|Grow Great Grub
2010 ISBN 9780307452016Gayla Trail of yougrowgirl.com scores big with this beautiful new book. Gayla gardens in her rooftop urban farm in Toronto, Canada. Trail and her partner Davin Risk took all of the photos in the book – it’s obvious they have a connection to their cameras and their community. I’m still making my way through the book, but right now am concentrating on Chapter 7, Vegetables. Good, relevant information for Canadian gardeners.
Whether you are growing in the ground or in containers, this book will help you step from dreaming straight into the reality of growing grub, no matter how ambitious you choose to be. This one is recommended.
MORE FROM THE BALCONY GARDENER LIBRARY
|Really Small Gardens
1998 ISBN 1902757068This is a good reference book for balcony gardeners. It addresses the realities of gardening in a small space in the city and helps gardeners come to terms with the fundamental choices that must be made when planning a small space.
Topics include dealing with exposure to the elements, shade from buildings and privacy (or the lack of it). Water features are addressed as they can become one of the most compelling features in a small space. High quality photographs of rooftop gardens from around the world are scattered throughout this book. Gain inspiration and source the same or similar plants for your region for your own balcony garden.
|Sky Gardens Rooftops, Balconies and Terraces
2004 ISBN 0764320041This is one of the best reference books on balcony garden design. Simply and clearly written with beautiful photography it showcases the complete scale and scope of balcony and terrace gardening. Colour usage, plant selection, container and furniture placement are illustrated throughout the book.
The unique challenges of sky gardening are regularly acknowledged throughout the text and references are often made to the weight of materials, wind, water and sun conditions, privacy and container construction, drainage and positioning. Read this book for great ideas and practical tips on balcony gardening. This one is recommended.
2006 ISBN 0756617235You’ll find design ideas, site plans and plant lists in this book. Photos in the opening chapter highlight the relationship of a garden to an apartment interior – a nice frame of reference. I like the chapter called “Gardens just to look at” because there are so many tiny ‘look but don’t expect to use’ balconies in new condo developments.
There’s also an informative design section that includes ideas for narrow spaces including stairwells and steps, rooftops and of course balconies and windows. But the water section isn’t relevant to a balcony gardener and the chapters on containers, furniture and lighting don’t really reveal anything new.
|Gardening on Pavement, Tables and Hard Surfaces
2003 ISBN 00881925934Read intrepid gardener George Schenk’s unique book on gardening on surfaces that are impervious to roots and water. The exotic nature of many of Schenk’s platform gardens makes me doubt if any of the concepts could succeed in a dry, Zone 3 growing environment, but I’m intrigued by the idea of reclaiming parking lots and encroaching on sidewalks.
The table garden chapter is a gem, the examples are magical, the step by step planting instructions look easy to follow, but the implementation is obviously more difficult than illustrated. This book will make you take a second look at your concrete balcony gardening space. This one is recommended.
2004 ISBN 0756603722Looking for inspiration for your balcony garden containers? You’ll find it here. This splashy, nicely photographed book uses colour, form and a wide range of plant materials to illustrate container garden design. The book includes information on plant selection for containers and how-to assemble and grow directions.
This formula approach, with a large photo that illustrates the results, provide guidance for the novice balcony gardener and at the same time provides ideas and inspiration for an experienced gardener. Not included are water garden examples, vegetable gardens and containers with trees and shrubs. Buy this book to help you experiment with colour and texture and prove that container gardening can be creative and exciting.
|Small Space Gardens
2003 ISBN 0060567600If you like looking at nicely designed gardens you’ll like this book. This is a general all-around design book, providing a bit of information about many topics and ideas – about a quarter of them apply to balcony gardens.
The book contains instructions for measuring and analyzing the space that you have for containers in your garden. The book is published in the US and UK so many of the plant suggestions and combinations may not be relevant to Canadian gardeners, but if you are an experienced gardener, or a novice with time and resources, you can find substitutes that suit your region.
|Harrowsmith Perennial Garden
1987 ISBN 0920656749This was one of the books that I read cover to cover when I was designing my first garden many years ago. It’s arranged by season and loaded with information about Lima’s spectacular large, organic Larkwhistle garden. Lima’s perennial borders are artfully designed and illustrate companion planting at its best.
Applicable to a balcony gardener? You bet. You can learn about planning for year round interest, combining plants, keeping a journal and probably wishing you had a bigger balcony. You can visit Larkwhistle Garden, 191 Lindsay Road 40, Dyers Bay, Ontario, Canada N0H 1Z0 T: (519) 795 7763, E: firstname.lastname@example.org.
|The Prairie Rock Garden
2000 ISBN 0-88995-195-0The Prairie Rock Garden is an excellent resource for balcony gardeners interested in designing sturdy, compact perennial rock gardens. Container rock gardens are perfectly suited for a balcony environment and this book provides inspiration, instruction and beautiful photography to help you imagine the possibilities. The garden examples are located primarily in Calgary, Canada (Zone 3) and help illustrate basic design principles and how to balance visual weight, tone and texture in your garden design.
Practical considerations regarding sun and wind exposure are addressed in the well-written text. The plant lists are comprehensive and include plant shapes and sizes, ideal growing conditions, bloom colour and planting for year-round interest. Read this book for rock garden design ideas, plant recommendations and practical advice.