Several times a month, I browse the New Book shelves at the Barrington Library and invariably find a treasure or two.
I was pleased to find a copy of Sue Reed's 'Energy-Wise Landscape Design' donated to the library by the Hameho Garden Club. Well-written, sensibly organized, and nicely illustrated by Rhode Island artist Kate Dana, this book is well worth a look.
I was immediately impressed by how useful this book is. Reed is not content with vague advice such as "plant windbreaks" and "create shade." She provides tables listing the height and growth rate of common trees and tells you how to calculate the length and angle of a tree's shadow.
Not every idea is of practical use to the Barrington gardener; for example, the current zoning laws don't permit the use of goats as auxiliary lawnmowers. But any homeowner can find ways to minimize energy use, ranging from the simple -- use native plants, mulch all bare ground -- to the ambitious: harnessing solar and wind power.
The writing style is clear and accessible, and the excellent bibliography will keep gardeners happily turning the pages until spring.