Reviewer Allan Becker: Allan has been designing and planting flower gardens, since he was a teenager in the 1960's. Now retired from the soft goods industry, where he held several positions in design, product development, and marketing, he has turned his passion for gardening into a second career, as a garden designer for private clients in Montreal, Canada.
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
If a new gardener would ask for my advice, I would recommend this guide in a heartbeat. Don’t let the “Better Homes and Garden” insignia mislead you. This publication may appear to target the mass market but its content is so authoritative and thorough that reading it is almost like hiring a garden coach.
Everything a new gardener needs to know – and more - can be found between the covers of this book. Information is delivered and illustrated in such an idiot-proof sequence, that an alternative title for this publication might be “Amazing Gardening Results for Dummies”. The editor, Kate Carter Frederick ought to win an award for creating this systematic guide.
The secret to her success is graphic design. Visual presentation, where images tell a story, is the most powerful way to deliver information instantaneously. In many of the demonstrations, simply following the picture sequence will teach the gardener what to do.
Most of the images overflow with vivid colors, flowers, and intense texture. Yes, texture. The touch of the garden has been captured with such intricate close ups of the tactile side of nature that the reader’s eyes can almost feel the grains of soil or the silkiness of petals.
This book leads readers incrementally, into the world of gardening in that kind, generous, and gentle way that all new gardeners imagine they would be. In the opening chapter, the neophyte will be informed what a garden is, what grows there, how one’s geographic location affects what one can plant, the four basic looks of gardens, plans and layouts, allocation of time to garden, thriftiness, information exchange, and plant sharing.
The very detailed parsing of information is repeated in each of the chapters dedicated to a different aspect of gardening. Additional topics covered so comprehensively include tools, soil, lawns, flowers and foliage, trees and shrubs, vines and climbers, edibles, propagation, mulch and fertilizer, irrigation, pruning, container gardening, and managing weeds, pest, and diseases.
At the bottom of an occasional page, the reader will notice a colored bar in which the editor asks and answers a question most likely to arise when discussing the chapter’s topic. Another page will display a colored banner providing a relevant gardening tip. Superimposed on most of the attractive photographs is a text-filled cloud to draw the reader’s attention to an important gardening detail.
All of the ancillary information that a new gardener needs is appended in such an ingenious style that it is impossible for one to become overwhelmed with information. The delivery of detail is placed strategically so that readers may absorb what they can, at their own pace.
Another impressive aspect of this book is the contemporary and professional advice surrounding the technology of gardening. For example, one is instructed how to place an aggressive plant so that its roots do not invade the flowerbed, a reminder to get a tetanus shot, the importance of sharpening tools, and the need for compost.
In addition, the reader is instructed to clean up errant fertilizer granules to prevent chemicals from washing into water tables, to choose a single variety of foliage and plant to unify the design of an entire garden, and to select dwarf varieties of flowering shrubs for small properties. The self-taught might have taken years to accumulate this kind of advice, yet now it is available right at the onset of one’s gardening experience. That is invaluable.
This very easy-to-read
handbook of expert advice is comprehensive. For every gardening
topic, there is a chapter and for every chapter there are wise
suggestions for successful results. I wish this book existed when I
first began to garden.
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