Synopses & Reviews
This book offers a didactic, practical approach that allows novice-to intermediate residential gardeners to experience success with their vegetable, fruit, and ornamental gardens. This is not an attempt at a comprehensive "Bible" of gardening information, but a complete but focused treatment of plant species and simple, time-saving techniques that maximize the homeowners likelihood of succeeding with his or her garden. Contains regional information for the following states in USDA zones 3, 4, and 5: Montana, Colorado, northern New Mexico, Wyoming, northern Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota.
Adding to Black and Decker’s line of DIY books, The Complete Guide to Gardening is divided into seven region-specific volumes. All include the same instructions and general information, but Steiner (Rain Gardens; Prairie-Style Gardens) tailors the plant suggestions and climate data. Strengths include an excellent introduction on the importance of botanical names, soil type, and soil pH as well as definitions of key terms such as herbaceous and dioecious. Easy-to-follow instructions and copious color photographs cover the preparation, planting, care, and maintenance of various garden types; other topics include the basics of good design and propagating methods. Steiner does mention some of the benefits of using native plants, but it would have been helpful to highlight them so they could be recognized at a glance. She also mentions the importance of avoiding invasive plants; the information is not region-specific, but checking invasiveplantatlas.org is suggested. A handy reference card listing websites of state extension offices and native plants is also included. VERDICT: Overall, these books provide a very good introduction to and broad overview of gardening with excellent step-by-step instructions. The handy index of plants’ common names is also helpful for beginners. - Library Journal
About the Author
Lynn Steiner was a longtime editor, writer, and photographer for Northern Gardener magazine. Her articles and photographs have appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Gardening How-To, and Sunset's Midwestern Landscaping Book. She lives with her husband, two teenage sons, a golden retriever, and two cats on a turn-of-the-century farmstead in Stillwater, Minnesota.