The Dirt: Garden books tell you how to buy right plants and tools

  • Updated: February 4, 2014 - 3:03 PM

Jim Fox covers gardening fundamentals in “How to Buy the Right Plants, Tools & Garden Supplies.”

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the dirt

Learning gardening basics

Garden guides often teach people how to deadhead and treat for pests and improve the soil, but they don’t always share all the fundamentals beginners need — how to buy a shovel, for example, or where to buy plants.

Jim Fox covers those basics and more in “How to Buy the Right Plants, Tools & Garden Supplies” (Timber Press, $14.95).

Fox, a horticultural consultant who also works in the retail nursery business, based the book on the questions he’s been asked over the decades. Despite its title, the book is more than a buying guide. It focuses on helping readers choose plants that will thrive and invest wisely in implements, but it also helps them understand the conditions they’re growing in and teaches them how to plant properly.

Alternatives to problem plants

Garden designer and consultant Andrew Keys believes a lot of garden problems can be prevented just by choosing the right plants.

That’s the premise of his new book, “Why Grow That When You Can Grow This?” (Timber Press and is priced at $24.95)

Keys points out that many notoriously difficult plants have easy-care alternatives that resemble them closely. His book points out those problem plants and suggests what he calls “extraordinary alternatives.”

The book offers 255 alternatives for trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, grasses and ground covers.

Akron Beacon Journal

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