USDA Garden Site
If you're looking for a comprehensive collection of gardening publications, the USDA Gardening site is a terrific place to visit. You'll find something for every level of gardening, including planning a garden, soil nutrient management, pest control, backyard conservation, and environment-friendly practices. The gardening news section highlights new varieties, plus there are links to other plant- and nature-related government sites.
The New Flower Gardener
The New Flower Gardener, by Pippa Greenwood (Barnes & Noble Books, 2002; $13), is illustrated with photos gorgeous enough to inspire even a nongardener. The book starts by exploring the basics of flower gardening, including seed starting and proper planting techniques. Step-by-step instructions for rooting cuttings and dividing plants are accompanied by how-to photographs to help beginners gain confidence with their very first try. Plants are conveniently arranged in chapters according to shape ("Trumpets & Bells," "Spikes & Spires"), and each plant profile includes pertinent information about soil types, watering requirements, and mature size. The final section addresses topics such as choosing plants for specific sites and conditions, fast-growing flowers, and flowers for cutting. It's a bookshelf "must" for experienced and novice gardeners alike.