Three good books related to gardening have been published recently.
"The Master Book of Ikebana," by John March-Penney (Two Continents, 176 pps., superbly illustrated, $16.95).
With approximately 100 color photographs and 150 black-and-white prints, the book vividly demonstrates the various types and sizes of Japanese floral arrangements, gives guidelines for choosing containers, tells of the cultural heritage of Ikebana and of the importance of symbolism in what can be called the art of plant sculpture.
Simplicity, says the author, is the secret of good Ikebena.
He starts by describing single flower arrangements covers Moribana, arrangement in a shallow bowl; Nageire, arrangement for pots and vases, and Chabana, flower arrangement for the tea ceremony and what it signifies.
He tells how to select materials and has a chapter on the modern variation called Morninomo, in which fans, decorative stones, branches and flowers, miniature fish traps and certain Japanese dolls are used.
In Morinomo, water is suggested by brushing fine white sand with swan, eron or crane feathers, each for a specific use.
There are currently more than 200 chapters of Ikebana International, most of them in the United States. They meet regularly to trade experiences and to hear Japanese artists and Ikebana masters from the various schools speak and display their works.
"Bulbs for the Home Gardener," by Bebe Miles (Grosset & Dunlap, 208 pps., beautifully illustrated, $22.95).
The book provides specific directions for the cultivation of hundreds of the most popular types of bulbs. Both the hardy and the tender species are listed by their proper botanical names, along with their common names, in an easy-to-read format for quick reference.
Supplemental information is provided on garden layouts and companion planting, how to naturalize bulbs, forcing bulbs, for winter bloom, interesting flowers to be grown for arranging and approximate blooming sequence of hardy bulbs.
Bulbs are so varied, says the author, that even a long life does not allow time enough to know and grow them all.
There are always rare bulbs to work into an established garden, as well as new ideas for growing and showing off the old standbys.
"Water, Light and Love - A Guide to Growing Plants From Seeds" by Gene and Dee Milstein (Applewood Seed Co., 833 Parfet St., Lakewood, Colo. 80215, 96 pps., well illustrated, $3.95 paperback, can be ordered direct from publisher).
Dee and Gene met in 1969 and combined their talents to build Applewood Seed Co., one of the country's most creative seed companies, which offers its unique collections to retailers throughout the world.
"This book is our invitation to experience the wonder of seeds - to contemplate their complexitites and the remarkable diversity of their simple and beautiful forms," they say.
"During the past 10 years, we have had the pleasure of growing many hundreds of plants from seeds. The methods that have worked well for us apply not only to unusual seeds such as those of wildflowers, culinary herbs, ornamental grasses and tropical plants, but to many common species as well.
"Our emphasis in this book is on indoor germinationa nd conditions in the home that encourage the sturdy development of seedlings. Methods are also suggested for direct seeding, as well as transplanting into the garden."
Blue Columbine, the Colorado State Flower, was Applewood's initial offering, followed within a sort time by Indian Paintbrush, Yellow Evening Primrose and several other species of wildflowers native to the Rocky Mountain area.
Gradually, wildflowers native to the entire United States and other parts of the world were added to the line. More than 40 species are currently available. About one-third of the seeds are still collected in the wild. The balance is raised by specialty growers in this country and in Europe.