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What are your favorite garden books?

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Are there gardeners who don't own at least one book about their favorite hobby? Not many, I'd guess. And those well-thumbed favorites are just as varied as the gardeners who own them and as their favorite plants.

Recently I was looking over my collection of garden books, trying to decide which ones I could donate to new homes. I thought this chore would be easier than I'd found it to be in the past, because of so much information being available online.

But it wasn't.

My garden books are heavy on references, which makes sense because I'm a garden writer. I often need to look up things I'm probably not going to find online -- and I like a book I can count on  as a trusted source, which may not be true online.

Since I know Larry Hodgson, for instance, I believe what he tells me of his experiences in "Perennials for Every Purpose" and "Houseplants for Dummies." (I know, I know. But buy it anyway. It's one of the top houseplant books I've ever read.)

I've also become used to the way some books, such as the "Southern Living Garden Book" and the "Sunset National Gardening Book" (which have similar formats, but are regionalized), are organized and therefore it's faster for me to find information in them than online.

And I'm a stronger believer that regional garden books belong on every gardener's shelves -- or, really, in their hands out in the garden, because they're going to give the right advice for where you live.

All too many books for a national audience aren't accurate for California or the South.

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