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Volume II, Issue 3, October 20, 2003
Books for Midwestern Gardeners
Bergmann, C. (Ed.). (2001). Sunset Midwestern Landscaping Book. Menlo Park, CA: Sunset Publishing Corp. 416 p. $29.95. [ISBN: 0376035250]
Sunset Midwest Landscaping Book is a comprehensive regional guide to garden design and is recommended for the novice as well as the experienced gardener. Although numerous publications are on the market for landscaping, this book is designed specifically for midwestern gardeners showcasing ready-to-use landscape plans and step-by-step instructions for construction projects such as installing a garden pond.
Abundant color photographs illustrate various garden designs suitable for Midwest gardens. Whether you are interested in creating a prairie, rock, shade, or water garden, this book has something to spark every imagination. The book is organized into chapters including one on “Landscaping with Plants,” covering annuals, perennials, herbs, vines, shrubs, and trees that thrive in the mix of soils and climates of the Midwest region. The chapter, “Landscaping with Structures,” describes how to utilize structures such as fences and trellises to add shape and dimension to gardens.
Landscaping plans and recommended plant lists are provided for a variety of gardens such as narrow gardens, kitchen gardens, and shade gardens, to list a few. Overall, the book offers a unique regional approach to garden design and construction.
Best Flowers for Midwest Gardens provides readers with advice for designing and maintaining spectacular low-maintenance gardens. The book introduces plants that are excellent performers in Midwest gardens. For readers that prefer color photographs for easier identification, the black and white illustrations might leave something to be desired. However, the plant profiles are nicely arranged by season of bloom: early spring, spring, summer, late summer, and fall -- making this book a useful resource for achieving gardens that bloom with the seasons.
Midwest Fruit and Vegetable Book: Michigan Edition explores fruit and vegetable gardening in Michigan. The intended audience is someone just starting and the experienced gardener. The book has over 75 profiles of fruits, herbs, and vegetables for home gardens in Michigan. Each profile is approximately 2 to 3 pages in length offering practical and useful information for the gardener on planning a garden, how plants grow, and getting started. For example, the profile on blackberries covers when, where, and how to plant; maintenance that is required; varieties of blackberries; and concludes with a recipe for Blackberry Preserves! The author offers plenty of advice on planning your garden, and the Michigan rainfall and frost/freeze maps included are especially helpful.
Beck, A. & Szerlag, N. (2002). Perennials for Michigan. Edmonton, AB Canada: Lone Pine Publishing. 344 p. $18.95. [ISBN: 1551053454]
If you would like to expand the diversity of plants in your garden, Annuals for Michigan and Perennials for Michigan are two excellent books to consider. Each book has hundreds of color photographs with straightforward tips on choosing the best plants for different growing conditions. Both books are organized alphabetically by familiar common names. Each entry provides information on height, spread, and flower color. One of the authors, Nancy Szerlag, is a popular weekly gardening columnist for the Detroit News. This handy book is a convenient size and is highly recommended for all Michigan gardeners.
All reviews by Deborah Charbonneau, Librarian II, Shiffman Medical Library, Wayne State University, email@example.com