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Perennials Through the Seasons: 20 favorites that are striking in and out of flower Paperback – April 19, 2017
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"Perennials..." is a conversation piece, a gift, which can be discussed and shared. Get inspired and see what's possible in the world of plants. A+
As learning gardeners, it's been shocking and disappointing how little four-season-inclusive information is available. John has been doing deep dives on his favorite (as well as his least successful) plants on his blog for some time, and we're almost always referencing his website as we browse the offerings at the garden center in search of winning additions for our landscape.
Finally, he's produced this handy guide—which we've already been guilty of bringing to the nursery on multiple occasions—that is exceptional in its informational and planning value. See each perennial in every season—not just how it looks during bloom time. We've added a score of new ornamentals this year based on John's advice in this book, and they are already some of the highlights of our of our yard.
This book does a fantastic job of setting expectations for plant performance by-season, and will save you valuable time by enabling you to put the right plant in the right place for optimal vitality, spread (or containment), complementary combination (and some of his recommended combos are incredible!), and year-round interest.
Aside from actionable advice, the book is also an engaging read—one of Markowski's trademarks is that he always has an interesting story (usually humorous with a lesson) and this book does not disappoint. Perhaps John's greatest strength as a writer is the way he is uniquely able to juxtapose self-deprecating descriptions of his neurotic and OCD-like energy in the garden with his overall laid back observations to create a friendly, accessible tone that makes the finer points of ornamental gardening fun and easy to digest.
Despite his deep knowledge and experience, Markowski never makes the reader feel alienated. With this first book, he leaves his audience feeling empowered and capable of affecting equal results in their own gardens, and powerfully imparts a rare appreciation for the year-round aesthetic strengths of perennial plants.
Lots of white space mixing with photos and text add to the sense of relaxed and creative flow as you flit from flower to flower, season to season. Within each of the sections you’ll find personal reminiscences, going back sometimes to the mid-nineties. The stories are short enough to give a taste. Many might prompt hopes that the author will someday write a full length personal essay. Buds, blossoms, and late season ‘winter interest’ may pass quickly in nature, and there’s not much one can do about it but watch, listen, appreciate. Great nature writers know how to milk this amazing subject for all it’s worth. This book is not that kind of meditation, and that is in itself, a strength.
Suggestions are welcome (to the novice, at least): the “classic duo” for instance, of purple coneflower and black-eyed susans, or purple conflower and Russian sage. Photos are provided, so you don’t have to take the author’s word for it. In addition, we don’t get bogged down with everything that may go wrong, so are indirectly encouraged to try things in our own gardens. Some suggestions re the drooping, falling over sneezeweed syndrome are solid ones. In the perennial garden you can make mistakes, and get many chances – to make more.
In one story, the author describes his practice of stealing plant tags early in his career. I like these windows into a gentle spirit who is a bit of a rascal and proud of it, or at least has nothing to hide. Overall, there’s a great attitude of laissez-faire, curiosity, experimentation, and fascination with nature, with all her quirks, beauty and wisdom. This book would make an especially nice gift to any new home-owner or novice gardener.
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The topic of John's book fills a gap in the gardening literature - observing...Read more