15 December 2009

AHS New Encyclopedia of Gardening Techniques

The American Horticultural Society has a new release called the New Encyclopedia of Gardening Techniques. It's $35 on the AHS site, $29.50 for members. $26 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

This volume is one of a kind in its emphasis on techniques rather than plants. And it is perfect for a new homeowner, new gardener or an experienced plant lover who loves to collect illustrated reference materials so they do things right the first time (That would be me).

At almost 500 pages, you can count on finding something you will need, want and enjoy.

Here are the section titles in Chapter One: Hardiness and heat, Know your yard, Microclimates, Gardening with the environment, Garden design, Know your soil, Digging techniques, Amending the soil, Mulching, Making compost, Leafmold, Pests diseases and other problems, Weed control.

The other chapters are Wildlife gardening, Growing ornamentals, Growing Vegetables and herbs, Growing fruit, Lawns, Water gardening, Container gardening, Greenhouse gardening, Propagating plants.

Some of the illustrated topics are making a bat box, native plants, bulbs, pruning, pests of woody plants, heirloom roses, growing vines and wall plants, sowing seeds, hand pollinating, floating pond plants, how to make a wooden hanging basket, hardening off plants in an unheated cold frame, edging with paving and stones.

The section on leafy greens identifies selections, how to grow them, pictures of planting and harvesting, etc.

Stalks and shoots talks about asparagus, celery, rhubarb. Then there are beans, potatoes, etc.

Interested in fruit? Soft fruit, tree fruit? It's all covered from choosing a site to planting, pruning, training.

Lawns, of less interest to us rural dwellers, is also thoroughly covered. Learn about dethatching, fertilizing, lawns, water conservation, weeds and mowing through careful instruction and plenty of illustrations.

Pond construction and liners are described with all the news alternatives. Pond plants and how to grow them, as well as what to plant on the margins around the pond are described and illustrated. Heaters , repair and seasonal care round out the chapter.

Container gardening isn't just about spillers and thrillers in containers, but includes plants - trees, annuals, perennials, bulbs, vines, etc. Plus watering and fertilizing, stakes and support.

Then! Greenhouse gardening! Coldframes, unheated greenhouses, cool and warm greenhouses, hygiene, pests and diseases. Heating, watering, forcing bulbs, and more.

Next is propagation basics, methods, growing mediums, and methods for dozens of plants.

Collecting and storing seeds and sowing them in flats is only 5 pages - could have been much longer.

Roots, rhizomes, bulbs and tubers are covered briefly.

Stems and propagation by layering, taking stem cuttings, is covered well. Leaf cutting propagation follows.

I like the 2000 photos, illustrations and the non-glossy paper of this book. It is large enough (8.75 by 11.5) to lay flat when a page is opened. The type size is large enough and there is plenty of white space on the page to help with reading.

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