The Perennial Favorites: My Gardening Book Collection #1

I am a passionate gardener. New and seasoned gardeners are always asking me titles of gardening books I often use. I have shelves of gardening books, but this first collection is the set I turn to the most often for sound advice on basic gardening questions. Like perennial plants, these provide the backbone to my collection.

Sunset Western Garden Book by the Editors of Sunset magazine
I can't live without this volume. It helps with zones, where and how plants grow best, and plant identification. I love the categories in the front such as plants with colored foliage and native plants.

Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening by J.I. Rodale and staff
I have the 1971 edition I found at a used book store. This book is organized in categories that make it easy to access information. When I began my garden I needed information on how to amend soil.. or in my case how to turn sand (not sandy soil, but sand) into garden soil. This book was the best guide.

The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch
I miss Barbara on Victory Garden and her own show Gardening Naturally on the Learning Channel. This book is valuable for a first time gardener. It explains everything you need to know from what gear to buy to how to raise roses without fear.

A Way to Garden by Margaret Roach
This book is written and photographed beautifully and I also like it because it divides the information by seasons. By creating a helpful appendix she added extra bits on topics such as potatoes,mulch, and the reality of weeds.

Seeds and Propagation by Susan McClure
This is a small volume as part of the Smith and Hawken Hands On Gardener series. The text and pictures help a novice start the process of seed starting and propagation easily. We have been more successful with scented geraniums than begonias, but we keep experimenting!

Gardening in the Inland Northwest by Tonie Jean Fitzgerald
This book is a must for those of us that garden here in the Inland Northwest. She helped me figure out which plants worked best with our goofy seasons, climate changes, and elevations. Fitzgerald has been a member of WSU’s Spokane County Extension faculty and worked for the Master Gardener program. She answered questions for me a few years ago, but I don't know if she still has that position. There is an updated edition of this book.
I hope this list is helpful. Most of these books can be found in your local public library. In future blogs I will share lists of books for more specific gardening needs. Any gardening books that are keepers on your shelf? Let me know!
P.S. The watering can in the picture was a gift created by my brother Raymond Pert here . I love the placement of the primary colors with the dots and splashes of design. It looks beautiful in any window and works great as a vase for cut garden flowers in the summer.


  1. Tonie Jean is still there! And actually, lives down the street from me...

  2. Thanks for the information. I have found her book so helpful. I better get the updated version.


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