By People Staff
April 17, 2000 12:00 PM

>Gardening Books Here are six backyard how-to guides to help you get ready, set, grow this spring.

Topiary and the Art of Training Plants by David Joyce For those tempted to turn greenery into living sculpture, pruning poo-bah David Joyce offers concise directions for creating basic geometric patterns or elaborate ivy ponies, chickens and bunnies. You’ll need self-confidence, imagination and well-sharpened shears. Just remember: neatness counts. (Firefly, $24.95)

Beautiful American Rose Gardens by Mary Tonetti Dorra; photographs by Richard Felber A rose is a rose is a rose whether blooming in New Hampshire, Oregon or points south: two dozen gardeners show us a how their favorites adapt to climate and setting. In formal plantings they are like royalty, but grouped beside a quaint cottage or along a meandering brick walk, they’re cheerful neighbors. Clarkson Potter, $40)

Country Gardening by Theodore James Jr.; photographs by Harry Haralambou Having a house in the country usually means having a garden. The appealing little Edens in this book are accompanied by design principies, plus starting and maintenance tips for the dirt-under-the-finger-nails set. (Abrams, $39.95)

Family Garden by Lucy Peel

A goodly garden is a place where plants and flowers grow—and children freely flourish. This practical guide has advice on planning outdoor spaces for the entire family, where little ones can play safely and learn to appreciate nature’s beauty and unhurried pace. (Barron’s, $13.95)

The World of Garden Design by Susan Dooley with the editors of Garden Design magazine This handsome 320-page volume takes a tour of five global gardening styles as interpreted in the United States. Happily the rich traditions of Italy, Britain, France, Japan and the tropics lose nothing in translation.(Chronicle, $40)

Perennials The changing seasons need not dim the infinite variety of perennials. From spring to fall and even in winter they bloom forth with an array of color, shape, height and fragrance to gladden any flower-lover’s heart. Cataloged here are 1,000 of them, with information on when and where they do best. (DK, $29.95) Emily Mitchell