In the cold days of winter, when for most of the country gardening is just a dream, one of the best gifts you can give a gardener is a book that will keep her inspired throughout the year. But not all gardeners are the same, so we selected a book for each type in your life.
For the Chef
Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, by Michael Pollan. Michael Pollan's writing often takes on the topic of food as activism, but in his newest book he explores the process of cooking itself—how it transforms food and people. Fire, water, air, and earth become his teachers, along with a host of chefs.
For the Homesteader
The Beekeeper's Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses, by Richard A. Jones and Sharon Sweeney-Lynch. The giftee doesn't have to be an apiarist to appreciate the fascinating information and fun projects that fill this 400-plus-page book. Learn how to make wax candles or identify the queen in the hive—it's all here.
For the Scientist
Latin for Gardeners: Over 3,000 Plant Names Explained and Explored, by Lorraine Harrison. Beautiful full-color illustrations dot this book, which is part botanical-Latin dictionary and part horticultural history. Even the most educated gardener is certain to learn something new.
For the Activist
From the Ground Up: A Food Grower's Education in Life, Love, and the Movement that's Changing the Nation, by Jeanne Nolan. Jeanne Nolan builds organic gardens, including the 5,000-square-foot one in Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. She shares her experience becoming a food and organics activist in a way that will inspire anyone to begin changing the world, beginning in their own back yards.
For the Urbanist
The Edible Balcony, by Alex Mitchell. A complete guide to growing for those without a speck of dirt. Help out your favorite city dweller with this book full of tips, projects, real-life stories, even cocktail recipes! These days, anyone with a tiny bit of outdoor space can grow organic.