100 Plants to Feed the Birds
by Laura Erickson (Storey Publishing)
The award committee members were largely in agreement that this book will be a valuable resource for gardeners everywhere. “I am definitely drawn to this kind of content—it is practical and relatable and will give a lot of people content they can use right away in their backyard regardless of the amount of space they have,” says Perla Sofía Curbelo-Santiago. “The type of information I appreciated—and don’t tend to see in other books—was what each plant provides for birds,” says Kimberly Toscano Holmes. “I really think we need this kind of book—it’s an important resource for gardening for wildlife,” says Amy Campion.
American Wildflowers: A Literary Field Guide
edited by Susan Barba (Abrams)
Committee members were divided on whether this compilation of poems and essays on wildflowers by prominent writers fit the criteria of a garden book, but its uniqueness tipped the scales. “I love this sort of thing,” says Doug Oster. “The uniqueness of it for me was a big selling point—I have not seen anything like this.” Viveka Neveln agreed, noting that “so much passion went into the curation of the pieces that were chosen, and they all give you insights into these specific plants. I feel like it sort of touches people on a different level, as a celebration of plants and what they mean to us,” she says. Curbelo-Santiago was among the committee members who appreciated the lavish watercolor illustrations by Leanne Shapton.
A Gardener’s Guide to Botany
by Scott Zona (Cool Springs Press)
“The author’s explanations of concepts made this book so easy and fun to read. It made we wish I had this book when I was studying biology in high school and college,” says Curbelo-Santiago. “When I was reading it, I found myself thinking, wow, plants are so freaking amazing and I just want to grow them all,” says Neveln. Holmes was impressed by the quality of the scientific illustrations and felt the book was “useful for people at different levels of learning—it’s for readers who want a deeper understanding.” Caleb Melchior agreed, noting that a chapter on seed dispersal offered insights into the complex interrelationships of plants and animals.
Bloom: The Secrets of Growing Flowering Houseplants Year-Round by Lisa Steinkopf (Cool Springs Press)
Color In and Out of the Garden by Lorene Edwards Forkner (Abrams)
Florida’s Carnivorous Plants by Kenny Coogan (Pineapple Press)
Grow More Food by Colin McCrate and Brad Halm (Storey)
The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Soil by Janet Melrose and Sheryl Normandeau (Touch Wood Editions)
Wild Plant Culture by Jared Rosenbaum (New Society Publishers)
Nominations for the 2024 Book Awards will open in late summer 2023.