Each of the 85 plants pictured in these gorgeous photos has at least two seasons of interest, and many are exceptional year-round. These plants are the antithesis of "low-maintenance gardening" (which is, of course, an oxymoron anyway). They are the opposite of boring, unchanging municipal plantings like juniper and pyramidalis. Seasonal change is celebrated in the turning of leaves, the fluff of seed heads, blooms and berries, and in a wide variety of garden-worthy plantings.
Such plants lure us out into the garden in every season, making all the work of gardening worthwhile. Vines, trees, shrubs, and perennials, carefully chosen with guidance on combinations and cultural conditions, can be put together to make a garden with year-round appeal. Gardeners are always short on space and so will appreciate that each plant comes with a justification for including it in the garden. Oak-leaved hydrangea (H. quercifolia) deserves inclusion for the unusual shape of its lobed leaves, reliable red autumn color, and creamy summer flower heads; Achillea 'Moonshine' for its silvery green fluffy foliage and long-lasting yellow flowers, ideal for drying. --Valerie Easton
The first section of this book, called "Nature in Transformation," examines the changes that take place in plants throughout the seasons: the way that leaves emerge, mature, and decay; the transformation of flowers to berries or seedheads; and the impact that the habit and form of a plant have on the garden at different times of the year. The second half of the book, "Plants for All Seasons," is devoted to nonbotanical descriptions of some of the best multiseasonal plants, together with short notes on their use. They are divided into the main plant groups--shrubs, climbers and wall shrubs, border plants, and trees. The plants are listed alphabetically by botanical name. Each entry includes the height and spread of the plant, flowering season, origin, hardiness, and cultivation data. Howard Rice's splendid color photographs complement the imaginative text. George Cohen