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Rick’s 2023 Winter Reading List

By Katherine Placzek

Winter is the perfect time to curl up with a book. Our staff has accumulated our favorite plant reads so you can get a stack of books from the library or your favorite local bookstore. All you need is a blanket and to start the tea kettle!


Plan a Colorful Garden for our Rugged Terrain:

Pretty Tough Plants:135 Resilient, Water-Smart Choices for a Beautiful Garden

by the Experts at Plant Select

Plant Select, the country’s leading brand of plants designed to thrive in high plains and intermountain regions, wrote the book on hardy high desert gardens- literally! This book will help you make a list of plants to seek out when it warms up. With amazing photos, each plant is described with specifics that are important for garden design, such as growing zones and light requirements. The selected plants include perennials and annuals, groundcovers, grasses, shrubs, and trees. Drool over each page, and complete your winter garden dreaming with this essential book!


Relish Edible Garden Designs:

Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 Plans That Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden

by Niki Jabbour

Based on actual gardens designed by celebrated gardeners and renowned landscapers, each of these 73 gardens offers unique solutions for your own garden. The garden layouts are illustrated, and list the edible plants included. You will find a pepper garden with over 24 pepper varieties, a garden that is in harmony with a chicken coop as its central feature, a cocktail garden, a balcony garden, and so many more niche ideas. Regardless of your space or experience, you will find something that will be new and exciting to you! Explore new species of eggplants, climbing tomatoes, edible flowers, and a plethora of ways to showcase the bounty in your vegetable garden.


Live an Insect’s Perspective:

The Bees

by Laline Paull

Throughout this novel, you will fall in love with the main character, Flora-717, a female bee in a honeybee colony. While scientific in many ways, it is a suspenseful and fantastical story in its own right. Experience predatory insects, pesticides, birds, weather, seasonal changes, human interactions, and the hive mentality from the perspective of a worker bee. The Bees will change how you view the life of a honeybee!


Drool Over Houseplants:

Plantopedia: The Definitive Guide to Houseplants

by Lauren Camilleri & Sophia Kaplan

This is a wonderful introductory guide for the houseplant enthusiast! 130 plants including foliage plants, succulents, and cacti are profiled. While as educational as a textbook, this book also doubles as a coffee table book due to its incredible images! You will be able to keep your houseplants happy and vibrant after reading this informative book. Plantopedia is a great gift for any houseplant lover!


For the Fledgling Plantswoman:

The Earth in Her Hands: 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants

by Jennifer Jewell

If you are inspired by seeing other individuals who are molding the future of the plant world, check out this beautiful book. 75 women are interviewed on their backstory of how they debuted in the plant world. Each individual is given a multi-page spread, and vivid pictures are included. You will meet nursery owners, photographers, vegetable farmers, flower farmers, activists, researchers, florists, plant breeders, seed collectors, and a myriad of other professionals.


A Mystery that Involves a Plant Poisoning:

A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons

by Kate Khavari

This lighthearted mystery introduces you to the world of Saffron Everleigh, who has just become a research assistant at the University College of London during the early 1920s. Plant lovers will enjoy the scenes located in various gardens, arboretums, and greenhouses. After a poisoning occurs, our fearless heroine is caught in the middle since her mentor is the main suspect. She undertakes the task of clearing her mentor’s name with her dashing sidekick, Alexander Ashton. This is the first book of a series, so feel free to get emotionally attached to the characters.


Calling All Beginning Vegetable Gardeners: 

The Kitchen Garden: A Month by Month Guide to Growing Your Own Fruits and Vegetables

by Alan Buckingham

This book is a great foundation for beginner and intermediate vegetable gardeners. The author provides you with detailed crop planners, indicating when to sow and how to care for more than 60 veggies, herbs, and fruits. Every month is broken into tasks. Discussion on growing zones occurs, so you can acclimate to the monthly tasks based on your region. Basic composting, Hugelkultur, and crop rotation processes are also covered. The author shares tips on maximizing your garden plot if sloped or uneven terrain is a concern, which is common in this area. Buckingham especially trains you in gardener’s foresight strategies. Get your feet wet and your hands dirty with this book!


