The Time-Life Encyclopedia of Gardening
Neither Ian nor myself have much gardening experience, so although we knew we wanted to make a lot of landscaping changes, we didn't really know where to start. Lucky for us, one Friday night visit to the Tuten / Penland Auction House offered us a good start. The evening was growing late when a set of books from The Time-Life Encyclopedia of Gardening came up for bid. Neither of us recalled seeing this 20-volume set when we browsed the items for sale that night, and we were happy to win them for only $15.
The books were written in the 70's by James Underwood Crocket, and although they are old, the information contained within them is still relevant. In the set we found books on roses, bulbs, annuals, perennials, pruning, ferns, trees, herbs and much more. The books provide information on how plants feed and reproduce, and give detailed instructions for preparing soil for plant beds. Furthermore, the end of each book contains an illustrated encyclopedia of many different types of plants, describing when, where and how to plant them, their soil preferences, and other general care instructions. These books are no longer for sale through Time-Life, but you can still find them on ebay for a decent price.
We still didn't know what type of plants we wanted to purchase, but we were now armed with a nice arsenal of information to at least educate us on the possibilities.