.” (Adapted from School Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverGrow your own plants / [Alan Titchmarsh].
“Using a variety of simple propagation techniques, learn how to grow your own plants for free. Alan Titchmarsh shows how to sow seed, take leaf and root cuttings, divide shrubs, and how to promote growth in your young plants. He covers all the essentials and provides inspirational ideas for filling your garden with flowers, shrubs, trees and vegetables, all grown from scratch.” (Syndetics summary)

Got the Green at My Home

Sustainable living and permaculture gardening may sound a bit like an abstract concept to you – how about an energy saving home, zero-cost furniture, fruitful gardens and delicious salads and meats? Green living starts here!

Syndetics book coverTeaming with nutrients : the organic gardener’s guide to optimizing plant nutrition / Jeff Lowenfels.
“Colorful illustrations, plentiful and readable diagrams, and a well-executed chapter structure make this an indispensable resource for the serious organic farmer who did not major in organic chemistry. Lowenfels (Teaming with Microbes) has packed as much helpful information into this volume about how plants absorb nutrients as there are nutrients in a single plant cell-that is, lots. The book is weighty on the scientific level, but accessible. Each chapter builds on the previous one and concludes with a summary bullet-point section called “Summing Up.” (Some readers may benefit from reading the summary bullet points first.) Not all of the technical information presented here will be suited to every organic farmer, but every farmer will benefit from some element in the book-if nothing else, from Grandpa Al’s Can’t Fail Recipe for organic fertilizer. For organic farmers who take the book seriously, it will forever change the way they look at the “back forty.”” (Adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverWood pallet projects : cool and easy-to-make projects for the home and garden / Chris Gleason.
“Lumber prices are soaring, and deforestation is a rising concern. Yet millions of pounds of perfectly usable wood are dumped in landfills every year. Wood Pallet Projects shows how anyone can upcycle salvaged pallet wood to create truly one-of-a-kind projects. Maverick craftsman Chris Gleason combines sound woodworking techniques with a hip designer’s sensibility to unleash the limitless possibilities of the common skid. Inside you’ll find 15 of his inspired projects for rescuing and repurposing pallets. Some of his pieces celebrate the rough, edgy character of the material, while others are crafted as fine furniture. He shows how to construct both indoor and outdoor furniture in a variety of styles, along with other useful items such as a birdhouse, a toolbox, and even a ukulele. There’s plenty of nitty gritty here on working with pallets, including where to find them, how to process them into usable lumber, fasteners, sanding, and the best finishes (if any) to use. The author provides important advice on how to make sure that your pallets are safe, and not sprayed with harmful chemicals. A colorful gallery of finished work provides further inspiration for green crafting.” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverParadise lot : two plant geeks, one-tenth of an acre and the making of an edible garden oasis in the city / Eric Toensmeier ; with contributions from Jonathan Bates.
“With their shared passion for plants and a commitment to creating as self-sustaining a garden as possible on a minuscule lot in a small New England city cursed with a terrible climate and even worse soil, Toensmeier and Bates set about converting their urban backyard into a permaculture paradise. Informed by his work on a seminal, two-volume encyclopedia devoted to the concept of forest gardening, Toensmeier transformed the infertile and debris-laden property behind the duplex he shared with Bates into a natural ecosystem teeming with edible plants. As the authors’ postage-stamp-size front yard morphed into a lush, tropical showcase that astounded their Massachusetts community, the backyard incorporated all the components necessary to produce fresh fruits and vegetables year-round using cold-hardy, mostly native plants that would ideally require a minimum amount of work for a maximum output. As a memoir of a purposeful life, Toensmeier’s work is engaging, honest, and natural. As a directive to other gardeners eager to establish natural ecosystems in unlikely settings, his work is instructive, illuminating, and inspirational.” (Adapted from Booklist)

