Andy Sturgeon's brief biography on the sleeve notes of Planted
informs us that he is a passionate gardener, snowboarder, and former Hong Kong bridge builder. It may be this unique mix that makes this book an informative and practical breath of fresh air. Following the line that gardening is the new rock & roll, this book will make perfect sense to those of you whose eyes, previous to acquiring your first garden, would immediately glaze over when your green-fingered friends started droning on about flowerbeds, garden architecture, and problems with alkaline soil. Now that you've got the garden, you've got some real catching up to do--and you'll only do it with someone like Andy Sturgeon on your team.
Planted is written in a friendly but forthright style with plenty of humorous interjections; for example, Lists of Things to Keep: "Things that are pretty (obviously!), things that create desired shade, things bought by your Mother." The Things That Must Go list includes plants that are everything from "ugly" to "too damn big." However, the book is underpinned with concise and practical information using language and a format both candid and modern that will steer you through a steep learning curve.
Andy knows and loves his gardening, but his advice to approach the planning of your garden as you would an additional room, with easy-to-maintain plants or vegetables, will leave more time to enjoy your creation from a deck chair, beer in hand. In no time you'll be as fanatical about your garden as those friends who mystified you with their evangelical zeal only a few weeks before. The book lists advice on analyzing what you have, followed by descriptions of different types of plants, from "Indestructible Shrubs" to "Ballistics" for those who don't want to wait around forever for their garden to mature. There's a buyer's guide that will point you toward the right retailer for the right plant and there's a comprehensive guide to fighting off pestilence and disease for when you get your plants home. All in all, Planted brings gardening into the 21st century and has to be one of the most enjoyable and energetic gardening books available. --Tony Martin