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Gardening For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech)) Paperback – February 15, 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Starting off with ultrabasics, like "how do I get my plants to live rather than die?" Gardening for Dummies is a terrific textbook for the novice gardener. Explanations are laid out simply, and all terms are defined as soon as they are first used--if you've never grown so much as a houseplant, this is the book to get you started. Emphasis is on choosing proper plants for your zone (it's OK--the color map will show you which zone you're in) that are fairly low-maintenance and high-success. Large sections on both seeds and bedding plants will give you lots of options and specific instructions for getting good results--seeds, especially, are treated as persnickety little critters that require some extra effort in exchange for low cost and large variety. The big downside to this book is its lack of pictures. There are lots of line drawings, but they tend to show particular stages of a process, rather than each step. Color photos are limited to two sections, and most of them are close-ups of various plants. While it's nice to see what the bark of a paperbark maple looks like, it doesn't particularly add to the value of the book. For folks who learn best with straightforward reading, the sections on mulching, pruning, soil preparation, and tool choices are all extremely helpful. With bullet-point lists, icons for highlighting categories like ecofriendly or time-saving, and simple tables and charts, how-to photos aren't essential, but if pictorial aids are what you need for learning, look elsewhere. --Jill Lightner

From Library Journal

This book has much to recommend it, in spite of the title. It is a simple, well-laid-out introduction to basic gardening by the editor-in-chief of National Gardening magazine and editors of the National Gardening Association. Its light tone is clearly aimed at novice gardeners. Snappy headings, the use of icons (as symbols are called nowadays), checklists, and diagrams make the book appealing for beginners. Gardeners with some experience might prefer a more substantial and better-illustrated introduction such as the one provided in Burpee Complete Gardener: A Comprehensive, Up-to-Date, Fully Illustrated Reference for Gardeners at All Levels (LJ 2/15/96). This volume is even more up to date, including good lists of mail-order suppliers and further readings and information about on-line resources. Recommended for public libraries.?Daniel Starr, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: For Dummies (Computer/Tech)
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 2 edition (February 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764551302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764551307
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #820,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am born and bred of centuries of pure inner-city living, apartment-dwelling stock. The lights blow out, tub leaks, or toilet won't stop flushing? Call the Super. Trees and dirt? You see them in the park. Flowers? You buy them to give, smile when you recieve, and go to admire them in the Botanical Gardens. Vegetables? You buy them at the supermarket or produce store; they often are frozen or come in cans.
My sister, whose entire repitoire of handyperson skills involved changing lightbulbs, recently moved to a house in what my family calls the "country." Translation: suburbs not reachable by the New York City Subway System. She's got a lawn and a backyard, and can achieve a goal we've always yearned for...a garden. But what do you do when for all of your childhood you got in trouble for digging in dirt because it ment an extra trip to the Laundromat? Because I learned everything I needed to know to get rock 'n rollin' on computers from the very excellent "Dummies" series, and there is no Julia Child or Martha Stewart of gardening that I know of, I bought her a copy of this very excellent book. She grew tulips, hyacinths, pansies, marigolds, and lots of other flowers I forget the names of. Tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, zucchini, onions, green beans, cucumbers, etc. flourished under her stewardship and graced her table. Mint, Dill, Basil, and other herbs grown in her garden enhanced her cooking. She's organizing her work for the '98 season now.
The "Secret Garden" can be real! But don't be misled by the "Dummies" title. You don't have to be as totally green-thumb challenged as my family to benefit from this book. It's got a wealth of advice for anyone interested in growing a garden, from what experienced friends tell me.
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By A Customer on July 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
I am a novice gardener who is trying to figure out how to maintain a well-landscaped property that I inherited. After the first couple of years of letting the place "rest on its laurels" (i.e., get by on its past grandeur and do nothing to maintain it except to water it every now and then, but otherwise neglecting it and letting it get weedy and rangy), I have finally tackled the project of educating myself about gardening and trying to restore some freshness and style to my garden. This book offers a very skillful overview of everything I need to know in order to take on this project. It gives an overview of pretty much every fundamental of gardening, giving enough explanation to help you understand the logic behind the "rules" of garden creation and maintenance, but without the kind of technical detail that would make it tedious or would glaze the eye of the beginner. I have found this an excellent "starter" book--gives the lay of the land, as it were, so that you can establish basic competence and understanding before you go onto more specialized knowledge. THANKS!
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By A Customer on August 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
I don't know how it happened but I thought I had not inherited the green thumb that my parents and Grandparents all had. That is until I found this wonderful guide to beginners gardening and it answered all the questions or told me simply how to find out the answers. I believe my local nursery was also happy that I took time out from trying to do it on my own and read the book.My mother said that she even learned a few new things while glancing through. It is also a good brush up guide before the spring thaw.
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Format: Paperback
Let's say for a second that you DON'T live in one of those regions where most everything grows with little effort. If that's the case, and you'd really LIKE to have a great garden or flower bed, I highly recommend this book. I used to have the black thumb of death when it came to plants and flowers, but that has turned quite green since buying MacCaskey's book. So WHY does it help?

First, it has easy-to-access tip after tip about what plants and flowers need in general as well as what SPECIFIC plants need in order to thrive and look good. It helped me turn a garden that was at first forced upon me into one that looks as if I know what I am doing.

Second, it's also great because it helped me IDENTIFY a lot of the plants in my inherited garden, before telling me how to help them grow happily. After all, you can't really help plants grow if you don't know what they are. It even has extensive sections on growing vegetables and, to a lesser extent, fruit.

The language is great, too, in that it's well-organized in a way that makes it accessible while it teaches readers how to speak "gardenese" so you can ask for everything you need at your local nursery. In fact, when you have this book, even other people in your family start to turn to you for answers about gardening. I found this to be very cool, especially since I quickly found that, surprisingly enough, I now really do know a few things about gardening. Whoda thunk it?

But the most important thing that I know now, in regard to my garden, is that with this book in my back pocket, this coming Spring is going to be one of the best ever for my little corner of suburbia. So, if you're a plant expert (or just a Californian), you may not need this book. If, on the other hand, you are human and sometimes feel as though you live in the land of misfit plants, get this book. You'll be SO glad you did.
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