Budget Wise Gardener by Kerry Ann Mendez

The Budget Wise Gardener has just been released by St.Lynn's Press in time for spring garden planning. It's a great little book that you will probably enjoy reading as much as I did. It's equally good for gift giving (think house warming, new gardener, birthdays, etc.). 

The author, Kerry Ann Mendez is well-known in the gardening and garden writer community. The book's recommendations come from luminaries such as Joe Lamp'l, Tovah Martin, Allan Armitage and Adrian Bloom.

Mendez gardens and consults in Maine so her plant recommendations are primarily for that part of the world (zone 5) and can, for the most part, do well in our zone 7 humid climate.

Oakleaf Hydrangea
As indicated by the title, the premise of this book is having a great garden that is easy on your budget. For example, when you are shopping for perennial plants, look for them early in the spring so you can buy the ones that the nursery grew over the winter and therefore have larger root systems.

Also, buy perennials in the larger container size and divide them before planting. Another other tip is to look for containers that have several smaller plants in them so you can take them apart at home.

Short-lived perennials should be purchased in small containers or started from seed. These include blackberry lily (3 years in my garden), flax, columbine and Iceland poppy.
Any time you are planting a favorite, include early, mid and late season varieties. We've done this with daffodils and have 3 months of flowers as a result. Other plants that offer that kind of variety: Allium, Astilbe, Daylily, Iris, Peony and Phlox.

Gravel Garden
Mendez has ideas on how to improve your soil, minimize water use, find inexpensive containers, design, plant selection, and color. In the plant selection arena she covers vines, annuals, ground covers, meadows, rock gardens, and living rugs.

You get hundreds of tips in this little volume. It is well-written, a pleasure to explore and downright helpful, which I don't say about many gardening books.

Kerry Ann Mendez is the owner of Perennially Yours and her gardens have been featured in garden and lifestyle magazines, newspapers, radio and television shows. Mendez’s other books include The Right-Size Flower Garden. Mendez gives over 25 workshops and webinars, and as many 70 talks a year. She is the founder of the annual Great Gardens and Landscaping Symposiums at the Equinox Resort in Vermont, and recently hosted 6 national webinars for Horticulture magazine. www.pyours.com. She resides in Kennebunk, Maine.

The book is $19.95 from the publisher and $16 at online vendors. 176 pages, 8 by 8 hardback.


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