It’s all about spring, and with rainy days and occasional sunshine, it’s time to think about what we are going to do outside to beautify our yards and gardens. If you are anxious to get into the dirt, but know you have to wait for the ground to warm up, now is the time to do some planning, not planting!

The Bertha Bartlett Public Library has a wonderful collection of landscaping and gardening books, due to many regular donations from the Story County Master Gardeners, in addition to our own efforts to develop a well-rounded collection. If you are thinking about outside projects, now is the time to plan, budget and research to get a good final product

The library has a wealth of information in the gardening section, which can be found in the Dewey 635 non-fiction area. If you are a first-time homeowner or gardener, Pippa Greenwood has written a book “The New Gardener,” which covers everything from tools you need, dealing with problems in your yard and deciding what plants need to be placed where. There are many other books about flowering plants, books about vegetables and fruits, and books about planter boxes and terrariums. Looking through these books may ignite creative genes that will help you plan with the time before the ground is ready.

If you have children that you want to experience the pleasure of growing plants and food, there are a number of books in the children’s department that will also encourage them to get engaged with a family project. A popular book that helps with this is “Rocks, Dirt, Worms & Weeds” by Jeff Hutton that includes many ideas, including starting seeds indoors. Another children’s department book that shows how children can help with the project is called “Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots” by Sharon Lovejoy. And if you have never heard of a Rainbow garden, this might be the time to check out “Blue Potatoes, Orange Tomatoes” by Rosalind Creasy.

If you don’t have young people to engage, but want to tackle a serious landscaping project, there are also books in the Dewey department of 712, found in the Kinne wing. With enticing pictures of finished projects, these are where you go to dream. Those of you who are skilled in the creative gardening arts can find new ideas, concepts and techniques in the pages of these books, especially if it is time to overhaul the look of your yard. “Orthos Guide to Creative Home Landscaping” is just one of many books on our shelves which includes many landscaping basics, including tools, types of stones and bricks, patterns and styles, in addition to terrains, soil types and even frost dates.

So if it’s still raining when you want to be outside, and you are itching for that earthy project, it’s still warm and dry inside library. Come on in and dream a little with pencil and paper and create a Picasso out of your yard or garden.