December arrived. Outside landscaping? Trim the cacti and put Santa hats on ’em. Now Pile of Books #3 calls.

Pile #3 is like the Overview for my current and future projects–traveling, and the never-ending home landscaping. Since we returned from Kauai Hawaii, I’ve become a Hawaiiophile. I’m enthralled with the history, cultures, and especially music and dance of Hawaii.

On our drive to the airport to come home from Kauai we stopped at the Kauai Museum in the Albert Spencer Wilcox Building. With lots (I mean LOTS) of time before our flight, we took a leisurely self-guided tour through the museum. It’s a small museum compared to NYC or LA museums, but it’s chock full of artifacts from Polynesian finds, detailed texts accompanying weaving and clothing designs, statutes, photos of sugar plantations, paintings of Hawaiian royalty, and newspaper articles and posters from World War II. I’m most interested in the early history and inculcation of native cultures with western influx. This museum is great without being overwhelming. The books in Pile #3 augment the adventures of this trip.

Maui Revealed 3rd edition is a loan from our neighbor Glenn who seems to have a pretty full library of Hawaiian books, maps, and music. When we decided Maui would be our next return to Hawaii, Glenn had the book.

The Illustrated Atlas of Hawaii by Island Heritage United is an informal read of history, detailing cultural assimilation and cultural pride. This is my second time reading this; the first was prior to our trip when all the information was new. Now I’m looking at the gorgeous illustrations of plants, birds, and flowers and mentally recalling where I actually saw them. I don’t know about you but the combination of reading about something and then experiencing it for real is pretty exciting. Sort of like seeing any movie with a scene in NYC and knowing I walked there, lived there, ate there!

The last two in the pile are what I call “nudge” books. Front and center on the table near the TV as visual reminders to be easily picked up as a follow through to “Yeah, we’ve got to do something about the front yard.” I’ve marked pages, made some sketches of areas I want it to address as Ms. Alexander suggests and so beautifully shows in her book The Essential Garden Design Workbook.

Next step, choose what fits seasonally and for the climate here in Tucson, Which leads to Landscape Plants for Dry Regions by Manzano. This is still an alien subject for me. I automatically think of East Coast plants, flowers and care. And of course, the desert is different. November 19th, Lowe’s still had plants on sale that could be successfully planted right in my front yard. Time for more reading to learn what I can do in January.