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The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer Paperback – February 15, 2005


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Frequently Bought Together

The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer + The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques + The Perennial Care Manual: A Plant-by-Plant Guide: What to Do & When to Do It
Price for all three: $64.09

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; 1ST edition (February 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580175430
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580175432
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Garden design is less rule-bound than it once was, but many novices approach it with trepidation. By bringing a refreshingly relaxed attitude to a well-worn topic, Cohen and Ondra give it friendly appeal. Both are professional designers and private enthusiasts who believe "you don't really know a plant until you've killed it." Readers who follow their ample, practical advice are much more likely to create beautiful gardens than to kill many plants, and even experienced gardeners will pick up some tips. First, the authors "demystify" perennial design, explaining how to approach a project, choose plants, plan the design and add details for extra appeal. They then explain how to "put perennials to work," focusing on specific designs and including handsome color sketches, schematic plans and lush photographs. Each of their designs accomplishes a goal—solving a problem with site conditions (e.g., excessive shade or sun), achieving a desired color effect, maximizing seasonal impact—and comes with a detailed list of recommended plants and alternate selections. Finally, in the "From Theory to Practice" section, they document the two-year histories of a new border, a major expansion and a garden renovation. The conversational text and photographs comparing early plantings with second-year results are great confidence builders for neophytes. Helpful appendixes include a zone map, a comprehensive plant list in an easy-to-use chart format and a reading list.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Just when it seems there couldn't possibly be anything original to say on the subject of perennial-garden design, along come two authors with a breezy style, down-to-earth advice, and a refreshingly open approach to prove you wrong. Cohen and Ondra bring their lifelong personal and professional passion to the creation of a design manual that tells both the novice and experienced gardener what to do, what to use, and just about anything else one would need to know to create vivid designs. Presented in a conversational, understandable manner, the authors' liberal use of puns, quips, and catchy phrases also makes the book a joy to read. Especially helpful are 20 original, plant-by-numbers designs addressing a variety of garden challenges; and thoughtful information about garden renovation will be savored by new homeowners who have inherited someone else's mistakes, or established gardeners weary of their current landscaping. Plant charts, reading lists, and detailed descriptions of more than 475 perennials round out this welcome addition to any garden library. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Stephanie Cohen has won some very prestigious awards from both professional groups and garden groups.
Rick
If you plan on starting a new garden or just need a great garden reference book, this is the one for you.
Anthony F. Hatem
The design ideas are very helpful, there are beautiful color photos and interesting sidebars throughout.
Northeast Gardener

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By garden bee on August 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have over 50 gardening books, but none of them compare to this one for gardening design. It has a wide variety of garden designs with exact directions for placement. The only drawback I see in this book is for southern gardners. I was not familiar w/all of the plants & I suspect most of them are for northern gardens.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Ronda Thomson on November 17, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have purchased many Garden design books. I want something to just give me an idea and Ill go from there. This book does just that. The color ideas, what to plant with what. Has detailed sketched designs as well as many photographs of actual flower beds.

The quick reference Planning Chart has to be one of my favorite things about the book.

Would I buy it again? yes, I think I would
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on March 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
Perennials may be put in their place using an organized design pattern and Stephanie Cohen's teaching background blends with nursery owner Nancy Ondra's experience with rare plants to make for an excellent set of design tips in Perennial Gardener's Design Primer. Here are 20 plans for different kinds of gardens, along with designer tips, checklists, and a list of recommended reliable perennials. Color photos and plenty of diagrams and charts pack life into a recommended gardener's planning guide.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Rick on December 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
After seeing this book recommended as one of the year's best by "Fine Gardening" and seeing it as the #3 selection on Amazon . Com for bestsellers I bought the book. Both authors have been in the horticulture field for a combination of over 45 years and it shows. I Googled them. Stephanie Cohen has won some very prestigious awards from both professional groups and garden groups. Her co-author ,

Nancy Ondra, worked as a gardening editor as well as writing numerous top selling books. I liked there use of the newest and latest perennials. I liked the authenticity of using real gardens and the befores and afters.The photos are great. I liked the time-saving tips. The chart of flowers on the back of the book is a winner. However, the best thing about this book is the humor-I love it! Hurrah for a gardening book that shows real people wrote it!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By CelticBrewer on May 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
In the back of this book is a 13 page planning chart. It includes most or all of the perennials featured in the book with: zones, light req, soil moisture req, bloom season/length/color, height, and foliage color!

You can easily find all the, say, medium-height, yellow spring-blooming plants with purple foliage for zone 6 that like full sun and wet soil.

The text (meat) of this book is average and normally I'd just send this back to the library after stealing a good design idea or two. But I'm going to purchase this book because the chart is everything I've always wanted from a gardening book. It's well worth paying for!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Molly on April 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very helpful in planning a border or bed. The authors give a simple procedure that will give good results. In addition, they describe several plants that do well without much care. This books focuses on sunny areas. I wish they would do a similar book using shade plants. One of the most helpful garden planning books I've seen.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By allanbecker-gardenguru on September 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer
By Stephanie Cohen and Nancy J. Ondra
Storey Publishing
ISBN -13978-1-58017-532-2

If this book had been available when I first started gardening, I would have saved both time and money and might have avoided frustration and disappointments. This publication allows the perennial gardener to skip past the trial and error stages of gardening and move directly into planting and growing pleasurable perennial gardens.

Whether one is a novice attempting a first-ever flower bed or a seasoned gardener re-configuring or enlarging a pre existing one, there is ample advice and encouragement to accomplish ones goals with confidence and satisfaction. The artistry of this book is that it is not necessary to read it from cover to cover in order to learn. Reader may select only those chapters that reflect the existing physical conditions of their gardening space or may chose to read about a specific style of garden they want to create.

One can find advice about a shade or a sun garden, a dry or a soggy location, a small flower bed or a meadow of wildflowers, a perfectly manicured border or a minimal maintenance garden. Whatever the readers' choice, the authors offer guidance for plant site, bed preparation, flower selection and plant combination. Within each clearly defined type of garden there is a suggested list of very specific plants that have a proven track record for converting perennial gardeners' dreams into reality.

There is an interesting rhythm to this book. Each author gardens according to her particular tastes and needs and writes about them with conviction. By juxtaposing two different yet respected points of view, the authors have created a primer with a double purpose.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Northeast Gardener on October 17, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a Master Gardener, and I love this book. The design ideas are very helpful, there are beautiful color photos and interesting sidebars throughout. I'm reading it cover to cover, not only using it as a reference book.
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