Arts and Entertainment

Diggin’ it literary style

When the weather turns nippy it’s always a nice respite to linger indoors with a few good books on garden-related topics. I’ve got a list of books I can’t get enough of, which you may want to either check out at Kitsap Regional Library or head out to your favorite local bookstore to purchase one of all of them.

“The Garden Primer” by Barbara Damrosch (Workman Publishing) has been “completely revised.” Damrosch lives and gardens in Harborside, Maine, with her husband at Four Season Farm, which is also their sustainable agriculture business. The book contains 819 pages filled to the brim with information about every phase of gardening from pretty and enjoyable ornamental plants along with plants providing food.

This is a no-nonsense, yet charming, book, illustrated with black and write drawings. The illustrations are appealing and easy to understand. Damrosch tells how to select and grow more than 370 plants, including the many variations of these plants. Reading the book is akin to sitting at a table talking with your own favorite gardening guru. “The Garden Primer” is a book you’ll refer to repeatedly during your gardening career.

I think my gardening buddy, Fay Linger, told me about a book called “Insects of the Pacific Northwest” by Peter Haggard and Judy Haggard (Timber Press). It describes more than 450 species of the most visible insects in our gardens. Butterflies and moths, along with their larva, are illustrated through more than 600 excellent color photographs. Insects are grouped by their order and family. (Remember from biology class: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species? Like that.) The range covered in the book is southwestern British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and northern California, from “coast to the mountains, from wetlands to high desert,” says the book jacket.

“Insects of the Pacific Northwest” is sized perfectly to fit into a backpack. Page edges are colored for easy access in locating specific insect sections. Each insect description includes the plants these creatures like to munch on, where their eggs can be found and what time of year to look for the insects in our gardens. You’ll leaf through all 295 pages of this excellent reference book more than once.

An oldie but goodie “Bugs of Washington and Oregon” by John Acorn and Ian Sheldon (Lone Pine) came out several years ago. We’ve used this book numerous times in the Extension Office to identify insect specimens brought in to the Bremerton office.

Many home gardeners are beginning to raise chickens. Check first to make sure the regulations in your area allow raising chickens. If it is permitted you will want to find “Keeping Chickens” by Jeremy Hobson and Celia Lewis (David & Charles). Every page is illustrated with color photographs. Instructions are given from start to finish, explaining how to select, raise, house and care for chickens. There’s even a section on how to make various crafts using chicken eggs and feathers. This is a very user-friendly, concise and complete book.

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