Summer is the season for gardening, and it’s also the time to read the best new gardening books. There’s something delightful about finding a comfortable spot outdoors and reading a great book. It’s one of the joys that makes summer special.
This year we have a bountiful crop of great new gardening books for summer reading. So, pour a cold glass of lemonade, pull up a chair and get lost in the best new gardening books this summer.
Mini Meadows: Grow a Little Patch of Colorful Flowers Anywhere around Your Yard
What makes a book one of the best new gardening books for summer reading? In Mini Meadows by Mike Lizotte, it’s taking a familiar topic and putting a completely new spin on it.
Mike Lizotte wants you to rethink what a meadow is. Most people hear the word meadow and picture a large, grassy expanse of land sprinkled with wildflowers. That’s one kind of meadow, to be sure. But according to Lizotte, a meadow can be any size of flower garden that is informal in design, comprised of many kinds of flowering plants and is started from seed.
That means virtually any property can have a meadow garden. Create a mini meadow in a flower bed in front of the house or in the neglected land behind the garage. Or, plant a mini meadow in a raised bed or even in the “inferno strip” between the street and the sidewalk.
The author answers most questions about planting a meadow, including:
- Evaluating your planting site
- Annual wildflowers vs. perennial wildflowers
- When to plant
- How much seed to sow
- Planting for pollinators and wildlife
- Drought tolerant and deer-resistant meadow flowers
Mike Lizotte, also known as “The Seed Man,” is the co-owner of American Meadows, a company that sells a wide variety of wildflower seeds including regional seed mixes. This book is packed full of helpful information, and the photographs (by Rob Cardillo) make Mini Meadows a pleasure to peruse.
Mastering the Art of Vegetable Gardening
Whether you are already an avid vegetable gardener or a complete garden newbie, this impressive book will help you grow edible plants. The book is filled with the garden-proven experience of author Matt Mattus, who has been growing vegetables on his family’s property in Massachusetts for 50 years. (He planted his first vegetable garden when he was just five years old.)
More than 200 varieties of herbs and vegetables are featured in this 272-page book. The most popular vegetables are included, and so are less familiar varieties such as celtuce. (It is sort of a cross between celery and lettuce.) In addition, he includes tomatillos, the tomato-like fruits used in Mexican foods.
The text tells you everything you’ll need to know about every vegetable and how to grow it. This info includes a list of outstanding varieties of each vegetable for growing in your own garden. The book is lushly illustrated with color photos of the actual vegetables the author grew in his garden.
Mastering the Art of Vegetable Gardening is the best new gardening book about growing vegetables because the author has grown every vegetable in the book—and he truly loves gardening.
The Monarch: Saving Our Most-Loved Butterfly
Everyone loves butterflies, right? According to author Kylee Baumle, the monarch is the most beloved butterfly of them all. The subject matter and beautiful presentation makes The Monarch one of the best new books for summer reading.
The Monarch achieves the perfect balance scientific information, colorful photos and fun facts about these wonderful “winged jewels” of nature. Baumle is delightfully obsessed with monarch butterflies. Her love for these insects is part of the reason this book is so special.
Baumle shares plenty of tips on how to protect these butterflies, whose population has been declining in recent years due to pesticides and loss of habitat. Do you want to create a monarch butterfly garden in your yard? Want to know what butterflies need to thrive? Would you like to attract butterflies to your garden and watch the complete lifecycle of monarchs? It’s all in the book.
Kids, teenagers and adults of all ages will delight in the photographs, the butterfly facts and the practical advice about the plants that monarchs love. The Monarch: Saving Our Most-Loved Butterfly is a great addition to any gardener’s library.
She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your Own
When “she sheds” are the topic of a national TV commercial for a major insurance company, you know that the trend of creating a fancy backyard outbuilding has gone mainstream. Author Erika Kotite’s first book, She Sheds, was a best seller. So she’s back with She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your Own, a book about turning a she shed into a unique creation with a distinctive style.
A she shed can be any small structure where you can read, nap, enjoy a cold beverage, relax or get creative. According to the author, the best she sheds are built with intention. Whatever the intent of the space, a she shed owner can create a place with a personal style—and have fun doing it.
Many of the she sheds pictured in the book are custom-built creations. But “Adding Style to a Kit Shed” is one of the most valuable chapters in the book. Kotite shows how a boxy basic shed can be transformed into something unique and classy. How? Start by upgrading the windows. Then, invest in a distinctive door. And add an overhang to the side to turn a kit shed into a chic she shed. This book is filled with creative ideas and DIY projects to turn any shed into a backyard retreat that’s truly magical.
Living Decor: Plants, Potting and DIY Projects
Here’s a gardening book for anyone who grows plants indoors—or wants to start. Author Maria Colletti approaches the topic of houseplants with the eyes of an interior designer. In Living Décor, Colletti shows readers how to use plants to create indoor spaces that are both soothing and appealing.
Plants can become part of a room’s styling and design. Living plants can be creatively placed in living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens to create artistic displays and beautiful spaces. Coletti has the eye of a great designer. She shows how to create wonderful botanic displays worth duplicating in your own home.
Also included in this beautiful book are descriptions and photos of some of the author’s favorite varieties of houseplants, along with expert advice about how to grow houseplants and keep them happy and healthy. Not only are indoor plants lovely to look at, they improve air quality, enhance décor and create a greener lifestyle. This book will forever change the way you look at indoor plants.
The five books featured here are our picks for the best new gardening books for summer reading. Please let us know if you’d like to nominate a book for our next story.