Watering can
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Looking for a gift for the green-thumb in the family? Simply pining for spring? Either way, these six books will feed your favorite hobby.

Gardening at the Dragon's Gate by Wendy Johnson

Gardenscapes by Lynn Geesaman

A Gardener's Labyrinth by Patrick Kinmonth and Tessa Traeger

Plants in Garden History by Penelope Hobhouse

Flower by Christopher Beane and Anthony F. Janson

Gardens Through Time by Jane Owen and Diarmuid Gavin

Gardening at Dragon's Gate
By Wendy Johnson

Gardening, with all its trials and errors, is not for the faint-hearted—and neither is meditation, both of which Wendy Johnson practices at the Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, north of San Francisco. Gardening at the Dragon's Gate (Bantam) is not only a wonder-filled celebration of nature, human and horticultural ("Every garden is unique, quirky, distinct and disobedient, just like every gardener"), but, with its practical hints and wide-ranging garden lore, a patch of paradise in an imperfect world. — Cathleen Medwick
By Lynn Geesaman

"Does it make sense to say 'the longing of a path?" asks Verlyn Klinkenborg in his opening meditation on Lynn Geesaman's Gardenscapes (Aperture), a book of painterly photographs of formal gardens and parks. A clump of trees appearing like a mirage on a hillside in Tayside, Scotland, or fallen camellia blossoms, like perfect tiny brushstrokes of red paint, on Avery Island in Louisiana, are as luminous as they are masterfully rendered. — Cathleen Medwick
Gardener's Labyrinth
By Patrick Kinmonth and Tessa Traeger

British restraint, romanticism, and deep-rooted eccentricity fill the sumptuous pages of A Gardener's Labyrinth: Portraits of People, Plants & Places, by Tessa Traeger and Patrick Kinmonth (Booth-Clibborn Editions). Visionaries Andy Goldsworthy and Charles Jencks sculpt landscapes of primal energy, while ardent antiquarians Julian and Isabel Bannerman use nature and artifice to create a sense of wild civility. — Cathleen Medwick
Garden History
By Penelope Hobhouse

Peaceful coexistence begins in a garden. In Plants in Garden History: An Illustrated History of Plants and Their Influences on Garden Styles—from Ancient Egypt to the Present Day (Pavilion) master horticulturist Penelope Hobhouse points out "the cross-fertilization of ideas" between cultures. As early as the 16th century, Arab and European botanists, encouraged by trade, exploration in Asia and the Americas, and a spirit of political openness, began freely exchanging specimens and designs. Seeded with historical curiosities (one ancient Egyptian king kept a crocodile in the garden pool to ambush his wife's lover), paintings, plans, and photographs, this richly researched volume blooms with visions of paradise on earth.
Photographs by Christopher Beane; text by Anthony Janson

He was the rarest of specimens in Manhattan's no-frills wholesale Chelsea flower market back in the mid-1990s: a scruffy, wild-haired, bracelet-bedecked ex–art student working as a salesman to finance a coveted photography career. Christopher Beane brought roses and ranunculi, hairy-stemmed poppies and satiny gardenias back to his tiny apartment, so he could shoot them in the ethereal afternoon light. He filled the entire frame, floated a swirl of blossoms against a black or vividly colorful background, accenting the hauntingly graceful twist of a tulip petal, the orgiastic explosion of color at a peony's core. Flower (Artisan) showcases the work of a dazzlingly innovative talent in full bloom. — Elaina Richardson
Gardens through Time
By Jane Owen and Diarmuid Gavin

Trowels at the ready, Britain's passionate gardeners have faced every challenge of the past two centuries, from rapid-fire changes in garden design to the urgent need for vegetable plots in wartime. Gardens Through Time: Celebrate 200 Years of Gardening with the Royal Horticultural Society (BBC), by Jane Owen and Diarmuid Gavin, is a lively illustrated history filled with gossipy stories about the growers, importers, designers, putterers, and pioneers (the charmingly named Edwin Budding invented the lawn mower in 1830) who made gardening the euphoric international pastime—and sometimes thorny business—it is today. — Cathleen Medwick


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