A seemingly never-ending stream of gardening books continues to be published.
Of the current publications, the one that impressed me most is a new magazine, Green Prints, Vol. 1, Spring, 1990. It is a small magazine that shows much promise.Green Prints is a collection of essays - some written recently, others written up to nearly 1,600 years ago. Some are humorous, some contemplative and philosophical, but all celebrate the practice of gardening. A Congregational pastor writes, ``I worship in the garden. I don't seem to know how to elsewhere. There are too many people, too many patterns, too much performance.'
The Rev. Max Coots writes a poem, ``Garden Meditations,' giving thanks for friends including ``those friends now gone, like gardens past that have been harvested, but who fed us in their times that we might have life thereafter.'
``And now I take my pleasure in my garden' wrote the retired T'ao Yung-Ming (A.D. 365-427). ``Glad is this renewal of life in due season; but for me, I rejoice that my journey is over ... let me stroll through the bright hours as they pass, in my garden, among my flowers.'
Green Prints is published quarterly by three staff members of Mother Earth News, but it bears no resemblance to that publication. The magazine, which costs $10 for four issues, may be ordered by writing Green Prints, P.O. Box 1355, Fairview, N.C. 28730.
On an entirely different level is Jerry Baker's Flowering Garden (Macmillan Pubishing Co., 229 pages, $7.95). Baker, a spokesman for the K mart garden department, may be heard at 8 a.m. Saturday (AM 1400) on a national call-in show.
Written in his folksy style, the book includes Baker's formulas for the garden use of household products. He recommends use of ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, liquid soap, beer, whiskey, instant tea, chewing tobacco, Listerine and Knox gelatin, among other things.
I disagree with two of his recommendations. Peat is not a good mulch because it dries out too quickly on top of the soil and is extremely difficult to rewet. Pine needles or bark are much better. He recommends the use of chlordane as a preplant dip for bulbs. This product should be used only as a termite control in structures. It is not for garden use.
A half-dozen more titles have been added to Houghton-Mifflin Company's Taylor's Pocket Guides. All are pocket-size, all have 125 or 127 pages, all are $4.95, and all are attractive. Plants are illustrated with a good color photo, a short description and growing tips. The new titles cover herbs and edible flowers, vegetables, flowering shrubs, annuals, ground covers for shade and sun. These books, with the previously issued six books on roses, perennials and bulbs, make excellent gifts.
Still another publication is not offered for sale. The National Register of Big Trees is being offered to new members of the American Forestry Association. A $24 membership fee includes a year's subscription to American Forests magazine (American Forestry Association, P.O. Box 2000, Washington, D.C. 20013).
The Register has several champion trees listed in our state. The nation's largest weeping willow is in Asheville. It is 114 feet tall with branch spread of 106 feet. Craven County has the largest sweetgum - 136 feet tall and 66 feet across. The largest Carolina hemlock, in Burke County, is 88 feet by 54 feet. The N.C. Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill has the largest Carolina hickory at 114 feet by 51 feet. The largest pignut hickory, in Robbinsville, is 190 feet by 78 feet. And the largest mountain laurel - measuring 25 feet by 28 feet - is in the Western N.C. Arboretum at Asheville.