A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Winter Reading

We had our Master Gardener midterm exam yesterday. It was more difficult than I anticipated, not to mention the fact that I had worked all night prior to the exam. I was so tired that I had difficulty recalling information. But I'm fairly sure I passed and that's all that matters. I came home to a box from Amazon.com, my Christmas gift to myself. It had apparently arrived the day before, but I didn't see it in the dark when I got up so it stayed out all night in the pouring rain. Luckily, Amazon.com packages their merchandise very well and the books I had ordered survived their ordeal in excellent shape.

During the winter when I can't garden outside, I like to garden in my mind. I spend the frigid months curled up with catalogs and books, dreaming and planning. One of the books I ordered, Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, is owned and highly recommended by several members of my Master Gardener class. When we were planning our herb beds, the instructor encouraged us to bring in books and catalogs to help. This book was on more desks than any other.

I've been browsing through it since yesterday. It is absolutely marvelous. It has in depth histories of many herbs (truly heirlooms!), cultivation instructions, uses, garden plans, crafts using herbs, dying information, healing with herbs, cooking with herbs and an extensive list of dangerous herbs. I'm sure there's more. I just haven't gotten to it. Rather than just using it as a reference, I will be reading this one cover to cover.

Another book I am hoping will be as good is being offered by Park's Seeds. It's called Success with Seed. It has pictures of the seeds, seedlings and mature plants for over 400 genera and species as well as germination information. I'm hoping this will be a huge help to me because I grow so many things from seed and try new things every year. Maybe this year I won't find myself staring at seedlings wondering if they are weeds or something that I planted! I'll order this when I place my seed orders in January.


At 8:15 AM, Blogger crazygramma said...

I'm sure you did well an the exam, but keep us posted. I recently put back a magazine with Christmas ideas and grabbed a gardening one instead, guess the gardener does not hibernate like our beds.

At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Judith said...

I remember that MGA test...hard, they are! I like to garden in my mind in the winter too--well put. In fact, my mind never stops, almost to exhaustion. And to come home to a box of books is bliss! Success w/Seed sounds like a good one--thanks for sharing info.

At 9:46 PM, Blogger kerry said...

Hey good luck on the exam. I just finished finals and while it had nothing to do with gardening it is a great feeling to get a test over with.

I own the Rodale Herb book and LOVE it. I've had mine for several years now and consult it often.

At 1:58 AM, Blogger Sylvana said...

Oh! passed! I read it as passed out! That would have made for very different test results, I think.

I thought about taking the Master Gardener course, but what do you do with it? Is it really useful if you are just a hobbyist?

At 5:18 AM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Sylvana, Master Gardeners volunteer in the community as part of the local extension service. Here's a link to New Jersey's Master Gardener program: RCRE Master Gardeners. I'm sure the program in Wisconsin is similar.

At 9:35 PM, Anonymous Judith said...

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you! It has been wonderful getting to know you through your garden. 'See' you in the new year. Happy Holidays & Peace to All!


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