Garden Gear - Gardening Books

Book Review: New Illustrated Guide to Gardening in Canada

New Illustrated Guide to Gardening in Canada,
Trevor Cole, chief consultant;
Reader's Digest;
hardcover; 544 pages;
$50.00

To produce a book that covers all aspects of gardening in Canada is an ambitious goal, but the new, updated edition of Illustrated Guide to Gardening in Canada rises to the challenge. Organized into three parts, the book's first section deals with ornamental gardening (trees, shrubs, flowers and lawns), then covers growing plants for food (fruits, vegetables and herbs), and concludes with a section on taking care of your garden (soil, plant disorders and pesticides).

Colour has been added to the 200 or so charts'containing point-form information about thousands of trees, shrubs and flowers'making them much easier to read; thumbnail photos of many of the plants discussed are also included. Colour illustrations of various gardening techniques'such as dividing water lilies, starting annual flower seeds indoors and pruning an overgrown forsythia'are instructive.

I was puzzled by the decision to exclude hardiness zones for herbaceous perennials, particularly when the first plant mentioned is Acanthus'reliably hardy in only a few regions of the country. Younger readers will find the exclusive use of imperial measurements (instead of metric) confusing, and organic gardeners may squirm when they read the numerous recommendations for synthetic pesticides.

Nevertheless, New Illustrated Guide to Gardening in Canada is a useful general reference book, and a good jumping-off point for more detailed inquiry.
--Stephen Westcott-Gratton

Read more in Garden Gear and Gardening Books

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