Hennepin County Master Gardener Learning Garden Tour’s Virtual Book Nook

Welcome to the 2021 Hennepin County Master Gardener Virtual Book Nook.

If you have ever participated in our Learning Garden Tours in past years, you are aware of the popularity of the Book Nook. Each year we offer titles that appeal to midwestern gardeners, whether new or experienced, or someone just looking for a new approach or an intriguing topic.

As you scroll through this virtual list/blog, you will find books arranged by the gardens you have viewed on the 2021 Virtual Learning Garden Tour link. Additionally, you will find books authored by our very own Hennepin County Master Gardener Volunteers. And we couldn’t have a Book Nook without including children’s books to inspire and delight our next generation of gardeners. Finally, for those of you looking for engaging and stimulating books for your local book clubs, we have included several titles in the last section of this blog.

Where possible we tried to include books sensitive to our hardiness zone and authored by experts from our region. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list and we urge you to visit the many other outlets for resources on gardening such as the University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Minnesota State Horticultural Society, and of course, your local library.

The Book Nook will be available until September 2022. To order any of these titles, please call Magers & Quinn Booksellers at 612-822-4611.

Table of Contents

Garden 1: From the Ground Up

Garden 2: Inspired Learning

Garden 3: The Fifty-Year Love Affair

Garden 4: Uphill Gardening

Learning Tour’s Bestselling Children’s Books

Books by Our Very Own Hennepin County Master Gardener Volunteers!

Suggestions for Book Clubs

Garden 1: From the Ground Up

Backyard Chickens: How to Keep Happy Hens
by Ingham, Dave

Keeping a few hens was once only for rural dwellers with big yards – or inner-city hippies. Now it’s mainstream and an attractive proposition wherever you live. Fluffy little recycling units that eat weeds, bugs and scraps and turn them into organic eggs – what’s not to love? Chickens are great backyard pets for young and old – they’re a natural extension for everyone with a vegie patch, and for those who like eggs but are concerned about the welfare of commercial hens. This book is the perfect reference, whether you’re already keeping chickens or an absolute beginner thinking about getting a couple of chooks. Dave Ingham offers compulsively readable advice on how to start, housing and feeding, settling chickens in with other pets, troubleshooting, and the (minimal) commitment required to keep your backyard hens healthy and happy.

Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening
by Riotte, Louise

Plant parsley and asparagus together and you’ll have more of each, but keep broccoli and tomato plants far apart if you want them to thrive. Utilize the natural properties of plants to nourish the soil, repel pests, and secure a greater harvest. With plenty of insightful advice and suggestions for planting schemes, Louise Riotte will inspire you to turn your garden into a naturally nurturing ecosystem.

Fresh from the Garden: An Organic Guide to Growing Vegetables, Berries and Herbs in Cold Climates
By Whitman, John

Drawing on more than fifty years of gardening–and nearly as many years writing on the subject–John Whitman describes various methods of planting to make the most of different sites, whether in containers, raised beds, or on level ground, and takes into consideration the abbreviated growing season and longer summer days. He discusses the merits of starting from seed indoors or outdoors, the making and uses of compost, and measures for keeping a garden healthy, from mulching and fertilizing to crop rotation and winter protection.

The Chicken Whisperer’s Guide to Keeping Chickens, Revised
By Schneider, Andy

Are you looking for a great way to reconnect with the earth, the community, and your food sources? Keeping backyard chickens is a fun, simple way to start making this happen, even with limited space in your backyard. Let the Chicken Whisperer (poultry personality Andy Schneider) teach you everything he knows and everything you need to know about raising a backyard flock!

The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live
by Jabbour, Niki

Even in winter’s coldest months you can harvest fresh, delicious produce. Drawing on insights gained from years of growing vegetables in Nova Scotia, Niki Jabbour shares her simple techniques for gardening throughout the year. Learn how to select the best varieties for each season, the art of succession planting, and how to build inexpensive structures to protect your crops from the elements. No matter where you live, you’ll soon enjoy a thriving vegetable garden year-round.

Vegetable Gardening in the Midwest
by Vanderbrug, Michael

There is nothing more regionally specific than vegetable gardening–what to plant, when to plant it, and when to harvest are decisions based on climate, weather, and first frost. The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Midwest, by regional expert Michael VanderBrug, focuses on the unique eccentricities of the Midwest gardening calendar. The month-by-month format makes it perfect for beginners–gardeners can start gardening the month they pick it up.

