My candidate for the most beautiful book of the year ... and aside from the drop-dead gorgeous photographs, there's a wealth of information from master Ken Druse about the plant combinations that look the best, most of which you'll never have thought of yourself. The book is Natural Companions: The Garden Lover's Guide to Plant Combinations by Ken Druse, photographs by Ellen Hoverkamp.
Druse also fills you in on many new cultivars, so it's a book you won't want to be without. My original review is here.
If you're not familiar with the landscapes of Edmund Hollander -- that rare combination of master plantsman and landscape architect -- then you'd be well advised to obtain a copy of this book, The Private Oasis: The Landscape Architecture of Edmund Hollander Design by Philip Langdon. These are magnificent landscapes, and you'll learn many design lessons from studying the plants, the layouts, the water features and many other elements. Over one thousand color photos, to boot.
You'll look at trees in a brand new light with Magnificent Trees of the New York Botanical Garden, (Monacelli Press, 2012) by photographer Larry Lederman and Todd Forrest, VP for Horticulture and Living Collections at the NYBG. Photos show the trees in all their majesty with many details -- form, color, blossoms, bark -- you'll covet each and every one.
The garden is home to more than 30 thousand trees, and the authors have selected the very best specimens for inclusion in the book.
Yes, I know ... another book about Thomas Jefferson's Monticello? This one, "A Rich Spot of Earth": Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden at Monticello (Yale University Press, 2012) is by Peter Hatch, who directed the restoration of the terraced vegetable garden at Jefferson's country estate. It's now more or less as it was in 1812 ... complete with all those "unusual" vegetables that Jefferson introduced: peanuts, okra, eggplant, tomatoes, lima beans & more. Fascinating history, fascinating book to own.