Picture Snob

May 3, 2010

The Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible: the complete guide to both the birds and the food

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This book is both enjoyable to browse because of its color photos(there are 275 photos, line art(125 illustrations), and it is useful as a home reference because of its alphabetical arrangement. It has an enormous amount of information on attracting, feeding, and observing birds. The entries vary in length from half a page to multiple pages for broad or complex topics such as the benefits of fruiting plants (trees, blueberry shrubs, strawberry plants, etc.) as a source of both food and shelter

The pages devoted to the birds themselves--from blackbirds to wrens-- offer a description of each (including a color photo), a list of each bird's favorite foods, and a discussion of its behavior.

The authors then provide extensive lists of flowers, fruit, berries, vegetables, plants, and
seeds that attract birds, and detailed information on everything from baffles, banding, binoculars, bird counts, bird watching, binoculars, and field guides to discussions of bird communication, bullies and nuisance birds, and bird migration.

There are instructions included on how to photograph and draw birds, and how to build birdbaths and feeders; and there are recipes for bird-seducing treats, who knew? which will tempt your favorite birds to come back for more. Theirs truly is a comprehensive guide for bird enthusiasts.

At The Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible: The A-to-Z Guide To Feeders, Seed Mixes, Projects, And Treats (Rodale Organic Gardening Book) (Paperback)

Marilyn Renaker at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 27, 2010

Western Garden Book: The gardening bible for those west of the Rockies

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This is a new edition of the Western Garden Book, one of the first books I bought when I started gardening forty years ago and I still use it. It is not ideological, promoting neither organic or chemical based gardening. It just has 8000 different plants, 500 of them new to read about and select from. It gives you the information on what plants to grow, how to nurture them, and where they do the very best. There is also updated information on the Western climate zones and thirty Plant Selection Guides, plus a Practical Guide to Gardening with basic advice on plant care and essential gardening techniques.

When I came to this old homestead, I knew nothing about gardening and this book helped me get a grasp on how to proceed. I'm still using it. For the new house I"m building I have about five acres totally leveled and waiting for some landscaping. This book is going to be invaluable to me in planning a landscape surrounding my living area which is beautiful to look at and easy to care for. Wouldn't think of starting without it.


At Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts (Sunset Western Garden Book) (Paperback)

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April 22, 2010

Squirrel Wars will help you outsmart backyard pests

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As I mentioned in a blog about birdfeeders, there is no way to keep the seed off the ground which attracts the squirrels in backyards and drives homeowners crazy trying to scare the pests away. In the greater Boston area, squirrels are numerous and bold. When we put our birdfeeder up, there they were ready to eat. Since the feeder closes when a squirrel climbed up to the seed container, they soon learned they could just hit the pole and knock seed to the ground where they could easily munch away without strain or effort. It was absolutely maddening.

We went to the local five and dime store trying to find a sling shot as we imagined the satifaction of hitting them with a small stone and the delight in watching them run. To our dismay, we discovered sling shots as well as bb guns were illegal in greater Boston! The romance of the birdfeeder slowly waned as the squirrels were not content to eat bird seed, but began to dig and eat the bulbs we had planted. What to do?

There are a couple of books out that might help with the problem. The most extensive is Squirrel Wars. This book contains remedies for squirrel infestation, and a chapter each on other backyard pests and how to rid yourself of them without firearms. Harrison, the author, is a respected nature writer also known for his public television specials on bird watching. He describes the mammals, birds, and insects considered common backyard pests and entertainingly documents problems homeowners have experienced and offers sound advice to minimize the nuisances. Harrison addresses such topics as raccoons in chimneys, rabbits in the garden, and rats around birdfeeders and what to do about such intrusions into the backyard.

Outwitting Squirrels by Bill Adler, Jr. focuses only on his manic attempt to stop squirrels from eating his birdseed and is amusing as well as claiming 101 ways to stop squirrels. At any rate, it's comforting to know others have been bothered by backyard pests and to be given new hope of ridding yourself of them.


At Squirrel Wars: Backyard Wildlife Battles & How to Win Them

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March 24, 2010

Breck's pride itself on it's expertise in bulbs

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Surprisingly Breck's is in Indiana, but they say they have buyers in the Netherlands 187 Years of Experience Assures Superior Bulbs for Your Garden
They say, "No organization has more knowledge about which bulbs grow and bloom best in all sections of the U.S. than Breck's. We take advance reservations, and then just as soon as the crops are harvested, our staff of Dutch Bulb Experts makes an on-the-spot selection of the finest bulbs available to fill those reservations.
Breck's full-time staff of bulb experts spends the entire year in Holland devoting themselves to obtaining cream-of-the-crop bulbs for shipment to our customers in America. Our experts all come from Dutch families who have been growing and marketing bulbs for several generations. They know how to pick the very best.

Ordering from Breck's is like having your own personal buyer right in Holland."

Sound good? I'm wishing I had the job in the Netherlands. Sounds like fun. Right now they are shipping the spring perennials, all the well known ones such as Iris, Lilies, Dahlias and Gladiaoli as well as the lesser known. The lesser known shade plants include Old fashioned Bleeding Heart for $14.99. The sun plants have peonies and bea balm.

They have spring shipped collections from $30 to $60 with your pick of Dahlias, Lilies, and Phlox among others. The great thing about Breck's is that there are very few customer complaints. The orders arrive on time; they are in good shape and exactly what was ordered. Right now there is a sale coupon for $25 off your order

At Breck's

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March 11, 2010

The New Seed Starter's Handbook is well worth a second look

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This is a timely book which is detailed and encourages the gardener to start her own plants from seed. The book begins with the reasons for starting plants at home. You get stronger, healthier and organic plants. The varieties are also much more diverse if you grow your own vegetables.

