Plano Reads: Gardens and Growing

The spring season can be a time for personal growth and change, especially as we venture back out into our yards and gardens. We hope this book list will offer you opportunities to experience reading that is both transformative and new.

For Adults

Nonfiction – A World of Growth

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman – Film producer Brian Grazer is known for his movies and for his series of “curiosity conversations” with accomplished men and women he has never met. This is a fascinating look at the ways in which becoming inquisitive can enhance and deepen our experiences, and might even change our lives. Print|

Find your Unicorn Space: Reclaim your Creative Life in a Too-Busy World by Eve Rodsky – From the New York Times bestselling author of Fair Play and “the Marie Kondo of relationships,” comes an inspirational guide for setting new personal goals, rediscovering your interests, cultivating creativity, and reclaiming your Unicorn Space.  Print|

The Flower Yard: Growing Flamboyant Flowers in Containers by Arthur Parkinson – Arthur Parkinson’s town garden is like a path of pots, a tiny, exposed stage on bricks. Despite its small size, a flower-filled jungle in Venetian tones is grown here each year. The plants act like drapes, closing gently as their growth engulfs the front door, from either side of the path, to the buzz of precious bees. This is gardening done entirely in pots, yet on a grand scale that will inspire anyone who wants their doorstep or patio to be a glamorous and lively canvas that nurtures them visually and mentally. With his bantam hens at his feet, Arthur shares his life, knowledge, flair and influences for planting creatively, all of which combine to create a space that’s rich in ever-changing color and life. Print|

Gardening Hacks: 300+ Time and Money Saving Hacks by Jon VanZile – Do you struggle to keep plants alive? Want to expand your current garden to include a wider variety of plants? Whatever your question, growing a healthy garden is as easy as following the hundreds of simple hacks in Gardening Hacks. So whether you’re counting down the days to harvest or looking for ways to finally master houseplants, grab your spade and dig in…the garden is open. Print|

Grow Green: Tips and Advice for Gardening with Intention by Jen Chillingsworth – Packed with easy tips and advice, this little book reveals how to adjust your outdoor space and create a wildlife haven, while reducing your impact on the environment as you grow your own cut flowers, fruit and vegetables. Print|

Grow Something Different to Eat by Matthew Biggs – Whether you’re a beginner and determined to make the most of limited space with a truly unique and heirloom harvest, or a seasoned grower looking to spice up your cooking with gourmet flavors, the step-by-step instructions give you the confidence to grow some unusually tasty crops. Choose from fruiting vegetables such as orange eggplants and hyacinth beans, salad greens such as fiddlehead ferns and sushi hostas, grains such as quinoa and chia, and luscious fruits such as honeyberries and white strawberries. All plants can be started indoors and transplanted, grown outdoors in the garden, or kept as houseplants. With versatile gardening advice for growing in a variety of spaces and situations, plus cooking suggestions and preserving options, a weird and wonderful harvest is guaranteed. Print |

Life in the Garden: A Memoir by Penelope Lively – “To garden is to elide past, present, and future; it is a defiance of time.” In this elegant and poetic memoir, novelist Penelope Lively takes up her key themes of time and memory, and her lifelong passions for art, literature, and gardening. Print |Audiobook|

The New Heirloom Garden: Designs, Recipes and Heirloom Plants for Cooks Who Love to Garden by Ellen Ecker Ogden – “Heirlooms are more than just delicious ingredients or beautiful flowers–their seeds offer us a connection with the earth, and each one tells a story. Author and garden lecturer Ellen Ecker Ogden was inspired to preserve the diversity of plants that are slipping away after learning that we have lost over 85% of the plant world in the last century to extinction. Ogden inspires us with a history of seed saving in this country, then guides gardeners of all levels to create their own heirloom gardens with tangible gardening tips, twelve themed garden designs, and detailed resources. The first half of the book shares specific garden plans, plant keys with descriptions, plant and seed wish lists, interviews with gardening experts, and even tips and tricks to handle your own local weather. The second half of the book contains 55 recipes for delicious entrees, sides, drinks, and desserts that can be made from each vegetable, fruit, and flower grown in your garden. Print|

