A beautiful and colorful garden brings so much satisfaction, in part because it takes work to produce luscious and colorful flowers. There is a time to plant, a time to cultivate, and a time to enjoy the "fruits of your labor."

If you’re like me, sometimes you need a little help with what to do in your garden. Information on the best plants, flowers, bulbs, and seeds, and when to plant them is a must for the novice gardener who is not a horticulturist.

The following books are my top ten garden books and my go to references for all my gardening needs.

1. The Impatient Gardener by Jerry Baker: Great information on how to grow green grass, gorgeous flowers, and great vegetables, without a green thumb. Jerry Baker is known as ‘America’s master gardener and he understands the hopes, dreams and fears we all have for our gardens. This handbook provides practical and important information for the gardener. It provides shortcuts, home remedies, and time-tested tips needed to have a healthy lawn, thriving trees and shrubs, gorgeous flowers, and fabulous vegetables.

2. Sunset Western Garden Book by Sunset Publishing Corporation in Menlo California: This supersized book contains more than 8,000 plant listings geared to Sunset’s Western climate zones; updated climate zone maps for all states, plus new maps for Alaska, Hawaii, and southwestern Canada; more than 30 great plant selection guides; and hundreds of how-to tips and techniques from Sunset’s garden experts.

3. The Complete garden flower book, Annuals Perennials Bulbs Shrubs Climbers by Murdoch books: This sizable book offers a host of ideas and advice about a vast range of different plants, from perennials to shrubs, and herbs to cacti. This is a fantastic resource which covers every flowering plant you can imagine, and show you how to get the most from your plants. This is a comprehensive guide for both the novice (me) and expert. The Complete Garden Flower Book includes everything you need to know to create a beautiful and harmonious flowering garden with inspirational opening sections offering exciting ideas and useful tips.

4. Bruce and Sharon Asakawa’s California Gardener’s Guide by Bruce and Sharon Asakawa: Well-known gardening expert, landscape architect, and radio communicator, Bruce Asakawa and his wife Sharon have put together a beautifully and well written guide for the California gardener.  They provide recommendations on more than 165 plants for California, with beautiful color photographs of several featured plants. There are fifteen chapters which cover everything from annuals to vines, including an extensive chapter on shrubs. There are useful zone maps showing every plant’s preferred growing location and information on planting, care, and the ever important pest control. If you want to get more satisfaction and enjoyment from your California garden, get Bruce and Sharon Asakawa’s California Gardener’s Guide.

5. The Garden Color Book 343,000 Combinations for your Garden by Paul Williams: A source of near endless inspiration. The Garden Color Book allows you to see a myriad of plant color combinations instantly. The innovative guide presents over 600 full-color photographs of individual plants, organized horizontally in swatches by color so that you can flip back and forth, mixing and matching, until ou find the perfect color scheme.  The concise plant profiles include information on propagation and bloom, as well as season and zone. Whether you need advice on vibrant borders or understated beds, the expertise of Paul Williams provides you with all the practical help you’ll need to make the right colorful plant choices for your garden. This book also has a zone map, plus suggestions for lovely landscape designs for 343,000 color combinations to create beautiful gardens year-round.

6. Botanica The Most Complete Garden Encyclopedia Ever Published by R.G. Turner Jr.: This is one of the most comprehensive illustrated guides to gardening ever published. More than four years in the making, it contains descriptive entries for over 10,000 plants arranged in A to Z order by genus, and is complemented by more than 6,500 vivid full color photographs. This book was put together by a team of specialty plant experts, gardening writers, and photographers from around the world. It includes entries with detailed plant descriptions and covers such wide ranging topics as cultivation requirements, propagation and pruning, pests and diseases, and hardiness zones.

7. Plants Are Still Like People by Jerry Baker: Author Jerry Baker is on the list for a second time, and for good reason. This book is chock-full of Baker’s unique, memorable advice and homespun gardening wisdom, plus a whole new collection of surefire tonics, tricks, and environmentally friendly concoctions for healthy blooms and thriving foliage, inside and out. You can learn to shampoo your lawn to eliminate ‘dandruff’; improve the posture of your tomato plants and pole beans; play the ‘host with the most’ to your annuals and perennials; battle an army of insects and other garden pets; give your shrubs a designer haircut; administer loving first aid to weather damaged trees; protect your posies from sunburn and frostbite; cajole your fruit trees into producing a bumper crop; and su much more. With seep-by-step and season-by-season instructions for total garden care, there’s no question why Jerry Baker has made this list twice.

8. The Practical Gardener’s Encyclopedia, The essential guide to creating a beautiful garden by Fog City Press: This book provides sound, practical advice on the right growing conditions, the right plants, and the right tools to use to care for your garden. The book is divided into five main sections and they are; Gardening basics; Creating your garden; The ornamental garden; The productive garden; and Encyclopedia of popular garden plants. The guide contains Step-by-step illustrations with more than 1,000 stunning photographs.

9. The New Flower Expert, Millennium Edition by D.G. Hessayon: This book provides information on garden flowers from A through Z, with advice on where and what to buy when looking for plants. The book also covers plant care, dividing plants, plant troubles and a glossary plus a plant index to keep everything in order and easy to find.

10. Flowering Gardens, Flowering Shrubs, Cutting Gardens, Ornamental Trees by Burpee: This book features environmentally sound and organic gardening practices; the authoritative review of Burpee’s staff of horticulturist and plant breeders; in-depth answers to questions most frequently asked of Burpee’s Customer Service; down-to-earth and easy-to-follow advice; through cross-referencing with Latin and common names for easy use; hundreds of fabulous and full color photographs; and the revised USDA plant hardiness map of the United States. All in this one source, the Burpee expertise and guidelines to turn your garden into the beautiful showplace it can be.

These are my top ten gardening books.

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