The winter can drive gardeners nuts.
We look out of the window, tap our fingers and ache for signs of something green.
Yet the long, cold months are also when I catch up on my reading. So much so, I’ve always wondered why publishers insist on bringing out new gardening books in spring. Get with it, guys. Who has the time to read anything during April and May except seed packets and planting instructions?
Yet months later, while stuck indoors, I like nothing more than digging into books and fantasizing about what to grow once the weather warms up.
For decades, only TBG members were allowed to use this private library, and borrow its books and magazines. But now — for a fee of only $10 a year — anyone can.
And get this: it’s the largest library of its kind in Canada, containing over 10,000 books, plus current magazines, videos and other educational stuff — a veritable gold mine of information about the great, green world.
You can borrow books about every conceivable kind of plant, tree or shrub and how to grow them; garden design and decor; flower arranging; botany; plant history, biographies of famous explorers; memoirs by modern celebrity gardeners, even a few garden-themed novels.
Kids have their own large section and in the reference department, there’s a marvellous collection of rare old books (not for loan) which contain the world’s best examples of botanical art.
On dreary days in January, it’s the ultimate in garden fantasy. Yet only a handful of people like me use the place regularly.
“That’s what we’d like to change,” says young chief librarian Zack Osborne. “Not enough people know about us.”
Osborne is the only paid professional on staff, but he’s backed up by more than 30 volunteers — many retired school and corporate librarians — who like nothing more than helping library patrons with research projects.
Also, in the coming months, tech-savvy Osborne is offering his popular Gardening on the Web Series which explains how to surf the Internet for horticultural databases and other free online goodies.
Some new books on the TBG shelves:
• Garden by Randle Siddeley: a gorgeous coffee table tome by a British aristocrat (a.k.a. Lord Kenilworth) who designs sumptuous estates for the rich and famous.
• Edible Landscaping, by Senga Lindsay. Down-to-earth tips on the hottest trend in gardening by a Vancouver writer.
• Gardening from a Hammock, by Ellen Novack and Dan Cooper. Advice on creating a low maintenance garden, with nuggets from the TBG’s own squad of master gardeners.
• The Secret World of Slugs and Snails, by David George Gordon, a little gem of a book which may make you feel differently about the slimeballs once summer rolls around.
The library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and weekends from noon to 7 p.m.
To join, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 416-397-1358
Sonia’s seven books, including her award-winning latest book, called The Untamed Garden, are all in the TBG library. soniaday.com