Plant by Number: Use ICPL to plan your fall and spring gardens

by on August 29th, 2014

Last week on Talk of Iowa’s Horticulture Day, Charity Nebbe interviewed Ryan Adams, turf grass specialist, on the best time to reseed a lawn. Lawn and garden care is something I need to learn a lot about, being a newbie homeowner. Our garden spaces are in much need of attention and care as well, but where to start? Lucky for me, I have been immersed in our nonfiction catalog and have been getting to know where to find the books that will help me make my lawn and garden beautiful again.

To inform my lawn and garden needs this fall and next spring, I will be using a “Plant by Number” system, inspired by the numbers in ICPL’s nonfiction collection. The Dewey Decimal numbers will guide me to the best information in the library’s collection for each part of my lawn and garden planning. Keep reading for the best numbers for perennials, trees, and specialty gardening topics.

Iowa Garden

Photo by Bobby Jett. Gardening by Beth Beasley, Maeve Clark, and friends. Photoshopping of the identification signs by Melody.


All of these books live on the second floor at the library. The staff at the Info desk can also provide customized recommendations.

  • 635–General gardening, especially vegetable gardening topics
  • 635.0484–Organic gardening
  • 635.0977–Plants that do well in Iowa
  • 635.642–Tomatoes
  • 635.7–Herbs
  • 635.9–Flowers
  • 635.9312–Annuals
  • 635.932–Perennials
  • 635.93356–Cacti & succulents (see also 635.9525)
  • 635.933734–Roses
  • 635.93432–Hostas, lilies, and tulips
  • 635.9373–Ferns
  • 635.954–Plants that love shade
  • 635.977–Trees
  • 635.986–Container gardening
  • 631.875–Composting*
  • 712.6–General landscape design

Happy fall and spring garden planning!


*The Iowa City Landfill and East Side Recycling Center both have compost available for very low cost. Bring a shovel and a container, or a huge truck bed if you have one.

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About Melody Dworak

Melody Dworak
Melody buys books for the second half of the nonfiction Dewey numbers on the 2nd floor. She has recently been bitten by the fiction bug, but loves those historical reference questions regardless. Visit the digital collections she manages at and