I live in Buffalo, New York, and would I like to plant some shrubs, bushes, etc. in front of my house. I have nothing at this point. Could you recommend some books, info, that might help me in this particular area of the country regarding planting in cold weather zones.
First, you should make yourself familiar with your hardiness zone. Hardiness zones are determined by the average annual minimum temperature in a given region. In other words, this tells you the amount of cold that a plant can tolerate and still live in a given area. Buffalo to the best of my knowledge is Zone 5. Depending on your proximity to the water and if you get strong, freezing winds off the lakes then perhaps your area is colder, which would be a Zone 4. If your house is well sheltered then perhaps it is slightly warmer, Zone 6. The USDA hardiness zones do not take into account possible microclimates. Therefore, when shopping for trees or shrubs at your local nursery make sure that the plants you are buying are hardy to Zone 5. With this information, you can enjoy looking through reference books and seeing what you like, as long as it’s hardy to Zone 5.
Katherine Powis, the librarian here at HSNY, was able to find for you these titles that are sure to give you lots of great ideas. Cold Climate Gardening (a Taylor Weekend Gardening Guide) by Rebecca Atwater Briccetti. Tough Plants for Nothern Gardens by Felder Rushing. Northeast (SmartGarden Regional Guides) by DK Publishing. DK Publishing has a number of publications by the American Horticultural Society and they are all fabulous books.
Also, do not hesitate to contact your local cooperative extension to find out more site specific gardening information. Cornell cooperative extensions across the state are great places to turn to for city- or county-specific gardening tips and help. Go to http://www.cce.cornell.edu/ and once on the website, click on the tab labeled “In Your Community”.