Check It Out: Get Gardening!

By Wendy Thomas

Spring has arrived, and for many, thoughts turn to the garden. This month, we feature gardening books recommended by Smiley Branch Library circulation clerk and seed librarian Ryan Hurd. Here are Ryan’s picks:

“Get Guerrilla Gardening: A Handbook for Planting in Public Places” by Ellen Miles

Part activism, part how-to, this bite-sized volume is perfect for beginning gardeners. From the publisher: “Guerrilla gardening is the global movement of people planting in public places. From scattering wildflower seeds onto road verges to building community allotments on vacant lots, these peaceful acts of rebellion are where flower power meets people power.”

“Plant Grow Harvest Repeat” by Meg McAndrews Cowden

Succession gardening ensures gardeners get the most out of their spaces and growing seasons by planting strategically, and this is just the guide to get you started. From the publisher: “Drawing inspiration from succession in natural landscapes, Meg McAndrews Cowden teaches you how to implement lessons from these dynamic systems in your home garden. You’ll learn how to layer succession across your perennial and annual crops; maximize the early growing season; determine the sequence to plant and replant in summer; and incorporate annual and perennial flowers to benefit wildlife and ensure efficient pollination.”

“Garden Alchemy” by Stephanie Rose

Chemistry meets cookbook in this DIY guide to seed bombs, fertilizers, pest deterrents and more. From the publisher: “This gardening recipe and project book is packed with over 80 ideas to naturally beautify your garden, using organic methods that regenerate your soil and revitalize your plants. By following the processes that are closest to nature, it brings the gardener in sync with the garden, allowing plants to thrive with less effort and less cost.”

“Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture” by Toby Hemenway

This step-by-step guide to designing an ecological garden provides information about the elements that make a garden sustainable and offers a multitude of design options. From the publisher: “‘Gaia’s Garden’ has sparked the imagination of home gardeners the world over by introducing a simple message: working with nature, not against her, results in more beautiful, abundant, and forgiving gardens.”

“The Windowsill Gardener” by Liz Marvin

Planting moves indoors in this charmingly illustrated book that covers houseplants, vegetables and herbs. From the publisher: “This book will teach you the basics of growing fruit, vegetables, herbs, and the very best indoor flowers, as well as tips and tricks to reuse your food scraps and reduce your waste as you experiment with seeds.”

“Rebel Gardening: A Beginner’s Handbook to Creating an Organic Urban Garden” by Alessandro Vitale

This gentle but comprehensive guide focuses on harmony between the plant, the soil and the gardener. From the publisher: “This is the ultimate beginner’s guide to establishing and tending an organic kitchen garden in any urban space, no matter how small, written by the YouTuber and TikToker known as Spicy Moustache.”

Check out these and other gardening books at the Denver Public Library branch near you and stop by the seed library at Smiley to get a start on your summer gardening. Join us on Saturday, April 20, 2-3 p.m. for Edible Landscaping presented by CSU Denver Master Gardeners. Learn more at

Wendy Thomas is a librarian at the Smiley Branch Library. When not reading or recommending books, you can find her hiking with her dogs.

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