Why am I in the closet?

Because I want to show you my garden library.


As you may know, we're doing a remodel. We decided halfway through to get new carpet upstairs (because when everything is already chaos, why not invite more, right?) Well, today we got new carpet installed, and here it is.


It feels nice under my bare feet.

Yesterday we moved everything out of upstairs, and today we're moving it all back in. Part of the remodel involved some redecorating, and that freed up this Ikea Billy. I'm putting it in my closet to contain my growing collection of garden reference material.


The rumors are true. I have a Barbie switchplate.


I got this at an arts festival in Charleston, South Carolina in 1997. I honestly have no idea why I have this. I'm not into Barbie. Even as a flaming little gayboy, I wasn't that in to dolls.

My ex-boyfriend who is from Canada (Newfoundland--"the Texas of Canada" in his words) gave me the moose. The Return of the Jedi cup I found in my grandmother's basement, and my dad made the box.


My dad likes to make pine boxes and I have a couple of them. I keep miscellaneous crap in this one.


This isn't staying here. It's just starting out here.

I think I promised you a bug-eyed vagina soft sculpture. Here you go.


It can hang on the wall, but I like it on the shelf.

Okay, so I want to show you my garden library.

My favorite books are specific to California.


This is the book for vegetable gardening in San Francisco. Honestly, I can't imagine how anyone would even begin to grow vegetables in weird, foggy San Francisco without this vital book (well, there is a newer edition but I have this one).


For my money, this is absolutely the porniest plant book I know of--put out by the East Bay Municipal Utility District if you can believe that.


Here on page 210 is one of its hottest shots. This garden really turns my crank. Pictures of it show up in numerous books and I would love to see it IRL.


As much as I like that book, this would be the book I'd take home to mother.


Author Glenn Keator is a California hort god among men (and women), and this is a very, very good book that just came out this year. You could build several different types of native gardens with this book. And he makes bold endorsements for plants one might not think of as strong garden material, like bladder pod. I like that.

Ah, my first love. This book came a few years ago and did a lot to excite and renew interest in growing natives. Four or five excellent books on that subject have come out in the last couple years. But this was the first, and it set the bar high.


I think this is a good book for home gardeners, but I think it's even better for designers and landscape professionals. It has a slight bias toward southern California (the authors are from southern parts) and it has a lot of big trees. Torrey Pines and Sequoias are going to be too big for most people, even with 3/4 acre lots in the 'burbs (says the guy with a buckeye in his 450 sq ft garden--okay, well, whatever.)

Ceanothus reads like scholarship. I haven't really bonded with it yet.


And I haven't even cracked this one.


Strybing has a class on native grasses and bulbs this fall (taught by Glenn Keator, in fact). I would take it, but I'm taking "Plants and Animals of California" at City College on the same night. If that class gets canceled, I'll take the Strybing class instead.

Nevin Smith rounds out the list of recently published books I have on gardening with CA natives. This guy heads up a division at Suncrest Nursery, a huge wholesale operation in Watsonville I visited last year with some folks from the Botanical Garden. Good information about propagation in this book.


Some luscious pocket porn.


Author Scott Medbury moved to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden a couple years ago.

This out-of-print book sometimes turns up on Amazon for lots of money, but you can find it for less with a little bit of effort. (And you can always ask me to look something up for you.)


Judith Larner Lowry (Larner Seeds) wrote California's answer to Henry Mitchell. This thrilling book gave me goose bumps the first time I read it.


I rarely consult this massive tome, although the Soils chapter is excellent.


I love this old Sunset! This is the 7th printing (1964) of the 2nd edition (1954). So interesting to read the old Sunsets. Here, for example, is where I learned one grafts plum scions on peach stock, but not the other way around.


I have two Cynthia Westcott books, one on diseases, and one on bugs. She gives thorough lifecycle information and identification tips. Don't read these books for remedies tho'. It's all about horrible chemicals that were banned long ago.


I have a few books on trees. This one is my favorite for identification.


