The Texas Garden Almanac is a giant monthly calendar (in book form) full of helpful tips about what to do in the garden based on the unique Texas environment. Very easy to use, the Texas Garden Almanac is set up so that all you have to do is open the book to the appropriate month and Doug’s excellent advice is laid out in an easy to understand strategy for gardeners of all expertise levels to use. It is written in an engaging conversational style and covers all the essential topics of growing trees, shrubs, vines, lawn, vegetables, herbs and fruit. Design themes are also included as well as key plant growing topics focusing on soil, mulch, water, dealing with pests and plant maintenance.
The Texas Garden Almanac tells how to create beautiful gardens and have fun doing it.
At the end of every chapter is a Timely Tips section with important points relating to flowering plants, garden design, soil & mulch, watering, plant care, trees, shrubs & vines, lawns, vegetables, fruits & herbs, houseplants and even a few points for butterflies, birds and squirrels.
Many diagrams have been added to illustrate key techniques, including many in the February chapter on pruning. Texas maps for the first and last average freeze dates, chilling hours, hardiness zones, and rainfall are very beneficial as an “at-a-glance” reference.
Many other handy charts and lists are included in The Texas Garden Almanac such as Bermudagrass cultivar comparisons (April chapter), deer-resistant plant lists (July chapter), when to plant fall vegetables (July chapter), and top trees for Central Texas recommended by Skip Richter (August chapter).
The book also contains design ideas on form, color and tips for the do-it-yourself landscaper in the September and October chapters.
Doug doesn’t balk at having a little fun while offering his sage advice. He lists the top 10 mistakes of Texas gardeners in the November chapter and has the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for gardeners and yardeners in the December chapter.
Even though most gardeners agree about the importance of soils for a successful garden, having a discussion about soil is most often not met with much enthusiasm. Soils 101, 201 and 301 in the January chapter do focus on the importance of good soil preparation, but Doug has written them in easy to understand terms with nothing harder to say or spell than alluvial (defined as river-deposited), sodic (salty) or microorganism. With a caution of “Don’t monkey with the soil too much”, Doug has again succeeded in making his soil lesson fun and educational.
One of the most unique pieces of advice that Doug gives is to encourage readers to think like a plant. In the January chapter he writes “Perhaps the greatest ability you can achieve in gardening is to think like a plant. If you can do so, then you can understand a plant’s needs, anticipate and respond to them, and most important, avoid problems associated with not meeting the plant’s needs.” Doug goes on to say that he knows that plants don’t actually think. But it is helpful for him to think like a plant- hopefully for readers too.
Doug Welsh’s Texas Garden Almanac is $24.95 with 512 pages, 6 color maps, more than 170 color illustrations and 50 black & white drawings. It is published by Texas A&M University Press and is available online at www.tamu.edu/upress. The book is illustrated by Aletha St. Romain (it has a wonderful Old Blush China Rose illustration for the January chapter among many other wonderful illustrations).
Doug Welsh is a professor and extension horticulturist at Texas A&M University and statewide coordinator for the Texas Master Gardener Program. Doug also hosts a gardening call-in radio show called Garden Success! on KAMU-FM 90.9 Thursdays from noon to 1 pm and provides gardening tips on television each week on The Weekend Gardener shown Fridays on KBTX-TV.
For more details about the Texas Garden Alamanac visit the Texas A&M University Press Consortium at http://www.tamu.edu/upress/BOOKS/2007/welsh.htm or call 1-800-826-8911