June 10, 2004
Lone Pine's garden guides
by AMY STEWART
WASHINGTON STATE'S LONE PINE PUBLISHING HAS BEEN publishing regional garden guides for a few years now; they caught my attention in 2002 when they introduced John Acorn's Bugs of Northern California. It's a handy, compact and clearly illustrated guide to the butterflies, bees, spiders, beetles and other ordinary and extraordinary creatures you might find in your garden or on a hike. Although there are only 125 critters listed in the guide, it has yet to let me down. Just about every odd insect I've found in my garden has turned up in the pages of this book. It approaches the subject from the perspective of a naturalist rather than a gardener, which means it doesn't always answer a gardener's questions -- Why can't I lure more swallowtails to my garden? Does the Jerusalem cricket have a natural predator that will protect my potatoes? But it is always the first book I turn to when I'm trying to learn a bug's backstory.
The bug book led me to Lone Pine's series of Northern California garden guides by Bay Area garden expert Bob Tanem and horticulturalist Don Williamson. Now, I'm quite loyal to the Sunset Western Garden Book as the single most important reference book a Northern California gardener should own, but Tanem and Williamson's guides take a close second, especially if you're more interested in flower gardening than fruits and vegetables. Perennials for Northern California devotes two to four pages each to a couple hundred plant genera, covering over 500 cultivars that are well suited to this area. There's also an overview of growing and propagation techniques.
Annuals for Northern California follows suit, although there is some overlap between the two books. Black-eyed Susan, for instance, shows up in both books because it is a short-lived perennial that is often grown as an annual. Still, the two books put together are well worth having, and the gorgeous color photographs will give you something to drool over when you're planning the next season in the garden.
And speaking of planning, the newest book in the series, Gardening Month by Month in Northern California, lays out monthly tips for lawn care, pest control, planting, pruning and other basics. A series of climate charts in the front of the book provides weather statistics for a number of Northern California cities, including Eureka (I learned that we get only 78 clear days a year, not that I'm complaining), and much of the advice is relevant for North Coast gardeners. There are plenty of other books in the series to check out -- Tree & Shrub Gardening for Northern California and Birds of Northern California are also of interest to gardeners, and they've even put out Northern California guides to animal tracks, seashore life, and whales and other marine animals. You can find these in the gardening and nature sections of most bookstores; they're all compact, affordable and covered in a water and dirt-resistant paperback binding that makes them easy to take outdoors.
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How are your roses looking? If you'd like to show them off, get down to the Bayshore Mall this weekend. The 39th Annual Humboldt Rose Society Rose Show will be held this Sunday in the old Waldenbooks store (near Gottshalks and The Gap). You don't have to be a member to enter a rose -- just head down to the mall in the morning. The doors behind that area of the mall will be open at 8:30 a.m. You can bring individual roses, identified by their species name, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., and arrangements can come in until 10 a.m., at which point the judging starts. (To find out more about the rules for entry, call 443-1291.) Then, between noon and 5, the public is invited to come take a look at the entries, admire the winners and get expert advice about growing roses.
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It's also time to get tickets for the Second Annual Wildlife & Native Plant Garden Tour. This event, co-sponsored by Redwood Region Audubon Society and the local chapter of the California Native Plant Society, will be held on Saturday, June 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For $15, you can see nine private and commercial gardens between Eureka and McKinleyville that are designed to attract hummingbirds, butterflies and other wildlife. Many of the gardens also feature native species. Purchase tickets through the day of the event at Pierson's, Strictly for the Birds, Freshwater Farms, Northcoast Environmental Center, Garden Gate, Mad River Gardens and Miller Farms.
garden-related announcements and news to Amy Stewart.
© Copyright 2004, North Coast Journal, Inc.