Everybody does it. While searching diligently for something we ''know is around here somewhere," we manage to find something else we've long forgotten about. So recently, while searching for a book on knitting, a new passion that seems like a wonderful way to spend cold evenings, I happened upon, not one, or even two, but many stashes of books on gardening.
I knew I had lots of books on gardening, but really had no idea how many. So many, in fact, I have no idea what I have. I have always been a bit ''bookish.'' Not only that, but I often bounce around from one interest to another, collecting stuff as I go. None of those interests; however, have created the accumulation of as many books on my shelves as gardening.
I am always interested in new plants, new books and new methods, but even I have to admit my obsession is seasonal. In January, I begin to get the itch. Perhaps it is the confinement of winter. I begin by collecting seed catalogs, sketch paper, graph paper, rulers and pencils for the sole purpose of revamping the entire landscape. I plan my vegetable garden row by row. I look at new plant varieties to get an idea of what old stuff I want to bring back and what new stuff I want to try. I draw various sections of the garden, garden by garden, or if I am really feeling ambitious, I buy huge sheets of graph paper and draw scale drawing of the entire yard. I really have done this, so don't laugh.
I am not an artist, nor am I a landscape designer, so my drawings are crude and most likely can only be interpreted by me. But that's OK because no one needs to be looking at my drawings other than myself, or perhaps my husband, who will look at a drawing, give a little nod of understanding and then go off and do what he wants to do anyway.
Now the season is among us. It is early December, and my daughter is begging me to update my Amazon.com wish list so she can get an idea of what to buy me for Christmas. I don't need anything, nor do I care if I get anything or not, but I have to comply with her wishes. OK, who am I kidding. I like opening presents as much as the next person. And no matter how many books I have, there is no such thing as too many books. So when I get a free minute, which really translates to ''when I remember,'' I take a look at the list and see what's out there.
If you are looking for that gift for the gardener in your life, one who may seem to have everything gardening as it is, here are a few titles that I don't have, at least I don't remember seeing them around my house. Please note that many of these books are not newly published. They are simply books I don't have on my shelves.
l ''The Well-Designed Mixed Garden: Building Beds and Borders with Trees, Shrubs, Perennials, Annuals, and Bulbs'' by Tracy Disabato-Aust, Martin Knapp, Stacey Renee Peters and C. Colston Burrell. I have two of Tracy's books and have seen her lecture at a garden conference. She is well-known in the gardening world for her expertise and gardening educating. While her first book is primarily about gardening methods, including bed making, planting, pruning and pest control, this book is more about design and how to incorporate all sorts of plants into the landscape.
l ''Perennial Combinations: Stunning Combinations That Make Your Garden Look Fantastic Right from the Start'' by C. Colston Burrell. You may have noticed a pattern here. Most of the books on my list pertain to garden design. As a long-time gardener, I believe I have mastered building beds and planting. Buying a seasoned gardener a book on gardening basics is like giving an artist a paint-by-number kit. This book claims to help the gardener master the problem of combining plants for the best impact. It also offers tips on soil, light, and maintenance requirements for plants as well as ideas for garden design.
l ''The New Traditional Garden : A Practical Guide to Creating and Restoring Authentic American Gardens for Homes of All Ages'' by Michael Weishan. If the author's name sounds familiar, it is because Weishan is the current host of the PBS television series, ''The Victory Garden.'' In this book, Weishan delves into European gardens and gives tips on how homeowners, particularly those with Colonial or Victorian-style homes, can uncover the secrets in the heritage plants they may have found in their gardens. According to ''Publisher's Weekly'' magazine, ''Very little escapes Weishan's scope: suburban plot plans, visits to several historic gardens, how-tos, topiary, the delights of rhubarb or of a flowering mead, make-overs of driveway entries, lists of vines that twist or hold, a clear dissection of the rose family, unabashed commentary on the mania of 'unblemished lawns' and the curse of overgrown foundation plants.''
These are books that are not on my shelves just yet, but next week I'll let you in on some of the books that are on my shelves. Stop back to see what a real gardening fanatic reads.
Evanoff is a Master Gardener with The Ohio State University Extension of Trumbull County. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.