Most gardening is done for the year. Yes, there is raking, but if you don’t have that mostly completed by Thanksgiving, there is a chance in much of Maine that your leaves will be covered by snow until spring. But there’s another way you can keep up your gardening skills – by reading. Here are a few new books worth checking out.

“Moss,” by Ulrica Nordstrom, The Countryman Press, $22.95, 184 pages, hardcover.

This book was first published in Sweden last year, the United Kingdom early this year and the U.S. in September.

Mosses are unique plants. Not only are they tiny, they have no root system. They have hairlike structures called rhizoids that attach to something solid – and that can be almost anything – but do not absorb water or nutrients. Everything moss needs, it absorbs through its leaves and stem.

Nordstrom describes the different species of moss in detail and how to look for it in nature. She also takes the readers to different gardens that emphasize moss, including one each in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle.

The most useful parts of the book explain how to grow moss, including how to best transplant it from where you find it in the wild and bring it to your home – for outdoor or indoor projects.

Hundreds of lush photographs by Henrik Bonnevier make this book a joy to peruse. My only complaint is that, while this is technically a U.S. edition, it has a British feel, with metric-system measures and most examples of gardens being in the British Isles.

“Attracting Birds, Butterflies, and Other Backyard Wildlife,” by David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation, Creative Homeowner, $19.99, 168 pages, paperback.

This is an expanded update of the original published in 2004 and has a lot of excellent information for people who want their property to contribute to the natural world.

The book is well organized, starting with an overview, followed by chapters on food, water, cover, and places to raise young and sustainable garden practices. It includes a lot of specific instructions, with pictures, for converting a property.

This volume covers a lot of the same ground as Douglas Tallamy’s “Bringing Nature Home,” which was published five years after this book’s first edition, but this update includes more how-to instructions.

It also has instructions on getting yards and gardens recognized by the National Wildlife Federation as certified wildlife habitats.

“Gardener’s Guide to Compact Plants,” by Jessica Walliser, Cool Springs Press, $25.99, 208 pages, paperback.

This book is aimed at Millennials, who are likely to be living in apartments with little or no space to grow plants.

Most Millennials have yet to do much gardening, so the first two chapters cover things that most readers of this column already know. It’s basic stuff.

Chapter 3, “Designing with Compact Plants,” is the most interesting section of the book. Offering some basic design tips followed by 10 different garden plans. Some of them are quite good and would work in Maine.

The last three chapters are descriptions of compact plants that the author likes – sort of like a catalog, but with plants she has tested and recommends.

This is a good book for people with limited space who want to venture into gardening.

“In Bloom: Growing, Harvesting, and Arranging Homegrown Flowers All Year Round,” by Clare Nolan, Companionhouse Books, $26.99, 272 pages, paperback.

For people who like flowers in their homes, this book tells them how to keep them. Another book printed first in England, some parts – such as saying it is an option to leave dahlias in the ground through the winter – won’t work in Maine.

Nolan, who took the book’s multiple photographs in addition to writing it, divides plants into annuals and biennials, bulbs, perennials, trees and shrubs, and foliage and fillers. She gives instruction on growing each type – and how to harvest the flowers. The instructions are complete and, although the book is hefty, it is easy reading. However, for several types of flowers, she notes that she starts them in late winter, on a heated bench, in her greenhouse. Many people don’t have that kind of home-garden environment.

Nolan isn’t a fussy flower arranger and makes it seem fairly easy. For example, she creates most of her arrangements while holding the just-picked mix of flowers in her hand and then putting them in a vase. Nothing simpler.

“Crops in Tight Spots,” by Alex Mitchell, Kyle Books, $24.99, 176 pages, paperback.

This is another book for people without much room, and it is also British. It includes a lot of well-written profiles of small plants for indoors, window ledges, patios and such. It also has some projects, showing how to build things, and many colorful pictures. One aspect I like is that it rates each plant on how difficult it is to grow.


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