Gardening design books
ALL BOOKS REVIEWED By LORNA CORPUS SULLIVAN
Armed with years of experience as a research horticulturalist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and as president emeritus of the American Horticultural Society, author H. Marc Cathey offers American gardeners a new way to ensure that the plants they choose will thrive -- and not merely survive -- in their particular climate. Cathey introduces his American Horticultural Society Plant Heat-Zone Map, which divides the country into 12 color-coded zones based on how many heat days (over 86 degrees F) each region receives annually. Readers find their specific heat zone on the societys map, as well as their cold hardiness zone on the long-used USDA Plant Hardiness Map (also pictured).
An impressive list of 500 commonly used annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees follows, each of which has a color photo, growing tips and assigned Amercian Horticultural Society and USDA zones. A caveat: The maps in Catheys book are too small to decipher with ease. Gardeners with access to the Internet can go to the following Web sites and enter their Zip Codes for their specific heat- and cold-hardiness zones, respectively: www.ahs.org/publications/zipfinder.htm and www.ar borday.org/trees/whatzone.html before using Catheys plant profiles.
Who can resist the lure of Garden Designs trademark, lushly photographed vistas and close-ups -- and who would want to? Gardens from five regions across the globe -- Italy; Britain, Ireland and the low countries; France; the tropics; and Japan and China -- are represented here, tempting readers to try their hands at similar designs in their own, perhaps humbler, surroundings. And while common sense may discourage someone in say, Massachusetts, from amassing cacti in her garden beds, author Dooleys advice on bringing these far-flung designs home leave readers plenty of room to bend the rules.
This book is for those who desire beautiful, livable garden spaces but have little patience for pruning, shearing and other control-oriented tasks. One of the countrys leading garden experts, author Lovejoy, a busy mother of two teenage boys, writes that her goal is to create gardens that dont need me very much.
Noteworthy is a chapter on sandwich planting -- choosing plants that share the same spot of earth and that sequence effortlessly throughout the year. With encouraging words, a useful design workbook, and in photos of her own successful garden school on Bainbridge Island in Washington state, Lovejoy demonstrates the wisdom of selecting plants for their natural attributes.
Many gardeners know the feeling of spiritual connectedness that can accompany even the humblest garden task. In his new book, author and acclaimed photographer Mick Hales takes readers into the private world of monasteries -- where the simple act of gardening plays an integral role in lives dedicated to prayer. Its a wonderful read on many counts, laden with references to early Christian gardeners such as St. Anthony, reported to be the first Christian monk, and St. Fiacre, whose garden was so revered that wild animals from the forest would not enter it; biblical references to horticulture; full-color photos of the 28 European and U.S. monasteries visited; and intimate, joyful observations about life by the monks and nuns who live and pray there.
National Catholic Reporter, October 26, 2001