Books to inspire you over the wintertime

Nancy Szerlag
Special to The Detroit News

When it comes to gifts for gardeners, gardening books are the best. Here’s what’s on top of my pile of winter reading.

Indoor gardening is back and terrariums are decorating favorites. “Terrariums – Gardens Under Glass” by Maria Colletti (Cool Springs Press $24.99) is a step-by-step, how-to manual that takes the mystery out of designing, creating and planting these indoor gardening delights.

Colletti, a New York Botanical Garden expert in indoor plants and terrarium garden design, has filled this book with gardening gold garnered from years of hands-on experience and advice from other experts encountered in her extensive career as a professional indoor gardener.

Whether planting a fish bowl, brandy snifter or canning jar, she explains how to pick and choose and plant the right plants and care for them so they thrive. Fully illustrated with color photos, this book is a treasure trove for who grow indoors.

Living walls are another hot trend in gardening and “Grow a Living Wall: Create Vertical Gardens With Purpose” by Shawna Coronado (Cool Springs Press $24.99) is filled with creative ways to do just that. Vertical gardening is the perfect way to jolly up a boring blank wall, garden in tight spaces or add color and green to cement patios. Whether you want to grow nutritious vegetables and herbs or attract pollinators, butterflies or even hummingbirds, all this and more is possible in a vertical garden.

Coronado includes 20 designs with plant lists, along with step-by-step instructions on installation, soil, watering and care. Also included is an informative chapter on living wall systems available, so the reader can select what will work for them. Some times a picture is worth a thousand words and this book is well-illustrated with dozens of color photos that leave little to frustrate the imagination.

Homemade artisanal beer, cider and other potables are all the rage, so timing for the new book “Gardening for the Homebrewer” by Wendy Tweten and Debbie Teashon (Voyager Press $21.99) is perfect.

This introduction to the wide variety of plants that can be used for fermentation or infusions will open up a whole new world for those DIYers that want to try their hand at growing their own. Choosing the right variety of hops for hardiness as well as flavor is key to success. It’s covered. Flavored vodkas are hot sellers and the chapter on liquor infusions using fruits and herbs gives you the history as well as the how to go from garden to glass.

Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and Metro Detroit freelance writer. Her column appears Fridays in Homestyle. To ask her a question go to and click on Ask Nancy. You can also read her previous columns at detroitnewscom/homestyle.