The New Southern Living Garden Book by the editors of Southern Living magazine (Oxmoor House, 2015, $35)
With beautiful full-color images and detailed plant descriptions, this book is hugely helpful in selecting new additions for your garden. You’ll also find handy lists organized by themes such as “fragrant flowering plants.” The most recent edition reflects the updated USDA hardiness zone ratings.
The Southern Gardener’s Book of Lists by Lois Trigg Chaplin (Taylor Trade Publishing, 1994, $18)
This excellent reference categorizes tried-and-true Southern plants by their attributes or problems they solve (anyone seeking “evergreen trees to hide ugly views” or “perennials that bloom in winter”?).
Gardening with Native Plants of the South by Sally Wasowski with Andy Wasowski (Taylor Trade Publishing, 2009, $33)
An excellent introduction to the basics of using native plants in the home landscape, this book shares all the pertinent details on each plant listed, including how to grow and propagate it and its benefits to wildlife.
Good Weed Bad Weed by Nancy Gift & Good Bug Bad Bug by Jessica Walliser (St. Lynn’s Press, 2011, $18)
Identifying weeds and bugs is a breeze with these sturdy field guides, which contain color photos showing different stages of the life cycle to help you spot problems early. Offering options for controlling and preventing pests, they can also be used to introduce children to nature—try inviting your young explorers on a scavenger hunt!
The Living Landscape by Rick Darke & Doug Tallamy (Timber Press, 2014, $40)
Two respected authors scale the concept of a larger ecosystem for the home gardener. They break the “living landscape” down by layers, providing information on how to build upon your existing design to create a thriving, diverse, visually stimulating green space. The photography alone is sure to inspire.