Syndetics book coverFundamentals of sustainable dwellings / Avi Friedman.
“Architect Friedman (McGill Univ., Canada) covers the principles of residential green buildings, addressing topics ranging from site location to building materials, heating and cooling systems, water efficiency, green roofs, and waste management. The author writes in a reader-friendly manner in layperson’s terms, includes many photographs and illustrations, and provides the basic principles that most architects and builders should know and hopefully follow. Everyone would live in a much more sustainable world if the fundamentals presented in this book were practiced on a wide scale. Each of the 13 chapters is punctuated with case studies relative to that particular topic. Unfortunately, the majority of the buildings chosen for case studies are box-shaped buildings devoid of much aesthetic value. This reviewer agrees that these buildings are likely more energy efficient, but there is still room for aesthetic design in sustainable construction. Summing Up: Recommended.” (Adapted from CHOICE)

Syndetics book coverThe Chefs Collaborative cookbook : local, sustainable, delicious recipes from America’s great chefs / Chefs Collaborative & Ellen Jackson ; photography by Gentl & Hyers.
“In the first cookbook from the Chefs Collaborative, food and sustainability take center stage. Pairing taste and ingredients with conscientiousness for the environment (in both a global and local sense), this book offers insight into scrumptious cooking with a conscience. Written with the premise that “food grown near to us is… fresher [and] offers… the opportunity to explore and eat from the regional edible plants available to us,” the cookbook focuses on local, seasonal ingredients. Divided into four main sections, every ingredient has its day in the sun. The recipes range from the simple but tasty (such as grilled eggplant with roasted red pepper and black olive salad and buttermilk fried chicken) to more complex dishes, like traditional coq au vin and grilled skin-on striped bass with summer tomatoes and horta. With contributions from multiple well-known and respected chefs, including Peter Hoffman and Jesse Cool, and informative sections on how to make the reader’s food “better for the environment” and “fresh from the freezer,” this book will cause even the seasoned chef look at his or her surroundings in a whole new light and with a new appetite.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverSimply this : printed and dyed handmade projects / Fiona Fagan.
“Simply, this is a craft book that celebrates natural tones, organic textures and found objects. Fiona Fagan shows you how to print your own beautifully patterned fabric using stencils that can easily be found around the home. The book also includes over 30 projects you can then use to create a unique gift or something special for yourself, for any area of your home – the bedroom, the kitchen or the living room. Fiona Fagan also shows you how to recycle – using found or treasured materials to embellish and add to your designs, making each project different. Spend a morning or a weekend and create a new look to your dining room, bedroom, kitchen or bathroom. Add a designer touch to your personal objects as well. Linen and cotton are ideal for these projects and with some simple recycle all the projects are not expensive to make. The fabric-dyeing processes are cheap, safe and easy to do in any home kitchen with no messy chemicals or complicated processes. Fiona also shows you how to create that amazing Japanese printing technique – Shibori. The book includes step-by-step photography on all the projects to guide you through each stage of the project with ease.” (Library catalogue)

Syndetics book cover100 contemporary green buildings = 100 zeitgenössiche grüne bauten = 100 bâtiments verts contemporains / Philip Jodidio. “Eco-friendly building in the world today
The most exciting new buildings in the world are now almost all environmentally aware, sustainable, and conceived to consume far less energy than ever before. That architecture is one of the major sources of greenhouse gases in the world makes this new trend all the more significant. This book brings the best examples of green projects from the Architecture Now! series together with numerous new, never-seen-before projects. Well-known architects like Frank Gehry and Norman Foster are present right alongside young, up-and-coming creators from Latin America, the United States, Europe, and Asia. This is not a technical book, nor are its contents limited to any predefined category. Being “green” means being aware of the responsibility implied in the construction and use of modern buildings, and there are many ways to express this rising consciousness. Some solutions, the ones generally called “passive,” are as old as the history of architecture, while others are born of cutting-edge technologies. Both approaches and many more are included in this groundbreaking collection of 100 of the world’s most innovative and recent eco-friendly buildings.” (Library catalogue)

Recent Garden Picks

Here are some beautiful, shiny new additions to our gardening section.  There are a couple of standouts for me, notably Garden Rescue and Paradise Lot. I like the first because it is so practical and Paradise Lot because it shows that getting a permaculture setup and running can be quite simple and extremely rewarding – not to mention a positive way for people to feel more connected.

