Storytime for Grownups: Spring has sprung!

Punxsatawney Phil did not see his shadow this year, which means that Spring will arrive early this year! And what better time to brush up on your gardening skills and perform the dreaded spring cleaning chores that you put off all winter! Have no fear there are plenty of books and resources at your local Palm Beach County library to help you achieve pain-free cleaning and gardening.


Allen, David. “Getting things done.”

This system of organizing has been around since 2001, and remains one of the most popular books when it comes to decluttering at work and in your personal life. Thanks to Palm Beach County Library System Director Doug Crane, the craze has swept the entire library staff and beyond! With a new 2015 edition that includes tips on electronic de-cluttering, this book is worth checking out once and then buying for keeps. I learned about “GTD” a couple of years ago from our Director, and still am learning how to put it into use. One of my biggest takeaways was consolidating my paper calendar, online personal calendar, and online work calendar into one calendar that I carry with me all the time.

Brandies, Monica Moran. “Xeriscaping for Florida homes.”

Before I moved to Florida, I had no idea what xeriscaping was, and now it’s an essential part of my gardening philosophy. Xerixcaping is essentially landscaping that reduces the need for irrigation. In places like South Florida where, at times, water is scarce, this is a great way to “be green” and to learn more about native plants that are naturally drought “smart.”

Crawford, Pamela. “Stormscaping: landscaping to minimize wind damage in Florida.”

If the author’s name sounds familiar to you, it’s because Crawford is an expert on gardening in Florida, and this book is a primer for plants and landscaping that can withstand the sometimes nasty weather that plagues South Florida. Of course, it’s never too early to start planning for hurricane season, and this book will help you get there. For those of us who have lived through hurricanes, we know that even a category 1 storm can devastate a backyard, and worse, trees that are not equipped to withstand a storm can prove to be dangerous.

England, Angela. “Gardening like a ninja: a guide to sneaking delicious edibles into your landscape”

Create a landscape that’s both beautiful and edible! This book has everything you need to make your yard and your meals amazing! With a few simple adjustments, you can enhance your walkways, flower beds, front yards, and backyards with easy-to-care-for edible plants that will impress your neighbors and add to your dinner plate.

Become a gardening ninja by choosing the right vegetation for your zone to maximize success; using the seasons to create beauty year-round in your garden; cultivating areas that seem unusable; harvesting fruits, veggies, and nuts from everywhere in your landscape.

Your yard will look better than ever in no time with these sneaky edibles!

Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farm and author of the best-selling title “Folks, This Ain’t Normal” says, “Grow food without sacrificing interest and beauty with Angela England’s tried-and-true edible landscaping advice.”

Shawna Coronado, author of “Grow a Living Wall” says, ”Gardening like a Ninja is a connecting that passion for beauty with the increasing demand for freshly grown organic vegetables.”

Leah Segedie, founder of says, ”With so many people turning to gardening as a source of food and a way to have certainty on how their family is fed, “Gardening like a Ninja” couldn’t have had better timing.”

Felton, Sandra. “Organizing for life: declutter your mind to declutter your world.”

If you’re anything like me, then clutter has everything to do with your state of mind. I go through small stretches where I let the paper stack up on my desk until I become so unhappy that I have to spend an entire day undoing the mess that I made. This book is all about the importance of decluttering your mind in order to effectively declutter your house, office, etc.

Martin, Byron. “Growing tasty tropical plants in any home, anywhere.”

Have you noticed that mango flowers have already started to bloom? To me, that means that my favorite time of year is just around the corner: mango harvest time! But South Florida is perfect for other succulent tropical fruits: from citrus to dragon fruits and from guavas to passionfruit, who could ask for more? Check out this book if you want to turn your home or garden into a tropical paradise good enough to eat. I promise that once you start, you will be hooked on these delicacies!

O’Brien, Mandy and Dionna Ford. “Homemade cleaners: quick-and-easy, toxic-free recipes to replace your kitchen cleaner, bathroom disinfectant, laundry detergent, bleach, bug killer, air freshener, and more…”

I am a true believer that the chemicals we use around the house are some of the most harmful substances that keep us from being health, wealthy, and wise. My spring cleaning regimen this year will include replacing every chemical under the sink with a healthier non-toxic substitute, and I’ll be using this book to help me. If you’ve got young children or pets in the house, if you are into DIY home economics, or if you’re concerned about our environment, this is a fantastic resource that you’ll refer back to time and again.

Toht, David. “Backyard homesteading: a back-to-basics guide to self-sufficiency.”

What is more DIY or sustainable than homesteading? Not much. In Toht’s book, you will learn not only how to grow vegetables, fruits, and herbs, but also how you can raise chickens, goats, and bees! If I haven’t scared you yet, then you should know that you don’t have to have acres and acres of land to do all this. In fact, urban homesteading is more common around the world than you think. I enjoyed this book, because it helped me understand how to create my own urban farm step-by-step.

Walsh, Peter. “Lose the clutter, lose the weight: the six-week total-life slimdown.”

Why not kill two birds with one stone? According to Walsh, there is a direct link between clutter and weight, and according to him, he’s got the blueprint to address both. At first, I didn’t believe it, but his (tested) theory is that one can’t make the healthiest choices in a disorganized environment. This book claims that if you follow his plan over a 6-week period, you can change habits that will positively affect your waistline as well as your personal space.


Warnock, Caleb. “Stress-free vegetable gardening: thriving gardens with minimal effort.”

No more excuses! Well-known author Caleb Warnock provides insightful instruction on how to make gardening fun, easy, and stress-free.

You will learn such things as how to silence popular gardening myths, avoid those obnoxious weeds, remove pests safely and without nasty chemicals, grow vegetables year-round, and so much more!

Also included is a cheat sheet on how to grow, care for, and harvest anything from the commonly known cucumbers, carrots, and potatoes, to the lesser-known sunchoke, mustard greens, and Chinese cabbage.

Learn how easy it is to create an abundant crop with almost no effort. With this book in hand, you can enjoy delicious harvests that come back year after year!

Caleb was raised in the kitchens and gardens of the last generation to provide family meals without relying on the grocery store.


Need more inspiration for spring cleaning and gardening? In addition to finding these resources at your local library, there are organizations and communities all over Palm Beach County that can help: Palm Beach Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council International, Mounts Botanical Garden, and the Palm Beach County Beekeepers Association are just a few of the reasons that I like to call Palm Beach County home!

One again, we’d like to thank Adam Davis, Director of System Services, Palm Beach County Library System for sharing these fabulous finds.  Next month, we’ll share some resources to help out last minute tax preparers, as well as a few fun tax stories.