8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
EARTH WORKS by Nancy Hugo is exactly the type of book you give to a new gardener along with an illustrated garden catalog. Hugo lives in Ashland Virginia, just north of Richmond in a Zone 7 setting which borders on Zone 8. Her book is filled with all kinds of gardening advice which she dispenses as a free lance writer for the RICHMOND-TIMES DISPATCH. Her writing is not particularly insightful (Diane Raver), funny (Henry Mitchell), spiritual (Jim Nollman), or scientific (Elizabeth Lawrence, Allen Lacey), but elements of all these aspects are present.
Her strength is her pragmatic advice for the novice. Picure her as the neighbor you wish lived next door to you when you move into your new house. She has gardened for over 30 years at two locations (primary home and vacation home in Buckingham County). She offers advice for Zone 7 gardeners that is comparable to that from the PBS program Victory Garden.
For example, she urges gardeners to grow organic and natural lawns because she is sensitive to the water pollution caused by the runoff from lawns (Americans use larger amounts of pesticides and herbicides on lawns than on food crops). On the other hand, she can take out 28 year-old pines because they are blocking her view and overshading her garden. She offers advice on gardening equipment from tillers to post-hole diggers, how to establish a compost pile, when to clip bushes and hedges, what to do with the needles that fall off the old pines, and which plants to grow for Christmas greenery. She describes her gardening year in month to month episodes, and covers a variety of plants that will do well anywhere in Zones 7-8.
I recommend this book to anyone about to become a gardener.