Syndetics book coverCreating your garden farm : how to grow fruit and vegetables and raise chickens and bees / Nicki Trench.
“If you dream of growing, harvesting and eating your own produce, here’s how to begin. Author Nicki Trench, who has created her own garden farm from scratch, shares with you everything there is to know about growing vegetables, fruit and herbs, including making your own compost, growing in raised beds and protecting your crops from pests and disease.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGarden plants & flowers in Australia / Ian Spence ; Australian consultants, Jennifer Wilkinson and Kevin Walsh.
“This is a comprehensive guide book and the one book gardeners will need as their easy reference to all of Australia’s garden plants and flowers. In this paperback edition, create a garden that looks wonderful all year round with this photographic guide, packed with all the information you need to help you choose the best plants for every season.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe beautiful edible garden : design a stylish outdoor space using vegetables, fruits, and herbs / Leslie Bennett and Stefani Bittner ; photography by David Fenton and Jill Rizzo ; floral arrangements by Studio Choo.
“A stylish, beautifully photographed guide to artfully incorporating organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs into an attractive modern garden design. Leslie Bennett and Stefani Bittner are co-founders of Star Apple Edible + Fine Gardening, a San Francisco Bay Area landscape design firm focusing on aesthetic edible gardening. At Star Apple, they bring together ecologically sound landscape design principles and small-scale urban agriculture, working with both ornamental and edible plants to create integrated landscapes. A stylish, beautifully photographed guide to artfully incorporating organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs into an attractive modern garden design.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSmall garden handbook : making the most of your outdoor space / Andrew Wilson ; special photography, Steven Wooster.
“Expert garden designer Andrew Wilson guides you through the process of planning, planting and maintaining a small garden that will make you happy every time you step outside.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRHS garden projects : loads of fun things to make and do in the garden / [senior editors, Deborah Lock, Penny Smith and Carrie Love ; photographer, Will Heap].
“RHS Garden Projects is full of different projects for children to get excited about. From making their own garden buddy to baking a blueberry cheesecake; from lemonade lollies to Wild-West cacti, RHS Garden Projects is chock full of inspiring ideas.Beautiful photographs inspire children to make their own projects whilst bringing the garden to life – further proof that there’s so much fun to be had in their own back yard.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGarden rescue : first aid for plants and flowers / Jo Whittingham “Rescue remedies for your garden – if you need to know how to prevent everyday troubles from turning into gardening disasters, Garden Rescue will save the day. This “first aid manual” for your garden will help you identify, understand, and tackle a wide range of common problems, from poor fruit harvests and unruly trees and shrubs to preventing pests and diseases.Using anatomy guides, symptom flow charts, and plant clinics, you’ll solve any problem facing your fruit and veg patch or flower garden. You’ll learn what’s normal and what’s not, how to spot early warning signs of distress, and preventative measures to keep your plants healthy.Whether your wisteria is wilting or your fatsia isn’t flowering, Garden Rescue has hundreds of practical solutions so you can be your own garden medic.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe artist, the cook, and the gardener : recipes inspired by painting from the garden / Maryjo Koch ; photographs by Wendy Candelaria ; additional paintings by Jonathan Koch
“Great artists and great cooks have long been inspired by gardens and the many sensory gifts they provide. This connection between art, cooking, and the garden is celebrated in this cookbook by artist Maryjo Koch. The painter provides insight into her inspiration for her paintings of flowers, plants, and nature that comes from her studio garden. Her studio garden also provides the culinary toolbox for the delectable and visually beautiful feasts that she prepares for her family and friends.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book cover10 garden design principles / Susie White.
“A lovely garden can please the eye in the same way as a beautiful painting can, but the advantage of a garden is that it can also involve all the other senses. But what separates out an aesthetically pleasing garden from a simple field of plants and flowers?
In this book, the author sets out the ten principles for designing a garden. Whether you have a tiny plot of land or more than an acre, the areas outlined here give direction and provide inspiration to anyone creating a garden from scratch or redesigning an existing patch. Covering all aspects of garden design from planning its configuration, to the mixtures of heights and colours that will work together, to choosing the types of plants which allow the garden to transcend the seasons, experienced garden designer Susie White guides the way.”
(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverParadise lot : two plant geeks, one-tenth of an acre and the making of an edible garden oasis in the city / Eric Toensmeier ; with contributions from Jonathan Bates.
“When Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates moved into a duplex in a run-down part of Holyoke, Massachusetts, the tenth-of-an-acre lot was barren ground and bad soil, peppered with broken pieces of concrete, asphalt, and brick. The two friends got to work designing what would become not just another urban farm, but a “permaculture paradise” replete with perennial broccoli, paw paws, bananas, and moringa—all told, more than two hundred low-maintenance edible plants in an innovative food forest on a small city lot. In telling the story ofParadise Lot, Toensmeier explains the principles and practices of permaculture, the choice of exotic and unusual food plants, the techniques of design and cultivation, and, of course, the adventures, mistakes, and do-overs in the process. Packed full of detailed, useful information about designing a highly productive permaculture garden,Paradise Lotis also a funny and charming story of two single guys, both plant nerds, with a wild plan: to realize the garden of their dreams and meet women to share it with. Amazingly, on both counts, they succeed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Seeds to Sow and Green to Grow – Home, Garden and DIY for the Spring

