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The Mix & Match Color Guide to Annuals and Perennials Hardcover – January, 2001
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From the Publisher
The secret behind any successful garden is good planning and preparation, which is why The Mix & Match Color Guide, with it's revolutionary tiered flip card format, is such a valuable addition to every gardener's library. The book offers millions of potential planting combinations of annuals, biennials, and perennials, with attention not only to color but to height, growing conditions, shape, and flowering period as well. Such practical gardening advice, plus information on buying, planting and caring for each plant, ensures that you can devise the perfect display for your container, bed, or border. And 16 inspirational projects will ensure that you can enjoy your garden color from early spring through autumn.
*Unique tiered flip card format provides endless planting possibilities
*16 Fresh and original projects demonstrate how to use some of the latest varieties of plants such as miniature sunflowers, unusual ideas for plantings including a poppy basket, an everlasting border, and petunia pavement
*Written for novice and experienced gardeners alike
*Can be used when choosing and buying plants
*Includes a directory of seed supplies, gardens to visit, and U.S. zonal maps
Top customer reviews
When I looked at it first I just saw a jumble of color, too many pictures and not really the design information I wanted. It seemed like I could get just about the same pictures and information from a seed catalogue. I suppose if you were patient you could pick the flowers you found interesting and plant them but the book struck me more like an encyclopedia of flowers.
As the title says it is a color guide,but it is a color guide of individual flowers. There are very few pictures of what plants look well with others. For a gardener who knows a name of a plant and wants to see what it looks like and a few facts about it this book would be fine. I guess I am more of a person who likes pictures of combined plants in a garden setting.
The bulk of the book comprises four sets of horizontal strips, spiral-bound, each showing a full-color photo on one side and a description on the facing side (description includes scientific and common name, a sketch of the plant's growth habit, including height and spread, a paragraph or two on the flower, the flower's season of bloom, and sun/moisture/exposure/soil type/zone requirements). There are something like 50 or 60 flowers per section. Flip them back and forth to make umptey-ump combinations of flowers.
The sections are arranged, as you might expect, by height--that is, the flowers shown in the lowest set of strips are all low-growing (pansies, alyssum, and so on) and the ones shown in the top set of strips are the tallest (sunflowers, etc.) But aha! it took me a while to notice that they're also arranged by growing season--that is, the flowers in the earlier pages are spring bloomers, while the ones toward the back of the book bloom late in the season. Clever!
My grade-school daughter and I have spent hours flipping back and forth, looking for that just-right combination of colors, shapes, and heights for our flower patch. (Some of the strips suggest suitable companions; the strips are numbered for reference.) It's really helped her (and me) focus on combinations and how flowers will actually look in context--making it much simpler to visit the garden center and come away with something that will *work*, as opposed to a little of this, that, the other, and whatever was eye-catching or on sale on that particular day!
The rest of the book has a bit of basic information and a dozen or so sample plantings, again with lovely color photos and a minimum of detail (but probably enough to get on with, if you've ever put trowel to earth before).
[Quibbles: Not much distinction is made between annuals, biennials, and perennials (that is, you might not notice that that flower marked for late-spring bloom must be sowed the year before... the info is there, it's just not very prominent). Not all of the photos are to scale; some of the low-growing blooms are shown quite large in comparison to the taller ones. I didn't notice any listing of sources for seeds or plants; a reference list of seed catalogs would have been nice. But these are trivial flaws for the most part.]
All in all, worth the money just for the fun of it. But if you use it to make a plan and stick to it, you'll probably save the price of the book in ill-considered plant purchases as well. We'll write again when our garden is as pretty as we've imagined it...