A Gardener’s Contemplation:

Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education

by Michael Pollan

This was one of Michael Pollan’s first published books. If you know him as a food writer or culture shifter, reacquaint yourself with him as a gardener. His amusing stories have a retro feel due to their publishing year but are still relevant to how societal norms influence our lawns, yards, and gardens. He talks about the dichotomy between the wilderness and a garden. The book makes you consider the role that your yard plays in this conversation.


How to Start a Flower Farm:

Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms

by Erin Benzakein with Julie Chai

In Erin Benzakein’s debut book, you will be absorbed by the gorgeous photographs of colorful flowers, and her thoughtful design. Benzakein’s generous spirit shines through, as she guides you from a beginner’s understanding into the intricacies of large-scale cut flower farming. While reading the book you will learn about helpful tools of the trade, planting/care staples, the harvesting processes, and the art of flower arrangements. Soon enough, you will be dreaming of dahlias, zinnias, poppies, daffodils, anemones, ranunculus, and more!


A Throwback:

Silent Spring

by Rachel Carson

Initially released in 1962, this book helped the public understand the impact of pesticides. Rachel Carson, an American biologist, writer, and conservationist, researched the impacts of post-World War II pesticides, including DDT on songbird populations. Through the publication of this book, her audience was able to push for a nationwide ban on DDT. If you are able to pick up a physical copy, the illustrations are exquisite! The images were drawn by Lois and Louis Darling. Naturalist Sir David Attenborough expressed Silent Spring as a book that has changed the scientific world- a classic read for any gardener! 


A Reason to Plant Natives:

Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard

by Douglas W. Tallamy

Written by Dr. Douglas Tallamy, a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, this book will convince you to plant native plants in your yard. Tallamy explains why various insect larvae are keystone species, especially for bird populations. The book details how the landscape is changed when invasive or non-native plants are incorporated, and how natural food sources for wildlife are erased. This can be changed easily by planting native plants that provide dense nutrition as well as protective habitat corridors within the urban setting. Native plant guides and resources are provided throughout the book. Overall, a convincing and empowering read.


Learn to Garden on a Shoestring:

The Dirt Cheap Green Thumb: 400 Thrifty Tips for Saving Money, Time, and Resources as You Garden

by Rhonda Massingham Hart

This little book is chock full of clever ways to garden! The author is frank on how to save money while building a beautiful and productive garden. Enjoy humor and advice on the best ways to stretch your dollar, from starting seeds to preserving produce. The author explores all gardening, including edible and ornamental. Even seasoned gardeners will find resourceful tips in this helpful guidebook.


Summer 2024 tomato Variety List

In our newsletter we mentioned Rick’s would soon release our 2024 tomato list and we are excited to reveal it to you now! Inspired by Good Earth, we want to grow strong, and flavorful tomatoes of numerous varieties for next summer. Tomato seeds and plugs will be organic, while any shipped in from growers will be grown sustainably. The list below is what we will feature this summer if all goes according to plan!

Rick’s Deep Freeze Guide

In preparation for our first deep freeze coming this Sunday, Rick’s Garden Center would like to remind our fabulous customers to take some steps beforehand to help your plant friends and tools out.

  • Water in outdoor trees, shrubs and perennials and cover root balls with mulch.  Do not mulch up to the trunk.  Moist soil conducts earth heat better than dry soil.  The mulch will help keep in the heat and protect the sensitive root ball.
  • Rose bushes, mulch up to the graft union at the base of the rose trunk.  You can use a rose collar or just pile up mulch up to and above the graft union.  The graft union will look like a bulging area on the main trunk just above the soil line.
  • Bring in any tropical plants, cacti or succulents that are not at least a zone 5 inside.
  • Check and move any plants that are blown on by heat vents.  This will dry out the foliage in no time!
  • Outdoor trees, shrubs and perennials planted in pots should be insulated with burlap bags or mulch and placed against a south or west wall of your home.  Avoid watering these before the freeze.
  • Water in newly established lawns and grass.
  • Go ahead and plant those mums you bought in the ground..  They may come back next year!
  • Disconnect and drain all hoses and drips lines from spigots
  • Cover newly planted bulbs with leaf, needle or straw mulch.
  • Blow out that sprinkler system!
  • After the freeze, you do not have to pull up all of the dead material, so that pollinators and other insects have a place to overwinter.
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