Syndetics book coverHow to grow microgreens : quick, easy ways to grow & eat nature’s tasty superfoods / Fionna Hill.
“How to Grow Microgreens – the tiny seedlings of herbs and vegetables – are today’s hottest gourmet garnish, offering a multitude of colours, textures and distinct flavours, ranging from mild and subtle to spicy, hot or nutty. Larger than sprouts and smaller than ‘baby’ salad greens, microgreens are fantastic for those with limited garden space, as they are great to grow in containers on a terrace or windowsill. Immediate and practical, most varieties are ready in a week or so, and you can grow them in winter. As a bonus, as well as tasting great, nutritionally microgreens pack a powerful punch; they contain higher levels of active plant compounds than mature plants or seeds.
How to Grow Microgreens provides detailed information – from planting to harvesting – for 25 popular vegetables and herbs, along with recipes and ideas on how to use them. There are also chapters on troubleshooting, the nutritional value of microgreens and how to encourage children to grow and enjoy them.” (Library catalogue)

Syndetics book coverGroundbreaking food gardens: 73 plans that will change the way you grow your garden
“Niki Jabbour has collected 73 groundbreaking food garden plans from some of her favourite gardener superstars, including Amy Stewart, Amanda Thomsen, Barbara Pleasant, Jeff Lowenfels, Dave Dewitt, and Jessi Bloom. Each plan is illustrated and includes a profile of the contributor, the inspiration behind the design, and a plant list so readers can easily grow these themed gardens themselves.” (Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverKeep out! : build your own backyard clubhouse / Lee Mothes.
“Teacher and carpenter Mothes’s first book is filled with nostalgic charm. A gallery of possible clubhouses is introduced, all variations on a simple plan. An introduction to basic hand tools is obviously aimed at youth-the drawn illustrations are just right-with instructions added for adults. The projects are cleanly broken down and quite manageable, with lots of tips for both kids and adults. The last section of the book focuses on outbuildings for adults, but instructions here are abbreviated. Verdict? Any interested kid or adult can build a clubhouse with this book in hand. Fantastic advice and encouragement make each project approachable. For more sophisticated design, adults might be more inspired by Chris Gleason’s The Versatile Shed. A great addition to any building collection-highly recommended.” (Adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverTake Chelsea home : practical inspiration from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show / Chris Young ; foreword by Alan Titchmarsh.
“Celebrating 100 years of the Chelsea Flower Show with a beautiful centenary edition, Take Chelsea Home identifies the best in garden design and landscaping. This inspirational sourcebook presents the most attractive, practical, portable and recent designs and illustrates how these ideas might work in any garden. Chris Young, editor of RHS magazine, focuses on the fines details and finishing touches that help to transform our gardens and outdoor spaces.
Chris Young presents the RHS Chelsea Flower Show’s key design trends including Contemporary, Classic, Wildlife and the Kitchen Garden. He interviews gold-medal winning designers about their individual garden design style and provides context to their creations. Take Chelsea Home provides both the inspiration and the practical information to create beautifully designed and landscaped gardens at home.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverSmall space organics : creating sustainable, edible gardens / Josh Byrne ; foreword by Peter Cundall.
“This book follows the development of a small urban garden in Fremantle, Western Australia. Illustrated with technical diagrams, sketches and before-and-after photos, Small Space Organics charts a process for creating innovative, sustainable and stylish ways to incorporate organic food production into urban residential landscapes. It includes the latest research and techniques for permaculture, water conservation and propagation, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to create your own urban organic food garden.” (Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverGood companions : the mix & match guide to companion planting / Josie Jeffrey.