Garden 2: Inspired Learning

100 Plants to Feed the Bees
By The Xerces Society
2016, $17

The international bee crisis is threatening our global food supply, but this user-friendly field guide shows what you can do to help protect our pollinators. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation offers browsable profiles of 100 common flowers, herbs, shrubs, and trees that support bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds. The recommendations are simple: pick the right plants for pollinators, protect them from pesticides, and provide abundant blooms throughout the growing season by mixing perennials with herbs and annuals 100 Plants to Feed the Bees will empower homeowners, landscapers, apartment dwellers — anyone with a scrap of yard or a window box — to protect our pollinators.

Growing Perennials for Cold Climates
By Heger, Mike, Lonnee, Debbie & Whitman, John

If you are a gardener and winter temperatures in your region can dip below -20 degrees, this is the one guide you need. Comprehensive and fully illustrated, Growing Perennials in Cold Climates is an excellent resource for selecting, siting, planting, and maintaining perennials that flourish in northern climates. This expanded edition identifies the fifty most popular perennial groups, offers in-depth information on wild and cultivated varieties best suited to cold climates, and rates more than 500 of the choicest plants.

Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes
By Rainer, Thomas

Over time, with industrialization and urban sprawl, we have driven nature out of our neighborhoods and cities. But we can invite it back by designing landscapes that look and function more like they do in the wild: robust, diverse, and visually harmonious. Planting in a Post-Wild World by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West is an inspiring call to action dedicated to the idea of a new nature–a hybrid of both the wild and the cultivated–that can flourish in our cities and suburbs. This is both a post-wild manifesto and practical guide that describes how to incorporate and layer plants into plant communities to create an environment that is reflective of natural systems and thrives within our built world.

The Pruning Answer Book
By Hill, Lewis

When should you prune a blackberry bush? How much should you remove? What’s the difference between pinching and heading back? And how can you be sure that you aren’t harming your fragile blossoms? The Pruning Answer Book offers fresh insights to these relevant questions and scores of others. With clear instructions, detailed illustrations, and expert advice, you’ll have all the information you need to successfully prune flowering plants, fruit and nut trees, shrubs, brambles, evergreens, vines, groundcovers, and more.

What’s Wrong with my Plant? (And How Do I Fix It?)
By Deardorff, David and Wadsword, Kathryn

What’s Wrong With My Plant? provides an easy system for visually diagnosing any garden plant problem and matching it to the right cure. By offering organic solutions for over 400 plant maladies, this book is the go-to source whenever your plants are a little under the weather. This innovative and easy-to-use guide presents easy-to-follow, illustrated flow charts to accurately diagnose the problem. It also includers 100% organic solutions and photographs and drawings of stressed, damaged, and diseased plants to help with accurate comparison. 

Garden 3: The Fifty-Year Love Affair

Attracting Birds, Butterflies and Other Backyard Wildlife
By Mizejewski, David

From renowned National Wildlife Federation naturalist and TV host David Mizejewski comes a new book to show you how to create a magical ecosystem right in your backyard Invite beautiful songbirds, colorful butterflies, buzzing bees and other fascinating wildlife by nurturing a wildlife habitat garden. With more than 200 high-quality photographs, lists of the best native plants to support wildlife and 17 gardening projects the whole family can enjoy, from building bird houses to creating garden ponds, Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife, Expanded Second Edition is a must-have resource for nature enthusiasts, gardeners, and animal lovers.

Good Bug, Bad Bug
by Walliser, Jessica

An indispensable field guide for quickly and easily identifying the most common invasive and beneficial insects in the garden; plus the best organic advice on how to attract the good guys and manage the bad guys – without reaching for the toxic chemicals. Includes strategies for dealing with the “new bugs in town,” those worrisome strangers that are starting to show up due to climate change (and some that have just flown in from abroad). 

