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Perennials for Midwestern Gardens: Proven Plants for the Heartlandby Anthony W. Kahtz
Synopses & Reviews
For gardeners, inspiration can come from the most unexpected places. Perennial enthusiasts around the world might be surprised to find their muse in the middle of a bustling city. Lurie Garden, a nearly three-acre botanic garden in the center of Chicagoand#8217;s lakefront in Millennium Park, is a veritable living lab of prairie perennials, with a rich array of plant life that both fascinates and educates as it grows, flowers, and dies back throughout the year. Thousands of visitors pass through each year, and many leave wondering how they might bring some of the magic of Lurie to their own home gardens.
Withand#160;Gardening with Perennialsand#160;horticulturalist and garden writer Noel Kingsbury brings a global perspective to the Lurie oasis through a wonderful introduction to the world of perennial gardening. He shows how perennials have much to offer home gardeners, from sustainabilityand#8212;perennials require less water than their annual counterpartsand#8212;to continuity, as perennialsand#8217; longevity makes them a dependable staple.
Kingsbury also explains why Lurie is a perfect case study for gardeners of all locales. The plants represented in this urban oasis were chosen specifically for reliability and longevity. The majority will thrive on a wide range of soils and across a wide climatic range. These plants also can thrive with minimal irrigation, and without fertilizers or chemical control of pests and diseases. Including a special emphasis on plants that flourish in sun, and featuring many species native to the Midwest region,and#160;Gardening with Perennialsand#160;will inspire gardeners around the world to try Chicago-style sustainable gardening.
Book News Annotation:
This attractive volume presents lengthy entries for 140 perennials, each of them chosen as proven winners in the challenging climate of the Midwest. Each entry begins with a snapshot listing the plant's common name or names, its season of bloom, landscape use, size, origin, and key ornamental characteristics. The entry describes the plant, its appearance, uses, and planting and care recommendations. Cultivars are discussed, as are any of the disadvantages of the plant. Kahtz, an Illinois native with a doctorate in horticulture, has written extensively on plants and gardening. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Since its opening on July 16, 2004, the Lurie Garden in Chicagoand#8217;s Millennium Park has attracted an enormous amount of attention. Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people pass through it every day, often on a regular basis. This book enables and inspires them to do just that, while providing those who havenand#8217;t or wonand#8217;t ever visit the Lurie with a wonderful introduction to native gardening. It introduces readers to the art and science of perennial gardening, with a particular focus on native plants. Perennials offer more for the home gardener than any other group of plants. They are small enough to plant creatively in restricted spaces, and long-lived enough to develop continuity and improve the sustainability of the garden. This book introduces garden perennials, using the plants of the Lurie Garden as a guide. It is not aimed at being a comprehensive guide to perennials, but starts with the idea that the range of plants used in the Lurie Garden forms a good basis for home-owners new to growing perennials or indeed to the whole world of gardening. The range of perennials in the Lurie Garden is actually very wide, although with an emphasis on species that flourish in sun rather than shade. It also includes many regionally native species--more than half.
Gardeners everywhere want to grow perennials. But with its hot, humid summers and often bitterly cold winters, the Midwest presents a formidably challenging climate. This book provides concise, experience-tested information about popular perennials-including herbs, ornamental grasses, and bulbs-that can be grown successfully throughout a wide range of the midwestern United States (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin). From the unusual yellow-edged, mahogany-red, disk-shaped flowers of Mexican hat (Ratibida columnifera) to the demure charm of blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium), beautifully illustrated descriptions also tantalize with perennials that deserve wider appreciation for their superb garden qualities. In all, more than 400 plants are recommended, grouped into 140 main descriptions arranged alphabetically by botanical name. Each entry gives the plant's common name and describes its flowers, leaves, habit, soil and sun or shade requirements, propagation, insect and disease problems, outstanding cultivars and similar species, recommendations on where to use it, and other plants that will complement it. An easy-to-use box at the beginning of each description summarizes key characteristics. Native midwesterner Anthony Kahtz holds a Ph.D. in horticulture from the University of Illinois. His plant selections are based on his many years of professional and personal experience and represent perennials noteworthy both for their ornamental features and for the ease with which they can be grown. This trustworthy guide will be an indispensable aid to gardeners in America's heartland who seek to make their time in the garden easier and more fun.
About the Author
Anthony W. Kahtz was born and raised in Illinois and has gardened in the Midwestern United States as well as around the world. among other locations, he has worked at the national Cathedral Bishop's garden in Washington, D.C., the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Jamaica Plain, MA, the Royal Horticultural Society's Wisley Garden in Surrey, England, and a landscaping company in Copenhagen, Denmark. he holds a Ph.D. in Horticulture from the University of Illinois and has written numerous articles on plants and gardening.
Table of Contents
1. The Story of the Lurie Garden
2. Itandrsquo;s Either Freezing or Bakingandmdash;Gardening in a Midwestern Climate
3. Making the Garden a Better Place for Plants
4. Choosing Perennials for the Garden
5. Putting Plants Together
6. The Gardening Yearandmdash;A Guide to Essential Maintenance through the Months
7. The Wild, the Native, and the Cultivated
8. Plant Directory
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