“The mix & match guide to companion planting Why sow seeds that arent happy sharing a bed when you can plan a harmonious garden instead? With its ingenious split-page, mix and match system, Good Companions offers an immediate guide to the friends and foes of the gardening world, ensuring you have all the tools you need to grow your most successful crop yet! How does companion planting work? Well, take just one well-known example squash, sweetcorn and beans. Together these three make a happy family: squash will shelter the beans roots, which in their turn will add beneficial nitrogen to the trios soil, while the strong-growing sweetcorn will support the beans as they grow. And there are dozens of other groups that are equally good for one another just flip the pages and match up the easy colour coding to plant up the happiest plot you can imagine.” (Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverGrow harvest cook : 280 recipes from the ground up / Meredith Kirton, Mandy Sinclair ; photographs by Sue Stubbs ; design by Susan Cadzow.
“Whether you have a small urban garden or are looking to establish a substantial kitchen garden for your home, Grow Harvest Cook is your indispensable companion, filled to the brim with all you need to know to grow, harvest and cook your own produce. It comes complete with practical gardening tips, the know how for successful harvesting, and simple, seasonal recipes for putting your home grown produce to delicious use. This gorgeous 400-page book takes the reader through over 80 types of produce – from apples to courgettes – providing simple information about growing conditions and harvesting tips, then moving on to recipes and ideas for using up your produce, including preserving, drying and freezing. Based on the blog of the same name, the authors and photographer of Grow Harvest Cook have reinvented the meaning of homemade and created a work that truly celebrates good, home grown food.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTerrariums reimagined : mini worlds made in creative containers / Kat Geiger.
“Add style, nature, and a touch of whimsy to your home with one-of-a-kind terrariums. Learn to design mini gardens in glass, stylish showpieces in unique containers, whether you are a novice or an expert.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to grow beautiful roses:a practical guide to growing, caring for and maintaining roses, shown in over 275 glorious photographs
“With its myriad hues, scents and shapes, the rose is the perfect companion to many plants in the garden, and will continue to give pleasure for many years. This book is a comprehensive guide to growing, maintaining and designing with the world¿s most enduring flower. It begins with a fascinating history of the rose, then provides instructions for planting and caring for roses in borders, as climbers, ramblers and standards, as well as how to grow ground-cover, miniature and container roses. A stunning gallery provides a selection of the most popular varieties available. For anyone who loves roses, this book is a treasure trove of information, advice and design ideas.” (Libary catalogue)

Syndetics book coverRx from the garden [electronic resource] : 101 food cures you can easily grow / Kathleen Barnes.
“Your backyard becomes an all-natural pharmacy! Colds. Headaches. Upset stomach, Allergy symptoms. Depression. Circulation problems. his timely book goes beyond using herbs as medicine; it also focuses on beneficial foods for more than 100 common ailments and shows you how to grow them. In that way, RX from the Garden lets you circumvent expensive meds with questionable side effects by explaining what foods to eat to help you feel better. In addition to aligning health problems with natural cures, this valuable resource provides step-by-step instruction on how to easily cultivate the corresponding vegetables and herbs in your lawn, garden, or flowerbed. According to Hippocrates, “Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food.” Now you can reap health benefits for your very own backyard bounty.” (Library catalogue)

Those running little feet and me – Home and garden for family and kids.

