by Cheryl Merser
This is the kind of gardening book I enjoy right now: more or less someone writing about their own garden, offering instruction using real-life examples. Outlining the pitfalls as well as the joys. Merser describes two gardens she started on new properties that didn\’t have much going for them at first. She talks a lot about plant selection- how to gauge what plant will do well in what spot, how to give the garden form and anchors using shrubbery, what works nicely (in her case) for groundcovers, accents, shady spots etc. She has a whole chapter about roses, another about water features. It\’s all a mixture of casual advice and very practical know-how. Her voice reminds me a bit of Thalassa Cruso. I had to laugh at some of her ingenuity, too. I grew scrawny seedlings for years in windowsills before building my first makeshift coldframe; she just puts hers in the trunk of a hatchback and lets the car heat them up! And for nighttime she moves them into a steamy bathroom. Clever. I share her hatred for japanese beetles, but not quite her enthusiasm for decorating with found objects. She discusses herbs but is mostly about flowers and shrubs and interesting plants to make the outdoor space beautiful and alive. Which is great inspiration, I need to work on that part of my yard too. I have a long list of plants to look up now- because the only thing the book really lacks is decent pictures. There\’s a nice glossary in the back that details every plant mentioned in the book, its scientific and common names, growing habits, light/moisture requirements, peculiarities and attractiveness, etc. One to read again.
Rating: 3/5 254 pages, 1994