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Book review: Gardening with Colour


Gardening with Colour
Creative Design Ideas for Canadian Gardens
By Rob Sproule


If you’ve ever flipped through a really good cookbook to glean ideas and inspiration, you’ll know what it’s like to pick up Rob Sproule’s new book, Gardening with Colour.

Primarily focused on annuals and containers, this accessible handbook-style reference will appeal to newbies looking for guidance as well as veterans hoping for fresh ideas.

The book is made up of two major parts. The first addresses the usual suspects in full detail: growing medium, containers, fertilizers and how to plant. But it goes further, giving a wonderfully concise yet full-faceted overview of design principles.

After laying this groundwork, the balance of the book presents 60 well-illustrated planting schemes—what Sproule refers to as "recipes"—that illustrate and inspire. He has a little something to say about each plant, such as how hard it might be to find, or exactly what part it plays in the given design. Symbols provide at-a-glance info about light, water and food requirements, as well as aggressiveness.

Sproule’s love of poetry comes through in his vivid plant descriptions, making the book not only informative, but fun to read. It feels like you might be wandering down the aisles of the greenhouse with a friend, pointing out all the possibilities to each other.

What makes this book unique
Sproule doesn't just offer a bunch of planting schemes and expect the reader to replicate them; he explains the choices and how they work together, allowing a reader to understand the underpinning ideas and transfer them to situations of one's own design or taste. The recipe and design sections cross-reference each other, sending the reader from principle to application and back again. Summed up with a basic glossary and accurate index, this compact volume is stuffed with flavour and spice—just like a good recipe.

Price: $24.95
Publisher: Lone Pine

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