Fall and winter are great times of year to "bone up" on your garden reading. In addition to the books on designing your garden and growing specialty plants, pick up this new book by English author Mary Pratt. It will help you understand what's going on inside your soil and plants, making you a better gardener in the process. Practical Science for Gardeners (Timber Press, 2005; $24.95) delves into the basic science behind topics such as seed germination, plant propagation, and soil structure, in an entertaining and easy-to-understand manner. It also covers current hot topics, such as encouraging biodiversity in the garden, preserving wetlands, building ponds, and understanding genetically modified plants.
This is a great book for educators working with kids or any adult looking to fully grasp the inner world of their garden and plants. Pratt also peppers each chapter with practical tips on how to translate the scientific principles learned into useful gardening suggestions.
While specific plant examples pertain mostly to England and northern Europe, the principles highlighted are universal. The book also features a chapter on plant classification and naming, and a glossary of botanical terms.
For more information on Practical Science for Gardeners, go to: Timber Press.