Weeding in the gardening section

Jerry Baker Fruit TreesMake Friends with Your Fruit Trees

Submitter:  I just found another awful book for your page, this one is the PITS!! Well, it’s about fruit trees so “the pits” is probably a great way to refer to it…   The part I really liked is the list of books on the back cover Baker had already published AND the forthcoming titles!!

[It] reminds me of gardening done by Bob Ross – I expected to see a chapter called “Happy little fruit trees” with an instruction that would sound like “And maybe this little peach tree lives right here… all happy & content to be a part of the world!” Eh, it was the 70s, & like now, everyone wants everyone else to think positively I guess.

Holly: Jerry Baker is from this area of Michigan.  In fact, his home library is where Mary works!  (At least, his business PO Box is in that town…)  Jerry Baker’s books are very popular in public libraries around here.  We wouldn’t DREAM of weeding them.  Our patrons would riot!  He’s a lovely gentleman, and his books are quirky and cute.

However…I can see how the submitter, who is from another state, would make the connection to Bob Ross.  That’s pretty funny!  If you don’t know any more about the author, the books could seem gimmicky and over-the-top with the cutesiness.  This is a good lesson for all of us.  Local author trumps content (in this case – not always!!!), and a personal connection to an author can change our view of the book’s content.  Around here, we see Jerry Baker’s name and instantly order the book for the library.  In communities that are not familiar with him, the books can be seen in a whole different light.  There’s something to be said for local fans!  There’s also something to be said for connecting live appearances to books.  Authors are people, and they have a persona that sometimes carries over into their books.  Jerry Baker is that guy with the catch-phrases.  To us, it’s charming.  To outsiders who only see the print version, that charm may not be so obvious.

Jerry Baker Fruit Trees back cover

beating fruit trees

Don't let your dwarfs grow into trolls


  1. I made friends with my petunias this year and all thrived well except for the stubborn one.

    Love the Bob Ross reference. Probably because I enjoyed him as a kid and still do.

  2. Dear Mr. Baker: I regret to inform you that “make friends with your trees” and all variations of the same are a registered trademark of the Bob Ross Corporation. Please desist from using this phrase, or you will be barred from giving your happy trees happy little friends. Sincerely, Edmund P. Lawyer.

  3. I would like to check this book out today! I am planning a garden in my new home, and need to put a fruit tree in a container due to clay soil. I like the looks of the short little sections and cute subheadings! I also like how the books are specific. I hate those giant gardening books! If I want information on bulbs or ground covers (I actually do need both!) then here we have them! Though I am always suspicious of books where the author’s name is larger than the title!

  4. Here in the Pacific Northwest we have a local gardening expert (Ciscoe Morris) who writes books and has his own tv show on the local news channel. Similar to the author in the example, he’s very corny. I love his catchphrases, like “oh la la”! If you saw that in a book, you might think he was French… but actually says it with a great Norwegian accent! Ciscoe’s favorite vegetable is brussle sprouts, and while I don’t share his love of the little guys, I do like his rhapsodies about brussle sprout casserole. For the outsider’s perspective: my fiancee, who grew up in a different part of the country without the benefits of Ciscoe in the background in his childhood, absolutely hates the guy, because his way of talking is “too irritating”. I think my local public library does weed the older copies of his books, but they definitely buy the new ones!

  5. From here his headings are cringeworthy, but if you(r patrons) know him it probably does turn around. IS there a more up to date publication of this though? 1973…

  6. I happen to LOVE Jerry Baker! His show is often on PBS here in California and whenever I can I try to use his tips, which really work. Especially things like ammonia for giving soil a nitrogen boost (and is also great if you’re having trouble with lawn grubs aka larva for the Japanese beetle).

    I’ve wanted his books for a long time but they’ve all been too expensive whenever I looked them up. So if anyone is weeding them please think of me! Even older books will still have awesome tips. Some things don’t change, really.

  7. Wasn’t Jerry Baker the one with TV commercials for that amazing Garden Weasel tool?

  8. I talk about my houseplants like they’re people. Sometimes actually talk to them, and I’ve even named some of them. There must be something to it because they are green and growing like crazy.
    As far as this book is concerned, not everyone is put off by cutesy or corny, but I’d at least try to get a new one.

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