Seeing Trees

Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees
by Nancy Ross Hugo and Robert Llewellyn (Photographer)

242 pages
Timber Press, 2011
List price: $29.95

Trivia buffs love books that take an ordinary subject and reveal extraordinary tidbits of fascinating information about their subjects. In reality, nearly everyone loves trivia because it appeals to that part of us that loves adventure. It’s the revealing of the unexpected that gives us a little bit of a thrill and tickles the pleasure center of our brains.

So what about the trees that we pass on our neighborhood walk or drive past on our way to work? You know the ones – the maples, oaks, walnuts, and pines. So plentiful and common, we take them for granted and barely give them notice most of the time. If you grow trees or simply enjoy them, you’ll find the uncommon insights shared about ten common trees in Seeing Trees utterly fascinating.


Emerging American beech leaves stretch free of their golden bud scales.

Seeing Trees takes a look at the unique ways trees develop, how leaves and buds form, and the beauty of their distinct barks, among other things. The photography of Robert Llewellyn brings the descriptions to life and complements the text perfectly.

Each tree is a botanical masterpiece, only fully appreciated by giving them close inspection, and Seeing Trees helps you do just that, making it an interactive book of the best kind. Your next walk in the woods won't be the same.


Nancy Ross Hugo has been writing, lecturing, and teaching about trees, native plants, and floral design for over 30 years. Her writing has appeared in Horticulture, Fine Gardening, American Forests, Country Journal, Virginia Living, and Country Life. Nancy and her husband, John, live in Virginia.



Robert Llewellyn has been photographing trees and landscapes for almost forty years. His photographs have been featured in major art exhibits, and more than thirty books featuring his photography are in print. He and his wife, Bobbi, live near Charlottesville, Virginia.





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The publication being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for reviewing it. All opinions expressed here are mine. If I like something, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that,too.

Eat Your Roses

Eat Your Roses
…Pansies, Lavender and 49 other Delicious Edible Flowers
by Denise Schreiber

104 pages
St. Lynn’s Press, 2011
List price: $17.95

Sure, you probably knew that dandelions and nasturtium flowers were edible, but did you know that there were many more that you likely grow in your garden that you could be putting on your dinner plate? Eat Your Roses is a fascinating guide that gives detailed information about 51 edible flowers and continues with 31 recipes using them, making this both a reference book and a cookbook.

Impressive is the word that comes to mind when I browsed the creative ways that edible flowers can be used in everything from appetizers to desserts and everything in between. I especially want to try some of the floral butters. This delightful book is perfect for gifting to gardeners and cooks alike. And it comes in that wonderful spiral, coated pages format that St. Lynn’s Press does so well.


Denise Schreiber, a lifelong gardener with a degree in floriculture and liberal studies, lives and gardens in a Pittsburgh suburb with her husband, daughter and four cats. She is also the Greenhouse Manager for Allegheny County Parks. Many people in the Pittsburgh area are familiar with Denise as the expert gardener “Mrs. Know-It-All,” a fixture on the widely-heard KDKA Sunday morning radio show, The Organic Gardeners.

More of Denise’s edible flowers recipes and tips can be found online at www.edibleflowers1.com.


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The publication being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine. If I like something, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that,too.

Planting the Dry Shade Garden


Planting the Dry Shade Garden
The Best Plants for the Toughest Spot in Your Garden

by Graham Rice

193 pages
Timber Press, 2011
List price:  $24.95

I’m partial to books that address a problem I’m having in my own garden. I’m especially partial to them if they give me practical solutions for it. I dove right into Planting the Dry Shade Garden because this is one of the toughest growing situations that I, along with many other gardeners, have.

First off, Graham Rice explains what makes a dry shade garden tough for plants. Part of dealing with the problem is understanding it. And then he gives us the good news – news that we’ve known all along – that it’s a matter of growing the right plant for the situation.

There really are many plants that will handle dry shade just fine. And that’s what the bulk of the book is about. More than 130 plants that will grow well in most zones are profiled, giving us plenty to choose from. Included are shrubs, climbers, perennials, ground covers, bulbs, biennials, and even annuals. In addition, Rice shares tips on how to improve the dry shade garden conditions themselves, thereby increasing our chances for success.

Planting the Dry Shade Garden is a valuable garden tool that I’ve needed for a long time. I’m using it to help keep my vow to garden smarter, not harder.



Graham Rice is an internationally known plantsman and the award-winning writer of more than 25 gardening books. With a degree in horticulture from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England, Graham gardens in dry shade on both sides of the Atlantic.





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The publication being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine. If I like something, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that,too.

The Roses at the End of the Road


The Roses at the End of the Road
by Pat Leuchtman

95 pages
Fiftyshift.com Publishing
List price: $14.95

Now that the face of publishing is changing at breakneck speed, there’s a plethora of self-published books entering the market. Some are good and some are not, but as a reader, writer and book reviewer, I applaud them. How else might we get to know our fellow gardeners and their talents?

Pat Leuchtman is the author of The Roses at the End of the Road, a winsome collection of the events and characters that make up her life with Henry on their rural Massachusetts farm. They don’t grow wheat or corn or soybeans. What they grow is roses – lots of roses. They grow perennials too, but it’s clear that roses are their passion.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Pat on several occasions and never knew of her rich past, including living in China during the Tiananmen Square incident. She tells of her life’s journey to The End of the Road farm, where every year she and Henry host The Rose Walk.

Growing a garden is always a learning experience. Our gardens teach us much, as the tending to its needs continues year after year. The Roses at the End of the Road is a warm, satisfying read which makes you glad that Pat Leuchtman decided to share the lessons she’s learned.



Pat Leuchtman has been writing about gardens and gardeners in The Recorder (Greenfield, MA) since 1980, and in her CommonWeeder blog since 2007.  This is her first book.







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The publication being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine. If I like something, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that,too.