"The Green Thumb Garden Handbook - A Down-To-Earth Guide To Success In Every Area Of Home Gardening, Completely Revised and Expanded," by George (Doc) and Katy Abraham (Prentice-Hall, 528 pages, illustrated, $11.95).
This book is full of good advice on how to get results, what to expect and how to avoid disappointments. Here are a few examples:
When raking the soil preparatory to planting grass seed, the authors say, don't remove every little stone. A light rolling will take care of them. Grass roots grow under them and find protection from the sun.
The novice should remember that rock gardens take much effort to keep weeded and maintained, they say. Eventually plants become established so that maintenance is less.
But they never saw a rock garden that did not require care.
Don't winterize evergreens with plastic sheets. On sunny days the heat is trapped inside and evergreens are cooked to death. Even holes in the plastic will not let the heat escape.
Burlap wrapped around four posts driven into the ground does a find job of protecting plants from drying winds.
"Herbs," by James Underwood Crockett, Ogden Tanner and the Editors of Time-Life Books (Time-Life Books, Inc., 160 pages, illustrated, $8.95).
Many people grow herbs simply because it is fun, the authors say. Of all plants, none offers such great rewards for so little work. Many are decorative, indoors and out, and they are easy to grow and resistant to diseases and pests. Some are highly fragrant, bursting with sweet oils.
The book is an excellent guide on how to grow and use herbs. In the final section there is a 58-page encyclopedia of herbs with colored illustrations, and a summary of the herb's essential planting and harvesting requirements.
"The Environment and the Home Gardener," by more than 24 contributors (Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y., can be ordered direct, 64 pages, excellent illustrations, $1.75).
This is one of a number of high quality horticultural handbooks published by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Any one or several of them would make very nice Christmas presents for yourself or your gardening friends.
"Don't expect much environmental evangelism here (in his handbook)," says the editor. "Much has been destroyed forever but, fortunately, much can still be conserved and, in some cases, be regenerated. Le us make the start once more, with good will."
Here are some other titles, each $1.75: "Bonsai for Indoors" - how to train and care for them; "Designing with Flowers" - make your home more beautiful, with ideas for arrangements; "Gardening Guide" - what the amateur needs to know to get started; "Natural Gardening Handbook" - mulching and composting, how to use organic fertilizers and pest control without synthetics; and "Dried Flower Designs", how to dry flowers and foliage and how to make arrangements.