County Life: Library knows how garden grows

daffodilsErin’s Editions

While the end of winter never seems to come soon enough, this year spring’s cantankerous sibling seemed to take even longer giving up its seasonal turn. Now that winter has finally released its grip, it’s time to take advantage of that all too short period of warm temperatures and few biting insects to get our gardens going – even if the compost pile is still a little frozen.

I would not by any means consider myself a seasoned gardener, or even a good one. This is the first year that I’ve had a yard of my own to tend, and I find myself watching with curiosity as all sort of unidentified plants start poking up through the soil, and pruning older perennials with great trepidation. Heck, I still mix up what is an annual and what is a perennial. All sorts of questions plague a beginning gardener like me: Watering, how much is too much? How do I know if my soil is any good? Is it a plant or a weed? Can I eat it? When should I plant this? When should I plant that?

We have a great database for those who like to search for things online. Even I ask the oracle of Google when I’m stumped, but it can be hard to sift through the many conflicting perspectives and strong opinions offered online by the myriad of self-declared experts. When I’m looking for more in depth information from a source I can count on, I head over to our Gale Gardening, Landscape and Horticulture Database. You can find it on our website at, click on Online Research, then Gale Cengage Learning. You’ll find a huge list of very useful databases, including Gardening, Landscape and Horticulture. You can search for anything here, and you will get answers from hundreds of publications such as Flower & Garden Magazine, Country Living, Horticulture Week, and Journal of the Bromeliad Society.

If you’re browsing the shelves for gardening books, head over to the nonfiction section of any of our branches. Under the Dewey Decimal System, the subject of gardening is split between two fairly broad categories: 635 which is Technology > Agriculture > Garden Crops (horticulture) and the 710’s which is the Landscape Architecture section under Arts and Recreation. So, if you are looking in any of our branches for gardening books, you will find them in these clumps in the nonfiction section. But, like any hardy plant you’ll likely find the odd surprise one in an unexpected place. You can also go to and search for “gardening”, or ask any of our branch staff – some of whom are avid gardeners themselves!

Finally, make sure you pay a visit to the Haliburton Seed Library located in the Dysart Branch. You can take seeds that people have saved from successful plantings, everything from vegetables to flowers. There is also literature on saving seeds so you can bring back seeds for others to take. So welcome spring and say goodbye to winter by getting outside and doing some gardening – if I can make stuff grow with the help of some useful resources, anyone can!

*Originally published in County Life on May 14, 2015.


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