The Overwhelmed Brain : Personal Growth for Critical Thinkers by Paul Colaianni – Your stress, anxiety and negative thoughts are huge obstacles to happiness. You must learn to make healthy decisions and place your needs first. This book provides proven methodologies for smarter, actionable ways to be true to yourself, build positive relationships, overcome stress and anxiety, stop self-sabotage, make smart decisions, and rise above your fears. With tips, anecdotes, exercises and expert advice, popular life coach and podcaster Paul Colaianni will empower you to take control over your emotional well-being and act on your dreams, goals and values. Print |

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey – A leading management consultant outlines seven organizational rules for improving effectiveness and increasing productivity at work and at home. One of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has captivated readers for nearly three decades. Print |eBook |Audiobook |CD/Play |


For Adults

Great ‘Green’ Fiction

The Darling Dahlias & the Cucumber Tree by Susan Wittig Albert – The Darling Dahlias are garden club members in a small Alabama town in the 1930s. Join them as they enjoy their community, grow lots of flowers, and get to the root of more than a few surprising mysteries. This is the first book in a delightful gardening series by Susan Wittig Albert. Print |Large Print 

Digging In by Loretta Nyhan – Paige Moresco found her true love in eighth grade and lost him two years ago. Since his death, she’s been sleepwalking through life, barely holding on for the sake of her teenage son. As Paige stares at her neglected lawn, she knows she’s hit rock bottom. So she does something entirely unexpected: she begins to dig. As the hole gets bigger, Paige decides to turn her entire yard into a vegetable garden. Print|

Garden in the Dunes by Leslie Marmon Silko – A child of an ancient Indian tribe, Indigo is orphaned and then adopted by an American family, but the white education forced upon her clashes with the centuries-old wisdom of her people. Her new family expects her to abandon the deep, instinctive knowledge that has become a part of her soul. But Indigo cannot forget her past — and she will change all their lives before finally returning to her own. Print|

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman – Iris Maynard lost her husband in World War II, her daughter to illness and, finally, her reason to live. Walled off from the world for decades behind the towering fence surrounding her home, Iris has built a new family … of flowers. Iris propagates her own daylilies and roses while tending to a garden filled with the heirloom starts that keep the memories of her loved ones alive. When Abby Peterson moves next door with her family – a husband traumatized by his service in the Iraq War and a young daughter searching for stability – Iris is reluctantly yet inevitably drawn into her boisterous neighbor’s life, where, united by loss and a love of flowers, she and Abby tentatively unearth their secrets, and help each other discover how much life they have yet to live. Print |eBook|

The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly – A novel set in England in three time periods – 1907, 1944, and the present – which tells the story of five women whose lives are linked by the once-beautiful Edwardian gardens of Highbury House. The craftmanship and comfort provided by work in gardens is an essential theme of this touching book. Print |eBook|

Thyme of Death by Susan Wittig Albert – The first volume in the China Bayles mystery series: China abandons her career as a criminal attorney to open an herb shop in the Texas Hill Country, and finds herself solving mysteries involving specific herbs, and more. Each book features a signature herb linked to its theme, and includes interesting details on growing and using herbs. Print


And for Younger Readers

Confidence Code for Girls: Taking Risks, Messing Up, and Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self  by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman – Girls can rule the world – all they need is confidence. This empowering, entertaining guide from the bestselling authors of The Confidence Code gives girls the essential yet elusive code to becoming bold, brave, and fearless. (Nonfiction) Print |eBook|

Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman – One by one, a number of people of varying ages and backgrounds transform a trash-filled inner-city lot into a productive and beautiful garden, and in doing so, the gardeners are themselves transformed. (Fiction) Print |eBook |Audiobook |CD | Play|

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