Syndetics book coverI [love] my room : children’s rooms you and your children will love / made by Megan Morton, Jason Busch and Penny Shek.
“Kids’ bedrooms can be a series of challenges and charms from precious first drawings to piles of toys and dirty washing. I Love My Room showcases the charms and presents solutions for the challenges. Rather than a collection of immaculate children’s rooms created by interior designers, the pages are filled with spaces which celebrate the young occupants themselves. From whimsical nurseries to expressive teen rooms, you will find clever storage methods and inspiring ideas on how to decorate in a way that is true to your something-year-old’s personality.” (annotation courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSmall garden handbook : making the most of your outdoor space / Andrew Wilson ; special photography, Steven Wooster.
“Expert garden designer Andrew Wilson guides you through the process of planning, planting and maintaining a small garden that will make you happy every time you step outside.” (Library catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe kitchen garden cookbook / Jeanne Kelley ; photographs Ray Kachatorian. “There are few things more rewarding than sitting down to enjoy a delicious meal made with items harvested right outside your back yard. This gorgeous kitchen gardening cookbook is filled with simple and inspiring recipes as well as practical, useful information for anyone interested in growing the foods they love to eat.” (Adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverGrowing up modern : 16 quilt projects for babies & kids / Allison Harris. “Allison Harris shows how beginner and expert sewists alike can make a child’s quilt that will be cherished for years to come. Growing Up Modern —16 Quilt Projects for Babies & Kids provides inspiration and guidance in 16 versatile keepsake projects. 7 of the patterns adapt to make crib- and twin-sized quilts. There’s a comprehensive overview on quiltmaking basics, step-by-step instructions, and vibrant photographs to help you from start to finish. For those who believe that quilting is impossible when you have kids, the author (and mother of 3) includes helpful hints on finding the time and keeping it fun.” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverBig ideas for small gardens: clever ways to enhance New Zealand outdoor spaces. “Big or small, a garden is an expression of your interests, personality and lifestyle. The smaller the garden, the easier it should be to convey this message. The aim of this book is to help small garden owners turn their outdoor spaces into beautiful, well-designed places that complement their lifestyle and reflect their own creative vision. Small gardens are no longer just about plants. Today they are places for dining, entertaining, bathing, exercising, playing games, even working. So whether you’re a dedicated plantaholic, a laid-back leisure lover or a more private and contemplative soul, your garden has to be a place where you feel comfortable and relaxed. Big Ideas for Small Gardens shows you how.” (Fishpond.co.nz)

