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The Shady Lady's Guide to Northeast Shade Gardening Paperback – May 6, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[W]ritten exclusively for those of us who live in this region of acidic soils, sultry summers, wintry mixes, twisters, hurricanes, nor’easters and, my new favorite, wind events. The Shady Lady is bossy, as well she should be. Just tell us what to do: We need help!”—New York Times Book Review


 "For gardeners this is a fine guide to the shade garden, and Ziffer's style is funny and opinionated, which is what you want in a gardening book — or at least I do, since many gardening tomes, while useful, can be dry to read. A tour through The Shady Lady's Guide to Northeast Shade Gardening will have you looking at the shady spots in your garden with anticipation, rather than What-do-I-do-here bafflement." —Valley News


“Northeast gardeners should consider this a specific ‘must.’” —The Midwest Book Review


“The Shady Lady’s Guide to Northeast Shade Gardening by Amy Ziffer aims to help gardeners take advantage of not-so-sunny spots. A gallery of reliable perennials paired with close-up photographs forms the heart of the book. Ziffer defines the categories of shade, then divides listed plants into those that do well in deep shade and those that prefer lighter shade. More lists in the appendices group plants by use and zone. —The American Gardener

Review

“Every Northeastern gardener needs to read this eyes-wide-open, tell-it-like-it-is book. Even if you don’t have shade now, follow the advice in this book and sections of your garden might someday bask in the shadows of luxuriant bedfellows. Get enlightened.” (Tovah Martin, author of The Unexpected Houseplant and The New Terrarium)

“Gardens―and gardeners―are rooted in place, so it’s a good idea to let people know where you’re coming from when you offer advice. Amy Ziffer’s The Shady Lady’s Guide to Northeast Shade Gardening puts it right out front. Hers is no one-size-fits-all tome, but a friendly and informative guide for gardeners who deal with trees, deer and unpredictable weather of the northeast. Practical, detailed and realistic, Ziffer engagingly conveys the challenges and rewards garnered from years of hands-on gardening and close observation. Her depth of experience and conversational tone make this book the next best thing to being in the garden with her.” (Karen Bussolini, garden writer, speaker, and eco-friendly garden coach)

“If you are tired of watching your lawn fade in the shady areas of your property, or have decided to fill those bare spots under your oak with beautiful perennials, Amy Ziffer can help. In her timely new book, the Shady Lady challenges a common misconception in gardening: that there are very few perennials that thrive in the shade. For gardeners seeking a nondestructive compromise between all native landscapes and those decorated only with exotic ornamentals, The Shady Lady’s Guide to Northeast Shade Gardening is a must read.” (Douglas Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in our Gardens)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: UPNE (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611685257
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611685251
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #388,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Talvi TOP 100 REVIEWER on May 3, 2014
This is a very comprehensive book providing all the information needed to create a successful New England garden in difficult shade areas. This 240 page book covers everything from mulching, ph. of soils, various plants and bushes that will do well, mixing and matching the plants, moss, and more. I couldn't think of one question I had about my garden after reading this book.

The focus of the book is, of course, shade gardens. As such, the plant section is divided by deep shade and light shade. And then from there broken down in order: backbone plants, accent plants, spring ephemerals, bulbs, ferns for border use, and ferns best for naturalizing. This is very different from so many books that just list the plants alphabetically by latin name.

Although there are little to no pictures for most of the description areas, each of the plants in the plant section has a picture for easier identification. Each entry has zone info, latin name, common name, and thorough information that a gardener needs to know about the plant (tips, tricks, problems, benefits, etc.).

The last 20 pages include resource info such as plants that are native to North America, plants by USDA zone, plants that grow well in both shade and sun, moist area plants, plants for rock gardens, groundcovers, and places to go for more information.

This is definitely a 5 star book. And yet, I hope in future editions there will be shade garden examples for inspiration. The book is sorely lacking in images that show the plants together, garden plan examples, and the artistic side of gardening.

Reviewed from an ARC.
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This book came out at the perfect time for me while embarking on a major landscape project in my shady backyard. The earlier review sums up the order of this book well. What made it so likeable to me was that it was very 'readable'. Not all books that teach are a pleasant read. This one is different: it reads more like you found a very experienced gardener's personal notebook. The author gives her opinion based on personal experience and I particularly liked that for each shrub or plant noted, she includes it's benefits and its considerations, which is very important before making an investment. I found some real gems in here that I wasn't previously familiar and I like that she separated degrees of shade. I do agree with the previous reviewer, that including some pictures of gardens where you could see some plants working together would have been a very nice addition, but she does make many suggestions on pairings and groupings. Very informative and I know I will refer to this book for years.
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An excellent, intelligent, no-nonsense guide to the pleasures and challenges of shade gardening. Not for the dreamy-eyed newbie who fantasizes about a fluffy, colorful English garden but for those who delight in the many possibilities and variations of shady plant life. Realistic guidance is offered about soil preparation, plant selection and a reality check about the diligence and dedication actually required in order to be rewarded by a beautiful garden for years to come. Readers will be surprised and gratified by the many plants available these days for the shade garden, and armed with the Shady Lady's solid advice about how to achieve a wonderful place in the shade.
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I wish this book was written 25 years ago, I would have saved a lot of money on plants. This is the type of book I want to buy for other people. I like that she encourages planting native plants but also mentions non natives the most people like. The pictures are very good. She does a great job explaining the nature of plants in the northeast.
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This is a wonderful book, especially the "Gallery" that describes many shade tolerant and shade loving plants. It also has many useful tips about gardening with these plants. The reason it didn't quite meet my expectations is that the review I read of it said that it was written with a lot of wit and humor, but I did not find this to be the case. I found it to be a basically sober presentation, albeit a very fine one.
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The Shady Lady gives very practical information on what to plant in the Northeast, how, when and where, regarding shady conditions. The photo gallery of plants is very helpful. It was not high-goals-rare plants-good luck trying to duplicate - information, but stuff that I felt I could accomplish if only the rabbits will keep away!
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