Here are some suggestions from the catalogue at the Thunder Bay Public Library.
Perennial plants can represent quite an investment. In our northern region, we need to choose plants that are hardy in our Zones 2/3 conditions. Mike Heger's book, Growing Perennials in Cold Climates provides information on "selecting, siting, planting and maintaining perennials in northern climates."
Heger draws on his experience managing plant displays at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. His book is a good reference for novice gardeners as it includes advice on preparing a site and buying potted perennials, as well as "composting, watering, mulching, fertilizing, weeding, staking, deadheading, pruning, protecting plants in winter, companion planting and dealing with disease and insect problems." Truly an all-in-one-guide.
Rosalind Creasy is the name most often associated with edible landscaping. She has been planting flowers and vegetables together for more than 25 years, with fabulous results.
Beside her now-classic Edible Landscaping (updated in 2010), Creasy has written a series of themed books, including The Edible Flower Garden, The Edible Salad Garden and others highlighting Asian, French and Italian vegetable and flowering plants. If you want to learn more about how to add veggies to your existing garden bed, these books are an excellent place to start.
I was happy to discover Planting : A New Perspective by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury available in the Thunder Bay library. In this significant book, the technique of intermingling long-lived perennials and woody plants is illustrated with beautiful photographs and planting plans. These expert European garden designers describe "how to choose the right plants, how to group them, and how to combine them with other elements to make beautiful gardens that require minimal use of resources."
If you want to dream about your green space and how it might come alive in a new way, this is a book for you. Also, for pure inspiration, glimpse the many Oudolf gardens in Europe and the US.
We are discovering the importance of native plants in supporting pollinators and building more sustainable gardens. Lorraine Johnson's book, 100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants for Canadian Gardens "provides basic horticultural information for many native perennials, as well as vines, ferns, annuals and grasses, many of which can be grown in almost all regions of the country." It includes full-colour illustrations.
If you want to know more about how to select and grow native plants, this title is worth a look.