Syndetics book coverThe intelligent gardener : growing nutrient-dense food / Steve Solomon ; with Erica Reinheimer. “Because of intensive agriculture and the use of fertilizers, the food we consume today may have less than half of the vitamins and minerals than centuries ago. The Intelligent Gardener demystifies the process of re-mineralization while simultaneously debunking much of the false and misleading information perpetuated by both the conventional and organic agricultural movements. This practical step-by-step guide and the accompanying customizable web-based spreadsheets go beyond organic and are essential tools for any serious gardener who cares about the quality of the produce they grow.” (Adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverBring the outdoors in : garden projects for decorating and styling your home / Shane Powers with Jennifer Cegielski ; photographs by Gentl & Hyers.
“Probably everyone knows someone who’s a natural arranger. The question is whether that flair can be taught – “you can achieve a great look even if you aren’t a green thumb!” the book promises – by slavishly following instructions, even those in a profusely illustrated book. Powers, a stylist and former editor at Martha Stewart Living, clearly has a flair for arranging stunning combinations of containers and live, dried, or pressed plants. Undoubtedly, her ideas are inspirational, perhaps especially so to those who are already talented with lichens and moss. Among the 22 beautiful combinations are a colorful floral garland, a sophisticated braided willow wreath, and a revival of flower pockets, small holders made of fabric and designed to hang from doorknobs. Detailed care needs, which are demanding in some cases while low- to no-maintenance in others, complete the descriptions. An appendix lists sources. If you already have a vision, you’re good. If you aren’t an artiste, not so much.” (Adapted from Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverSlow flowers : four seasons of locally grown bouquets from the garden, meadow and farm / Debra Prinzing. “We’d all prefer fresh, fragrant flowers in our bouquets, but what to do in those seasons when not much is growing locally? Acclaimed garden writer Debra Prinzing challenged herself to create a beautiful, locally-grown bouquet for each of 52 weeks of one year (going beyond flowers to include ornamental twigs, foliage, greenhouse plants, dried pods, and more), to demonstrate that all four seasons have their own botanical character to be celebrated. She provides extensive design tips, bouquet “recipes” and region-by-region floral ingredient lists that can be found in all climate zones through the year. Slow Flowers is written from a DIY floral designer’s point of view, to inspire anyone to go green and make a beautiful bouquet with what’s at hand, no matter the season.” (Adapted from Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverChildren’s spaces : from zero to ten / Judith Wilson ; photography by Debi Treloar.
“A brilliant book for design-conscious parents and kids alike! Children’s Spaces helps you to plan all the practical aspects of children’s rooms and provides plenty of affordable ideas and inspiration when it comes to their design and decoration. Judith Wilson looks at rooms for children between birth and ten years old, with chapters on babies’ rooms, rooms for girls, rooms for boys, and shared bedrooms. There are also chapters on sensible storage and areas that children and adults share – bathrooms, play areas, eating areas and outside space. Children’s Spaces contains a wealth of inspiration drawn from the homes of real families, with real kids, which amply proves that children and great design can happily co-exist without compromising on style.”  (Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverPlant breeding for the home gardener : how to create unique vegetables & flowers / Joseph Tychonievich.
“Creating new plant varieties sounds like an activity that should be carried out by botanists in sterile labs, but Tychonievich (nursery manager, Arrowhead Alpines) skillfully explains how anyone can develop new plants in a backyard garden. The book covers the history of plant breeding, plant genetics, breeding goals, evaluating and selecting plants, how to make a cross (i.e., cross breed or hybridize plants), and advanced plant-breeding techniques. The final chapter includes directions for breeding particular flowers and vegetables. Despite the specialized topic, the author has written an accessible, easy-to-read book, one that novice gardeners will be able to use to create tastier tomatoes or more fragrant carnations. Concepts, ideas, and steps are clearly described, and line illustrations are included where useful. Tychonievich also includes recommended readings, useful websites, and a list of plant sources. Verdict: New and seasoned gardeners will appreciate this nicely presented book. It could even spur caregivers or teachers to get kids into the garden, growing their very own varieties of vegetables..” (Adapted from Library Journal)

Gardening Recent Picks

Once again we have a selection of gardening books that cover a spectrum of topics. From personal cultivation odyssys, histories of landmark horticultural events, plant breeding, foraging, and practical advice on how to get your garden thriving. There could be something in this selection to interest anyone who loves plants.

