recommend a book for a beginner native woodland convert

spmimi(z6 (nyc))April 19, 2005

i've always been environmentally aware, but planning for my first real garden space had me all smitten with these foreign chinese orchids and whatnots.

but after taking an early spring walk in the BBG woodland native garden, i was re-inspired in my commitment to provide a natural oasis. i know i won't necessarily be planting things that would naturally occur right next to each other in the wild, but i think it's a valid compromise for my tiny 10x10 space in new york city!!

i've been doing alot of online research, here and elsewhere, but i was hoping some of you might be able to recommend a book? ideally it would have both some meaningful text as well as reference (cultural requirements, photos, etc) for actual growing of natives. i know that even the "experts" will disagree on cultural requirements, so i would love to know what books are kind of considered the "standards" so to speak with good, solid, accurate reference.

many thanks in advance!! (this is a cross-post from the natives forum, but i thought some of you might have some good ideas too)

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mainegrower(Z5b ME)

The best book I know of is George Schenk's Gardening in the Shade - excellent practical information with a huge section on suitable plants. I don't know if it is still in print. Either of William Calluina (the spelling of the last name looks a little shaky) books, one of which is on growing native wild flowers and the other native trees and shrubs are also excellent and more recent than the Schenk book.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 6:12AM
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springcherry(6/7 Philly,PA)

Agree with mainegrower's rec but would add Rick Darke and Ken Druse to the list as well, as they are both well, well worth checking out, not just for their plant lists but also for their take on the -idea- of the woodland garden.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2005 at 4:23PM
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spmimi(z6 (nyc))

thanks both! i checked out a copy of cullina's book from my library. it's a great reference. i will also see if they have the others you recommend.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2005 at 10:00AM
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jgaughran(z6 NY)

Take a look at Beth Chatto's Woodland Garden. Beautiful picutres, nicely written, very inspiring.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 10:00PM
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gmehl(z5 PA)

I think it was Ken Druse who counseled on how exciting a small garden can be. I sprawl out on a lot of property but recently turned to trying to a build a very small -- also 10x10 -- garden specifically for the very small plants that make up a large number of woodland wildlife. Use a lot of organic matter, plenty of stone (I opted for river stone) and build neat contours. Cullina, et al, are a good starting point but you can also pursue a lot of detailed information via web searches... could be a really neat garden!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 2:03PM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

When you are looking for books keep in the back of your mind that often times books will make you think the plants/shrubs and trees are native when they are not. Often times they are listed for hardiness zones. For instance, one of the books I have is called "Trees and shrubs of Central Ontario". This book contains every tree and shrub that "will grow" in central Ontario, not trees and shrubs "native" to Central Ontario. If you do some homework and find out what is native to your region and local area it will help you immensely to figure out what is "native" rather than what grows well in your area.

Have fun.

My husband and I are restoring our woodlot backyard and enjoying looking for plants, shrubs, ferns, trees and mosses that are native to our specific city.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 7:29AM
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