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Friday ó May 28, 2004

Arts and Entertainment

In the garden through pages

Express Staff Writer

Garden books come out every year, all more colorful and artistic, shinier and more thorough, revised and updated. Itís all such fun. Imagine being able to grow gardens like the ones pictured. Imagine a Celtic cross herb garden, a circular garden with a central pond, a stone arbor with flowering vines or a meandering glen with a profusion of astilbe and ferns.

Informational books are always a great joy, especially if they are pertinent to our area. I recently received as a gift "The New York Times 1,000 Questions and Answers," published by Workman Press. I love the way itís laid out, section by section. Unfortunately, much of it, culled from the Timeís gardening column, pertains to the climate and zones in the East. Nonetheless, itís a great read with lots of exceedingly helpful information.

On the other hand, Sunsetís "Western Garden Book" is specifically designed for the Western zones and is frequently updated.

Itís hard not to fall under the lure of garden picture books, if only for inspiration. One of my favorites is Mike Halesí "Gardenís Around the World: 365 Days." The curiously shaped hardback covers more than 150 gardens from Los Angeles to Connecticut and New York to Alhambra, the Cotswolds in England, as well as Bali and Brazil, all in gorgeous, intimate photographs.

"New Gardens of the American West" also is a lovely residential landscape coffee table book by Design Workshop. Many of the sites depicted are located in the Aspen, Colo., area since many of the landscape designers referenced are based there.

"The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Garden Plants" is a hefty volume providing listings for every possible garden plant imaginable. In fact, the book covers over 15,000 plants.

It features more than 4,000 full-color photographs and 8,000 descriptions of plants. This tome is thorough and gorgeous, though not a book to take out to the garden with you. Published in October 2003, at 752 pages in hardback, itís a back breaker to haul around.

Though I havenít seen it, Iím dying to get my hands on gardening guru Fran Sorinís book "Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening."

Another one thatís on my new list is "Paths of Desire" by House & Garden magazine editor Dominque Browning. Like an old fashion garden writer, her life, her garden, her mind are all engaged. Itís an account of making a garden and confronting idiosyncratic ecosystems in a garden as well as life.

So, read on and dig deep.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.