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P. Allen Smith's Container Gardens: 60 Container Recipes to Accent Your Garden Hardcover – March 1, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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About the Author

P. Allen Smith, one of the best-known gardeners in the United States today, is host of the syndicated television show P. Allen Smith Gardens and the public television show P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home. He makes regular appearances on CBS’s Saturday Early Show and The Weather Channel’s gardening spots. He also gives workshops and lectures and makes home and garden show appearances nationwide. His first book, P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, was a bestselling gardening title of 2003 and was honored by the Garden Writers of America with the Garden Globe Award of Achievement. Visit him at pallensmith.com.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400053439
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400053438
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By G. Paula on April 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read how-to books that had pretty pictures and were very inspiring but in the end still left me wondering how-to. This is not one of those books. Yes, there are lovely photos. And yes, I did feel moved to get out there and get my hands dirty. However, it also contains very detailed, specific instructions on how to create the container gardens illustrated. There was also some more general information on how I could adapt the given recipes to my own ideas. I recommend this book highly.
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Format: Hardcover
P. Allen Smith is back and he is still wearing that blue shirt and khaki pants but at least his ideas for container gardening are more colorful. His second book pretty much follows the same format as his first - glossy pages in front and a section of thick paper pages in back. As with the first, the photographs are outstanding.

This is a book of "recipes" for putting together beautiful color-coordinated containers with contrasting foliage. Some of the containers are more beautiful than the plants themselves and may prompt many readers to start shopping for their planters at antique sales. Each recipe spells out the ingredients - the type container and number and quantity of each plant. A photo and list of tips are also included.

The latter section of the book is quite informative and contains articles on stocking a potting shed (hmmm, the first item is a copy of his Garden Home Journal), selecting the right container for the setting, how to "age" a container, clean terra-cotta pots, waterproof containers, plant a standard pot, a hanging basket and a window box, and a plant directory of all the plants he mentions in the book.

It is quite obvious that these gorgeous containers were put together with plants fresh from the nursery (or florist) and I question how some of them would look after the growing season kicks in. For example, he recommends using the rose "La Marne" in one arrangement and even though he is using a large container, I know that this rose gets quite large and I'm not sure how it would look surrounded by coleus and petunias!?! The same goes for other plants like Kopper King hibiscus, etc. Still, I'm sure a lot of it is trial and error and if you want a book to inspire, this one will surely do it.
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Format: Hardcover
What's not to like about P.Allen Smith's approach to gardening? A favorite of Public Television fans, and the fellow who pops up on the Weather channel, Smith is a font of information for the new home gardener. In his nifty new book CONTAINER GARDENS he shows once again that he has many answers to questions the novice might have about a particular topic. Smith follows the seasons of the year discussing what you might display when spring arrives (bulbs and other spring flowers), summer heat bakes everything (some plants like it hot), fall colors the garden, and winter deposits snow and icicles. I must confess, I generally empty most of my pots when late fall arrives as few are frost proof, but I have purchased some containers in recent years that can weather the coldest temperatures and their contents survive freezing. Smith discusses the pots and pot materials you can use to defy temperature extremes be they hot or cold.

Smith suggests winter is the time when the garden is most subtle with its barks, berries and winter blooms, and last year I prepared a few winter containers using ideas he describes in this book. For one thing, pansies seem to be able to stand cold weather and often on a mild winter day their cheerful little faces pop through the snow to greet you. Some bulbs like Galanthus (snow drops) and Scilla will bloom early and give you a hint of the nice weather to come. Hellebores (and Crocus in my Virginia garden) are famous for their winter appearance, as noted in the Christmas carol "Lo a Rose Er Blooming" and small evergreen plants such as miniature hollies and needled trees also can be used to great effect. You can also try your hand at indoor pots. If you work outdoors, the key is to use a weatherproof container so the contents don't freeze and crack the sides of the pot. Smith's book is a great book for beginners and those of us who have been gardening a while.
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Format: Hardcover
As a novice gardener, I found this book to be very informative and easy to read. Planting in pots for appearance and texture to suit my climate and zone make an easy beginner garden. P. Allen Smith offers many ideas that spark my own imagination and creativy. I enjoy owning this book!

Cathy Leonard
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book as a gift for my grandmother and she loved it! The pictures are great and the step by step instructions are a perfect guide for beginner and even experienced gardeners like my grandma. The high quality of the book makes it a terrific gift!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love his TV shows, thought I'd love this book. Three stars means it's OK. it. I'd have given 4 stars except for lack of useful practical information. The pretty pictures are inspirational for ideas for color and design. but I was hoping for more concrete information about soil composition, soil amendments, fertilizer for different kinds of plants, etc

The book gives "recipes" for specific plants in pots. I'm in zone 3 in Northern Minnesota, not far from Canada where there's a very short growing season and selection of plants is limited. Winter here is mega snow with zero to 20 degrees below zero or colder for several months. The book gives recipes for winter pots but no plant in a container will live thru winters here. That part of the book is useless for very cold Northern winters.

Many of the plants in the recipes aren't available here, especially since this is a small town. Even in Minneapolis MN (where I'm from) I don't remember seeing many of those plants. Maybe if you are in a slightly warmer growing zone the plants in the recipes will be useful if they're available in your local garden centers.

If I had leafed thru this in a book store I wouldn't have bought it. Most likely I'll glance thru the pictures again, then donate it to a thrift shop. I have books with more practical information as well as pretty pictures.
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