Practical Rose Gardening: How to Place, Plant, and Grow More Than Fifty Easy-Care Varieties
By Palmstierna, Inger

Palmstierna begins by explaining the difference between a “modern rose” versus an “old-fashioned” variety. She then aids readers in selecting the right type of rose for their garden by providing detailed information on more than fifty popular rose varieties–pick your favorites by color or the type of environment in which each species thrives. Roses that grow as ground cover, for example, are easy to look after and are attractive on slopes and larger areas; roses that climb are perfect for a trellis or arch; and roses that grow as bushes are sturdy and can flower several times a season. And if you’d prefer to grow your roses in a pot on a balcony or terrace, you’ll also learn how to care for them in winter

The Modern Cottage Garden: A Fresh Approach to a Classic Style
By Loades, Greg

In this practical and inspirational guide, Greg Loades presents a new style of planting: a fusion between classic cottage style and the new perennial movement. Using real gardens as examples, The Modern Cottage Garden teaches gardeners how to combine the best of both styles–big, colorful blooms and striking grasses and native plants–into one beautiful space that requires little maintenance and has a long season of interest. Fresh planting ideas for containers, small gardens, and diverse climates present an exciting style that can shine anywhere.

Tree and Shrub Gardening for Minnesota and Wisconsin
By Engebretson, Don & Williamson, Don

With this beautiful book at your fingertips, you can select, plant and care for the trees and shrubs that suit the conditions present in your garden: * Detailed listings for 75 different species of trees and shrubs, along with information on more than 850 recommended varieties and cultivars best suited for Minnesota and Wisconsin gardens * Size, shape and growing zone * Notes on the best features of each species or variety * What tree or shrub to select for a specific location * How to plant, prune and propagate * Soil, moisture and sunlight requirements * Year-round maintenance * Tips for solving pest and disease problems * Color photographs throughout.

Garden 4: Uphill Gardening

Best Perennials for Sun and Shade

Choosing perennials for a garden can be a daunting task, considering that there are thousands of choices. Yarrow? Columbine? Aster? To make the selection easier, this guide profiles the easiest-to-grow and best-performing perennials for both sunny and shady locations. Each plant is shown in a beautiful color photo for easy identification. From controlling pesky bugs and deadheading to staking tall plants and taking root cuttings, everything a beginning gardener or new homeowner needs to start a garden is here.

Creating Rain Gardens: Capturing the Rain for Your Own Water-Efficient Garden
By Uncapher, Apryl

You probably spend hundreds of dollars watering your yard, but there is an easy way to save money and resources–by collecting rain to reuse in front and backyards. In Creating Rain Gardens, water conservation experts Cleo Woelfle-Erskine and Apryl Uncapher walk you through the entire process, with step-by-step instructions for designing and building swales, French drains, rain gardens, and ephemeral ponds. From soil preparation, planting, troubleshooting, and maintenance, to selecting palettes of water-loving plants that provide four-season interest and a habitat for wildlife, Creating Rain Gardenscovers everything you need to create a beautiful rain garden at home.

The Midwest Native Plant Primer
By Branhagen, Alan

Do you want a garden that makes a real difference? Choose plants native to our Midwest region. The rewards will benefit you, your yard, and the environment–from reducing maintenance tasks to attracting earth-friendly pollinators such as native birds, butterflies, and bees. Native plant expert Alan Branhagen makes adding these superstar plants easier than ever before, with proven advice that every home gardener can follow. This incomparable sourcebook includes 225 recommended native ferns, grasses, wildflowers, perennials, vines, shrubs, and trees. It’s everything you need to know to create a beautiful and beneficial garden.

Rock Gardening: Reimagining a Classic Style (AHS winner)
By Tychonievich, Joseph

Rock gardening –the art of growing alpines and other miniature plants in the company of rocks in order to recreate the look of a rugged mountaintop–has been surging in popularity. Time and space constraints, chronic drought in the American West, and a trend toward architectural plants are just a few of the reasons for the increased interest. Rock Gardening brings this traditional style to a new generation of gardeners. It includes a survey of gorgeous rock gardens from around the world, the techniques and methods specific to creating and maintaining a rock garden, and profiles of the top 50 rock garden plants.

Insects of the Northwoods
By Hahn, Jeffrey

Insects of the North Woods will help you identify more than 300 species of six-legged critters native to Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. The book includes hundreds of color photos of beetles, bees, wasps, grasshoppers, crickets and more.

