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The Ever-Blooming Flower Garden: A Blueprint for Continuous Color Paperback – March 11, 2009
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"If you want flowers blooming continually in your garden, this is the book for you... Visual aids such as photos and graphs make this book an excellent resource for any gardener." --The Recommendation Blog
From the Back Cover
"Not only did my gardens become a neighborhood point of interest, but they inspired others around me to begin to dig, plant, and create." -- Naomi Howe, Workshop participant
"The entire method is a joy to use. The greatest gift is the inspiration/belief that I can do it!" -- Stephanie Kumble, Workshop participant
Top customer reviews
She has carefully selected about 200 plants and organized them by blooming time, color and height to make it easy to pick what will work for your space. Then each plant has a picture and writeup, including how to pronounce the name (thank you!) that gives comfortable advice from her considerable experience. For example "Be prepared to pull out seedlings all over the place, but it's worth it for this purple-foliaged, nicely textured plant. Can easily engulf its neighbors if not kept in check." (p149)
She dedicates preliminary chapters to useful advise on making a garden work. "If you want to minimize maintenance, try to choose plants that look good even when they've gone by. For example...white astilbes go through an ugly brownish white phase before developing relatively attractive seed heads. In fact, white flowers generally die badly and go through an unfortunate phase." (p33) "Successful perennial design isn't all about flowers. Starting with a framework of plants whose foliage looks great all season long is probably the single best way to create a good perennial bed." (p36)
There are five sample gardens where she illustrates the steps for planning and executing the garden, with pictures to inspire you. The book is full of pictures, and my only regret is the lack of pictures at the end where she talks about plants for special conditions. None of these made it into the favored group because of one problem or another, but some sounded intriguing and I would have liked a picture of each.
The book ends with list of recommended plants for special needs "Will grow in heavy clay soil," "Deer Resistant," etc. and a comprehensive index and list of resources.
Whether you are a beginner or more experienced, this book will help you plan and maintain beautiful gardens. I wish it had come into my life a long time ago, it would have saved me from a lot of mistakes.
The best features:
- How to plan your garden, figuring out the right garden shape and number and kinds of plants you need to fill the garden this is particullarly helpful if beginning with a blank slate. They have easy to use examples of how to draw a garden plan and if you don't want to do that there are simple charts based on size and number of plant needed.
- Planning good color combinations - there are beautiful pictures of pleasing combinations - this is helpful for grouping or regrouping for better impact. The plant combinations not only look good together they live well together - similar sun, soil and water needs this is something I found really helpful.
- Continuous bloom - It is tricky to plan across seasons many of us have a good season and others that don't look as good. There are pictures of several gardens in each season so you can see how this works and what to expect.
- Flower Catalog - this is the most helpful guide/encyclopedia I've ever seen. This is a shorter list than some which help focus your planning. It has recommended (and not) cultivars with very helpful graphic that shows sun need, height, bloom time and color as well as plant shape. I was surprised to learn there is great variety in bloom time for different cultivars of the same plant. For example, 10 different day lilies with bloom times that range from early summer to late fall. This is very helpful for planning your garden bloom season and putting nice combinations together.
- This book has a great selection of plants for northern climates - many choices for my zone 4 garden, which does not always happen.
If I could start over again I would start with this book to plan my gardens and find specific cultivars. I'd buy more of each plant and try to avoid the temping but often not satisfying variety of plants in garden stores. The best companion book for this one is The Perennial Care Manual by Nancy J Ondra which provide great how to plant and care for your garden and specific plants including great info on pruning.
The info is simple to understand, the illustrations are clear, and the step-by step approach is GREAT for someone who is analytical and likes organization. Lee Schneller took a lot of the hard work of figuring this stuff out and organized for you into nice little charts. She also describes plant varieties in plenty of detail, as well as provides a list of NO GO's.
I found it interesting to read what other books said about the plants that she said "DO NOT USE" and it became apparent that Lee Schneller knows what she is talking about, and other authors simply didn't have the experience.
Anyway - this is the one. No need to look further.