Elizabeth McClintock was an excellent writer and California horticulturist; she wrote this book about the trees of Golden Gate Park.


I just got this yesterday when I took some books in for trade at the used bookstore a few blocks away.


And this one too. There's a lot of stuff in here about good trees for container gardening which is something I'm interested in right now.


(My dad gave me that card.)

I don't have every issue of Pacific Horticulture, but I'm working on it.


I tried building my own pond a couple years ago; it was horrible. But this is a very good book if you want to try doing that but be careful because it makes it all look so easy. It's not. I have a plan for a smaller, simpler water feature project for next year, so I'm keeping this book for awhile.


I have a few design books for small gardens. I enjoyed this one even though I don't live in the northwest.


I thought this was very good for small gardens.


What else...


Rudy Rucker...love him. After all these years, I've only kept two chemistry books, boranes and mechanisms. I haven't read that A.M. Homes book. I bought it because Los Angeles fascinates me. The Thief Lord I borrowed from my friend's 8-year-old. He said it was really good (and so did his mother), but I just can't get in to it.

My dad took this picture in Maine. I broke the glass and haven't gotten it fixed because Guy doesn't like the picture. He doesn't approve of hunting, so he doesn't want to see the hunting decoys hanging on the wall.


Don't get between a gay man and his dumbbells.


I saw Rufus Wainwright twice in 1999, the second time at the Fillmore. Which is an especially cool place to see a concert because they give out free posters after the show.


I bought this painting of Spike on EBay. Guy's parents think it's James Dean and they think I'm really into James Dean and they're always giving me James Dean stuff.


We have some games, but mostly we pay rummy.


My dad likes to play Stratego, and he's very good at it. Every once in awhile I beat him, but not very often. Dark Shadows is Guy's game from childhood, based on the soap opera (the game, not Guy's childhood). It's like one or two steps up from Candyland, but it's fun and we play it when his parents are here. I love Scrabble but can't find anyone good to play with. Who doesn't like Monopoly. And we have Mad Libs and Uno and Yahtzee and dominoes and backgammon. And Chinese checkers.

I bought this from an artist on Market Street hawking his wares to tourists. Of course, I paid way too much money for it. I used to like tacky art more than I do now.


Nowadays, I mostly just like to garden.


JvA said...

Fiendish fun!

I love your dad's photo. The bug-eyed vagina soft sculpture, less so.

Pam/Digging said...

I enjoyed the tour of your garden library. It's nice to see the covers
the books as well as get your quick summary of each one. I have a page
devoted to my favorite garden books too, but no cover pics, alas:

chuck b. said...

Guy hates the soft sculpture too. It was the one thing of mine he forbade from public space when we moved in together. (He would have allowed the duck decoys, but I understood his feelings about it. I like that picture too.)

Pam, sorry for the glitch. Aren't book covers cool? I always like book covers.

Delphine said...

"cigarettes and chocolate" is my favorite Rufus wainwright's song...

lisa said...

Heh...I think I agree with Guy about the vag sculpture, even though it's hilarious! I like the book summaries, too, do you do reviews on Amazon when you buy stuff? Much as I like to read reviews, I've been pretty lax posting my own. That Dark Shadows game cracks me up-it was my sister's and my fav show back in the day...Barnabus Collins and all that...what a blast from the past. As for Barbie....;-)

Anonymous said...

very tacky, all of it. you know, like your neighbors back yard. you poor soul.

Amy Stewart said...

I love that painting.

chuck b. said...

Lisa, have you tried watching Dark Shadows in modern times? It's impossible! Interesting that it ever happened, really.

Amy, I go back and forth on that painting. I like heavy paint, and I like the knife technique.

lisa said...

Funny you should mention that, I felt the same way after trying to watch The Beverly Hillbillies...I used to think it was hilarious, now it just seems stupid.

Jenn said...

Nice Spike.

And that sculpture is an essay all on it's own. Bug eyed? With pearls foaming out of it? Hmmm. Interesting.