Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Favorite Herb Books

Yesterday I shared with you my favorite place to buy herbs - 4 Bees Herb Farm.  Now today I want to share with you my favorite herb books which provide me with guidance and inspiration. 

The one I turn to most often for inspiration is The Herbalist Garden - A Guided Tour of 10 Exceptional Herb Gardens by Shatoiya and Richard de la Tour (2001).  I simply adore this book.  Featuring all types of herb gardens from big retail, yet still farm-like, gardens like the famed Caprilands, to medicinal gardens like the "Farmacy", to meditation gardens.  The two gardens I most turn to are at Plimoth Plantation and a backyard urban farm - which is tiny, but full of ideas.

Another favorite oldie, but goodie is Herbs - Gardens, Decoration, and Recipes by Emelie Tolley and Chris Mead (1985).  If you are old enough to remember when Mary Emmerling was all the rage in country decorating, you probably remember Emelie and Chris.  Chris was Mary's longtime boyfriend and photographed many of her magazine features and books.  Emelie's herbs also appeared in some of Mary's books.  As the title says, it shows several gorgeous herb gardens, interesting decorations and crafts, and several ways to use herbs in the kitchen.  It is a big, beautiful coffee table-type book and is a treasure trove of ideas.

Florida Home Grown 2 - The Edible Landscape by Tom MacCubbin (1989) is not only about herbs, but it does have a great herb section.  This is probably my favorite all around gardening book.  From my photo below, you can see it is well-worn from much reading over the years.  If you are exploring turning part or all of your yard into an edible landscape, including herbs, this is the book for you.  Every time I look at the blueprint of different levels of edible landscaping that are featured in the book, I get so excited!  I really feel like everyone should have at least a partially edible landscape, if possible, even if it is only trees, bushes, and container gardening. 

Just a word about an edible landscape....I view an edible landscape as a food source for not only humans, but also birds, butterflies, insects, etc., so to me, there is a wide range of landscaping plants that can be used, and not only fruits and vegetables.

One of the reasons I like this next book, Herbs and Spices for Florida Gardens by Monica Moran Brandies (1996) is because it breaks herb gardening down into North, Central, and South Florida.  It also tells about specific gardens in each area where you can visit and learn more about growing herbs in your immediate climate zone.  It has a wealth of information.

My last go-to herb book is Uncommon Scents - Growing Herbs and Spices in Florida by Hank Bruce (1996).  This one I find interesting because not only does it give you information about growing herbs in Florida, but it also gives you more "down home" type chapters like The Herbal Pharmacy, Herbs in the Home and Floral Decor, Herbal Insecticides, and the Florida Dyer's Garden - all which I find fascinating.

I do hope you will try your hand at growing herbs, if you haven't already.  It is so rewarding.  Tomorrow's post will show you my small herb garden.  I can't wait to share it with you!

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