Learning Tour’s Best Selling Children’s Books

Miss Rumphius By Cooney, Barbara

For three years straight, this has been the best seller of all our children’s books at the Learning Garden Tour’s BOOK NOOK. With its lovely expressed message and beautifully rendered illustrations, this book will be welcome in the hands of every little gardener or gardener-to-be. (EP)

A Butterfly is Patient
By Aston, Dianna and Long, Sylvia

From the creators of the award-winning An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, and A Rock Is Lively comes this gorgeous and informative introduction to the world of butterflies. An incredible variety of butterflies are celebrated here in all of their beauty and wonder, from the tiny Arian Small Blue to the grand Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing. Perfect for a child’s bedroom bookshelf or for the classroom

Northwoods Girl
By Bissonette, Aimee

Time with Grandma teaches about quiet observation, generous sharing of resources, the beauty of the forest and pond at any hour. Grandma is the quintessential north woods girl, breathing deep the piney scents, relishing the chirping activity of her animal neighbors. Small wonder that her admiring granddaughter is inspired to follow in her footsteps. With a tale as understated as Grandma herself, Aimee Bissonette shares a message of appreciating the treasures of our natural surroundings.

The Tiny Seed
By Carle, Eric

In autumn, a strong wind blows flower seeds high in the air and carries them far across the land. One by one, many of the seeds are lost — burned by the sun, fallen into the ocean, eaten by a bird. But some survive the long winter and, come spring, sprout into plants, facing new dangers — trampled by playing children, picked as a gift for a friend. Soon only the tiniest seed remains, growing into a giant flower and, when autumn returns, sending its own seeds into the wind to start the process over again.

Anywhere Farm
by Root, Phyllis
2017, $17

You might think a farm means fields, tractors, and a barnyard full of animals. But you can plant a farm anywhere you like A box or a bucket, a boot or a pan — almost anything can be turned into a home for green, growing things. Windows, balconies, and front steps all make wonderful spots to start. Who knows what plants you may choose to grow and who will come to see your new garden? Phyllis Root delivers a modern rhyming mantra for anyone hoping to put their green thumbs to good use, while G. Brian Karas’s cheerful urban illustrations sprout from every page. After all, anywhere can be a farm — all it takes is one small seed and someone to plant it.

From Seed to Plant
By Gibbons, Gail

With simple language and bright illustrations, non-fiction master Gail Gibbons introduces young readers to the processes of pollination, seed formation, and germination. Important vocabulary is reinforced with accessible explanation and colorful, clear diagrams showing the parts of plants, the wide variety of seeds, and how they grow.

Books by our very own Hennepin County Master Gardener Volunteers!

Creating Sustainable Victory Gardens
By Cippola, Larry

Are you worried about food safety and supply? Worry no more. There has never been a better time to take control of what you eat, by growing your own delicious, healthful produce all year long. In this comprehensive guidebook, Master Gardener Larry Cipolla tells you exactly what to do and how to do it, sharing proven gardening techniques – both soil-based and hydroponic – that use no pesticides or herbicides

Decoding Garden Advice
By Maynard, Meleah and Gilman, Jeff

2011, OUT OF PRINT: Contact Magers & Quinn to be placed on a waitlist for possible used copies.

Hydroponic Gardening: The Very Easy Way
By Cippola, Larry

This comprehensive guide is the only book that focuses on the Deep-Water-Culture (DWC) hydroponic system. You will quickly learn how to use the DWC system, which is the lowest cost, easiest to set up, easiest to maintain, and easiest to expand hydroponic system.This definitive how-to-resource will guide you through each step of the way. Year-round gardening, indoors and outdoors, pesticide- and herbicide-free. Take control of what you eat. Grow what you like in a very small space. Grow vertically to increase your yield. No gardening experience is necessary.

Pollinator Friendly Gardening
By Hayes, Rhonda

Are you interested in growing a naturally healthy garden? How about making sure your local environment helps bees, butterflies, and birds survive and thrive? If you are a beekeeper, are you looking for the ideal plants to keep your colony happy? Plant selection, hardscape choices, habitat building (both natural and manmade), and growing practices that give pollinators their best chance in the garden are all covered in detail. Plant lists organized by category, helpful tips, and expert spotlights make it a fun and easy book to read too.

The Guide to Humane Critter Control
By Rooney, Theresa
2017, CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE – Contact Magers & Quinn to be placed on a waitlist for possible used copies.

Suggestions for Book Clubs

  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Kimmerer, Robin
  • Flight Behavior by Kingsolver, Barbara
  • Second Nature by Pollan, Michael
  • The Hidden Life of Trees by Wohlleben, Peter
  • The Overstory by Powers, RIchard
  • The Story of More by Jahren, Hope
  • The Sixth Extinction by Kolbert, Elizabeth

The Book Nook will be available until September 2022. To order any of these titles, please call Magers & Quinn Booksellers at 612-822-4611.