Perpich News

Books About Plants and Gardening from Perpich Library

May 23, 2023

Happy May! It’s the time of year when Minnesotans finally emerge from their homes and the color green starts to emerge from the trees and the ground. In honor of the beginning of the growing season, the library is showcasing books about plants, flowers, and gardens.

All items on this list are available at the Perpich library. Click on titles for more information.

1. Botanical Illustration in Watercolor by Eleanor B. Wunderlich
In this volume Wunderlich shows the watercolor artist how to recreate the colors and textures found in nature. The lessons include where to find subjects, how to design a composition faithful to nature, and how to draw and paint plants, from initial sketch to finished work.

2. Botany for the Artist by Sarah Simblet
Investigates the extraordinary structure and variety of every type of plant – from mosses and lichens to flowers and trees – and teaches the reader how to draw them.

3. The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan
Focusing on the human relationship with plants, the author uses botany to explore four basic human desires, sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control, through portraits of four plants that embody them: the apple, tulip, marijuana, and potato. Every school child learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers, in this book, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship.

4. Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults by Robin Wall Kimmerer, adapted by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt
Drawing from her experiences as an Indigenous scientist, botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer demonstrated how all living things—from strawberries and witch hazel to water lilies and lichen—provide us with gifts and lessons every day in her best-selling book Braiding Sweetgrass. Adapted for young adults by Monique Gray Smith, this new edition reinforces how wider ecological understanding stems from listening to the earth’s oldest teachers: the plants around us. With informative sidebars, reflection questions, and art from illustrator Nicole Neidhardt, Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults brings Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the lessons of plant life to a new generation.

5. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: 550 Herbs and Remedies for Common Ailments by Andrew Chevallier
Introducing the newly revised Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, a one-stop healing book with everything you need to know about herbs, featuring a detailed layout of over 550 plants and their medicinal properties, with advice on how to sow, grow, and harvest your very own herb garden! It features tons of tips and tricks on planting and propagating a diverse range of herbs with the core focus on improving your health and treating your ailments with a little help from nature.

6. Minnesota School Gardens: A Guide to Gardening and Plant Science by Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture in the Classroom Program
In addition to instructions for establishing and maintaining a school garden in Minnesota, this guide contains 31 plant–science based lessons that assist in embedding its content into the classroom. All lessons are correlated to core curriculum concepts and Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in science, social studies, language arts, math and nutrition. The subjects of this guide – plants, gardening and food – inspire a natural curiosity in students and lead to incredible hands-on opportunities and experiential learning.

CLICK HERE to access this resource online.

7. Native American Gardening: Stories, Projects and Recipes for Families by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac
Using tribal tales from across the country as inspiration, the authors provide practical information about seed preservation, planting and maintaining the garden, reaping and cooking the harvest.

8. Plant Kingdoms: The Photographs of Charles Jones by Charles Jones, Sean Sexton, & Robert Flynn Johnson
A stunning collection of portraits of vegetables, fruits, and flowers by a turn-of-the-twentieth-century visionary. This volume presents Jones’s photography in sections devoted to vegetables, flowers, and fruit, with captions taken from Jones’s own identifications, written by hand on the back of the prints.

9. Plants Have So Much to Give Us, All We Have to Do Is Ask by Mary Siisip Geniusz, edited by Wendy Makoons Geniusz, illustrated by Annmarie Geniusz
Mary Siisip Geniusz makes Anishinaabe botanical information available to native and nonnative healers and educators and emphasizes the Anishinaabe culture that developed the knowledge and practice. Teaching the way she was taught—through stories—Geniusz brings the plants to life with narratives that explain their uses, meaning, and history.

10. Strength of the Earth: The Classic Guide to Ojibwe Uses of Native Plants by Frances Densmore
From techniques for tapping maple trees and harvesting wild rice to extracting dyes from bloodroot to making dishes from birch bark and dolls with cattails, Strength of the Earth details the many uses of over 200 forest and prairie plants. Early twentieth-century ethnologist Frances Densmore recorded traditions and techniques relayed by dozens of Ojibwe women to create this invaluable handbook perfect for readers interested in Native American art and culture, organic gardening, natural remedies, and living off the land. Brenda J. Child offers a fresh introduction focusing on the power of female healers in Native communities.

All items on this list are available at the Perpich Library.