Ciscoe Morris's latest book is much more than a standard gardening guide

If you're looking for a straightforward guide to prepare your garden for the coming growing season, you'd understandably look to any tome penned by Northwest gardening expert Ciscoe Morris. After all, he's been delivering an incredible array of knowledge to Washington residents for nearly 50 years via newspaper columns, television spots and his radio show Gardening with Ciscoe.

Many of his timeless tips were gathered in his first book, the aptly named Ask Ciscoe. And if you are indeed looking for the nuts-and-bolts knowledge of making your personal garden space the best it can be, you should search that book out. His new book, Oh, La La! Homegrown Stories, Tips, and Garden Wisdom, is less a scientific guide than a casual stroll through Morris's many stories spawned by his work both in his Seattle home's garden and through his years of work at Seattle University where he gained fame for his organic gardening program.

The book reads as part-memoir, part-joke book and, yes, part-gardening advice, and Morris writes in an easy-going manner that is particularly inviting for a gardening neophyte like myself. More seasoned green thumbs will surely chuckle over experiences they share with Morris in, say, pruning his wisteria or searching for the perfect stones to use as garden art. His chapter "Dogs: The Lovable Garden Pests" will ring true and elicit genuine belly laughs at the images of Morris working to have his valued plants and grasses and four-legged family members somehow happily coexist.

Oh, La La! is put together in a way that might seem odd, veering suddenly from practical gardening tips to personal anecdotes that won't naturally help the home gardener — except to bring a smile to their face. Morris is a charmer, even via the written word, and by the time you get to the final chapter, "Travel Adventures," you're more than happy to join him for his Alaskan adventures or to learn the source of his "oh, la la!" catchphrase.

If you or someone you know simply loves the gardening life, Oh, La La! could be a great choice to help make it through winter until you can get your hands in the dirt.