Garden Books

Gardening for the Millennial Generation

20-30 Something Garden Guide

As the rotting Halloween pumpkins in my compost bin disappear beneath fallen yellow leaves, I realize that holiday shopping is quickly approaching. This includes the challenge of finding gifts for my millennial children.

Smart phones, laptops, web sites and blogs dominate their interests and existence. For the last few holidays, I have succumbed to giving gift cards to Internet marketing sites after spending hours searching for alternatives.

Fortunately, this year’s gift quest has been simplified by heeding the old saying, “An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” My fascination with plants has inspired their interests. One child’s balcony is covered with houseplants, and the other is a member of a community garden. The 20-30 Something Garden Guide (St. Lynn’s Press, 2014) by Dee Nash is the perfect gift. The book can improve their limited-space garden needs while providing information that complements their technological lifestyle.

Dee Nash is herself an Internet devotee. Her web blog, www.reddirtramblings.com, has won awards from the Garden Writers Association and it was recognized by Better Homes and Gardens as one of the top ten gardening blogs of 2014.

Nash’s book contains a succinct 140 pages that are packed with information about plant growth and garden design. The introduction recommends necessary gardening tools and provides a glossary of terms to help understand cultivation, such as bolting, GMO, and heirloom plants.

Her first section emphasizes that limited-size gardens should start with only the plants that one truly enjoys. Layouts for balcony and patio gardens are provided along with tips on selecting containers. Nash offers advice for growing plants from seeds and how to effectively transfer seedlings to outside locations.

In the book’s next section on gardening in larger spaces, Nash suggests ways to keep lawn gardens pleasant to the eye. She provides a “top ten list of beautiful edibles,” like kale, cayenne peppers, Swiss chard, and sage. Nash also discusses structures and products used in efficient gardening, such as raised beds and an espalier for fruit trees.

Nash’s last section moves from edible plants to a brief introduction of a variety of subjects applicable to contemporary gardening. For example, advantages of and tips on successful community gardening are explained, a topic that is not usually presented in gardening books.

Though this book’s target audience is millennials, the 20-30 something crowd, the author offers wise advice in a conversational manner to readers of all ages. Consequently, this particular baby boomer agrees with the author’s description of the book as a “no fuss, down and dirty Gardening 101 for anyone who wants to grow stuff.”

Christine Thomson is a Raleigh gardener obsessed with plants. She is a volunteer at the JC Raulston Arboretum and fills her spare time reading books, especially volumes about vegetation.