The author takes you step by step through picking the seed and understand the conditions that encourage sprouting and growth. There is a section on diseases and pests. She covers greenhouses and their benefits and problems, potting soil mixes, and everything you should know about seeds. I like that she mentions planting flowers and vegetables together. I have never done that, but why not make the rows beautiful by mixing in colorful flowers? This is a great book for those of us who would like to try or continue to improve our ability to grow our own plants from seed.

The book is out now in paperback so the price is right.

At The New Seed Starter's Handbook (Paperback)

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February 19, 2010

Territorial Seed catalog has everything I need

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It's time to order seed and the Territorial seed catalog is here. Although i spend time perusing every catalog that comes, I keep coming back to Territorial to buy everything but the specialty items that have caught my eye elsewhere. Here I get all the standard vegetables whose seed I haven't saved from last year's garden and also the hybrids that I have to buy new every year.

Territorial is located in Oregon and their catalog covers everything from artichokes to Zznnias, with ten pages on tomaotes and again on lettuce and European greens. I'm always amused to see Purslane in the greens section of catalog because it grows as a weed in my garden and the first few years, I tired finding a way of making it delicious and failed. Now I till it under as it makes a good green manure. They have large section on herbs and also flowers and are introducing a gorgeous orange red Coral Reef echinacea that comes only as a plant, but would really brighten a tall border.
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The catalog includes fruits and berries and the obliatory seed starter kits. There are greenhouse growing supplies and season extenders. Now red mulch is being sold as well as the red Kozy-coat water filled plant protectors which I'm going to try as my family is coming in early summer and it would be great to have some tomatoes for them to pick. I'm also getting the BirdBlock protective netting. It is 3/4" propylene mesh and will go over my corn row to see if I can keep the crows and bluejays from eating the corn before I can get to it.

It's a great feeling to know the seeds are ordered and on the way. I can sit back and relax and wait for the soil to warm up(and dry out!)

At Territorial Seed

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February 17, 2010

The New Seed Starter's Handbook is revised and informative

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This is a timely book which is detailed and encourages the gardener to start her own plants from seed. The book begins with the reasons for starting plants at home. You get stronger, healthier and organic plants. The varieties are also much more diverse.

The author takes you step by step through picking the seed and understand the conditions that encourage sprouting and growth. There is a section on diseases and pests. She covers greenhouses and their benefits and problems, potting soil mixes, and everything you should know about seeds. I like that she mentions planting flowers and vegetables together. I have never done that, but why not make the rows beautiful by mixing in colorful flowers? This is a great book for those of us who would like to try or continue to improve our ability to grow our own plants from seed.

At The New Seed Starter's Handbook (Paperback)

Marilyn Renaker at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 8, 2010

How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office

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This is a great book. I bought it for my daughter and her husband when they first moved into their house. The place had just been painted and I was worried about the fumes from carpeting and paint. But the book offered much more. There are studies conducted by NASA which show that plants remove pollutants from the air. The book has great photos of houseplants and a very easy to read scale which shows what pollutants each plant removes, how easy the plant is to care for, and how beset by insects it might be. We went for a Fincus, Dumb Cane, Peace plant, and an English Ivy. My strategy was to buy the easy to care for plants that removed a lot of pollutants and to see how well they survived in my daughter's household where no one much is interested in caring for them.

The Fincus lasted several years and finally for no apparent reason, started dropping all it's leaves and died. But the several year were worth it. It's a lovely tree and can grow very tall under the right conditions. A teacher friend of mine had one ten feet tall in her classroom. The Dumb Cane was very attractive and lasted longer. The three suvivors of the original picks are Pothos, Snake plant, the English Ivy, and Spider plant.

I'm building a new house and am going to use this book to pick out house plants. I'll have plenty of light and so am looking forward to another Fincus and some rubber plants. I want to grow a Dumb Cane really big also. I loved that plant. It's exciting to think that these lovely plants will also help clean the air and keep it fresh for me year round.

I repeat. "This is a great book!"

At How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office

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December 22, 2009

The Medici Creating Sacred Space for Healing, Celebration, and Tranquillity

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Here is a inspiring book to give to someone interested in healing arts and garden herbs. It give ideas for creating garden space that uses Native American mystical symbolism to describe how to put together a garden that heals body and soul. The author clearly explains the basic layout of a "medicine wheel" garden. Also covered are traditional plants and why certain colored plants belong in the different quadrants of the circle. He also offers an illustrated encyclopedia of 50 healing herbs, as well as recipes that incorporate those herbs. The author observed that his happiest and healthiest patients had green thumbs. He introduces his concept of the "soul garden" and he draws from literature and scientific studies, among other sources, to back up his claim that, like Voltaire's Candide, people would be happier and less stressed out if they would just sit back and watch their gardens grow.

At The Medicine Wheel Garden: Creating Sacred Space for Healing, Celebration, and Tranquillity

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December 8, 2009

From Vines to Wines: A complete beginners guide to making wine

51JSHJSKA8L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_.jpgNow that I am set on planting some wine grapes, I'm getting this book recommended by a local vintner. This book gives the basics in understandable terms. It helps you select the best grapes for the area and discusses varieties so that you can choose a grape that will grow and produce the wine you want. But it doesn't stop there. It goes into the winemaking process and does so in a conversational tone which gives you confidence that, you too, can make some really good wine. I'm still thinking about "new wine" and have decided that 10 plants should give me enough juice to have several gallons of tangy fermented grape juice. A great holiday drink.

At From Vines to Wines: The Complete Guide to Growing Grapes and Making Your Own Wine (Paperback)

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