Syndetics book coverGardening in a changing climate : inspirational and practical ideas for creating sustainable, waterwise and dry gardens with projects, garden plans and more than 400 photographs / Ambra Edwards ; with special photography by Lynn Keddie.The approach of this new book is the garden styles of nine regions which have always dealt superbly with heat, drought, and water shortage: the Italian Garden, the Islamic Garden, the Patio Garden, the Mediterranean Garden, the Gravel Garden, the Desert Garden, the Bush Garden, the Flowering Desert and the Jungle Garden. This is a critical read for any gardener, offering a practical and inspirational insight into the classic gardens defined by sunshine, humidity and lack of water that will inform the gardens of tomorrow.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThis organic life : confessions of a suburban homesteader / Joan Dye Gussow.
“Joan Dye Gussow lives in a home not unlike the average home in a neighborhood that is, more or less, typically suburban. What sets her apart from the rest of us is that she thinks more deeply, and in more eloquent detail, about food.  At the heart of This Organic Life is the premise that locally grown food eaten in season makes sense economically, ecologically, and gastronomically. You won’t find an electric can opener in this woman’s house. In fact, you probably won’t find many cans, as Joan has discovered ways to nourish herself, literally and spiritually, from her own backyard. If you are looking for a tale of courage and independence in a setting that is entirely familiar, read her story.”(Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBackyard foraging : 65 familiar plants you didn’t know you could eat / Ellen Zachos. “Ideal for first-time foragers, this book features 70 edible weeds, flowers, mushrooms, and ornamental plants typically found in urban or suburban neighborhoods.  Full-colour photographs make identification easy, and tips on where certain plants are likely to be found, how to avoid pollution and pesticides, and how to recognize the plants you should never harvest make foraging as safe and simple as stepping into your own backyard.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverPlant breeding for the home gardener : how to create unique vegetables & flowers / Joseph Tychonievich.
“Gardeners have been  creating unique vegetables for centuries, simply by saving seed of the varieties that tasted or performed best. By following the advice in Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener you’ll learn how to set achievable goals in your breeding program; the ins and outs of genetics (in non-technical language!); how to pick the best parent plants; how to cross-pollinate; the best techniques to use for popular vegetables and flowers; and how to harvest and store seed. In no time at all, you’ll be producing a tastier tomato, a perkier pepper, or a more ravishing rose!” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverTeaming with nutrients : the organic gardener’s guide to optimizing plant nutrition / Jeff Lowenfels.
“In easy-to-understand language, Jeff Lowenfels illuminates the science behind plant nutrition and offers 100 percent organic recommendations on what to feed plants, including fertilizer recipes tailored to specific kinds of plants. Teaming with Nutrients is sure to open your eyes to the importance of understanding the role of nutrients in healthy, productive organic gardens.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverGardening for geeks : DIY tests, gadgets, & techniques that utilize microbiology, mathematics, and ecology to exponentially maximize the yield of your garden / Christy Wilhelmi. “With Gardening for Geeks, you’ll examine your ecosystem and discover how you can create the right environment for your plants. From analyzing meteorological patterns in order to plant productive beds to experimenting with the carbon and nitrogen levels in your soil, this book will teach you all about the developments and chemical reactions that occur at each phase of growth and how you can alter your planting techniques to construct the most thriving, productive garden possible.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverMy garden and other animals / Mike Dilger ; illustrations by Christina Holvey. “,Mike has long had a desire to own and manage his own personal garden nature reserve. Mike and Christina saw the potential in their new rural town ‘house-and-garden-to-be’ with its long, uncared-for lawn which ran down to a tree-covered bank revealing at its base a small, tinkling stream. So begins their year-long journey to create their very own wildlife sanctuary. This light-hearted, amusing narrative will appeal to anyone interested in quirky nature tales with a twist, and wildlife enthusiasts generally.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverRHS Chelsea Flower Show : a centenary celebration / Brent Elliott. “For one hundred years, RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been the annual event in the world of horticulture. This is the essential centenary souvenir, and an enduring look at what makes Chelsea special. Royal Horticultural Society insider Brent Elliott explains how the show has grown and changed, how it is has formed part of the social calendar and how the nation’s taste in garden design and planting has been reflected and shaped by Chelsea over the years.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe man who plants trees / Jim Robbins.This is an extraordinary book about trees. Trees and forests are far more than just plants: they have myriad functions that help maintain the atmosphere and biosphere. The global forest is also in crisis, and when the oldest trees in the world suddenly start dying – across North America, Europe, the Amazon – it’s time to pay attention. At the heart of this remarkable exploration of the power of trees is the amazing story of one man, a shade tree farmer named David Milarch, and his quest to clone the oldest and largest trees – from the California redwoods to the oaks of Ireland – to protect the ancient genetics and use them to reforest the planet.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverA gardener’s guide to bulbs / Christine Skelmersdale ; [foreword by Alan Titchmarsh].Bulbs are always a delight for gardeners, whether used to burst freely in drifts or caught to add color and exuberance within a border or container. This book captures that sense of joy by celebrating the potential of bulbs throughout the year. It gives practical advice on choosing and growing bulbs, including how and where to grow, and planting for succession. It provides a detailed listing of the most common and interesting bulbs, ideas for the ordinary gardener, and includes detailed reference for the more experienced.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverSucculents simplified : growing, designing, and crafting with 100 easy-care varieties / Debra Lee Baldwin. “A complete primer on choosing, growing and designing with succulents. Along with gorgeous photos packed with design ideas, Debra offers her top 100 plant picks and explains how to grow and care for succulents no matter where you live. Step-by-step projects, including a cake-stand centerpiece, special-occasion bouquets, a vertical garden, and a succulent topiary sphere, will inspire you to express your individual style.” (Adapted Syndetics Summary)