With the renewed interest in backyard gardens and green spaces, a series of books gives B.C. gardeners valuable information to get them started. Whether your plans are for vegetable or ornamental flower gardens, these books cover the basics. Each of the books reviewed is geared to Canadian gardeners.
Beginner Gardening in Canada
Author: A.H. Jackson
224 pages, soft cover
Lone Pine Publishing
Gardening 101 in 224 pages
If you have ever considered starting a garden, this little book covers all of the bases and then some.
It gets you started offering all kinds of information on climate, soils, tools and things to watch out for. The book pages are colour-coded so finding relevant information is easy. The author talks about appropriate trees, lawns, shrubs and plants for the backyard gardener. It is not a tell-all book covering everything you ever wanted to know, but it gets you enthusiastic and eager to get gardening. The tips in “managing your garden” covers natural insecticides you can concoct in your kitchen, plant diseases you can spot and problem solving.
Did you know that if you soak rhubarb leaves in water for 24 hours and add a few drops of dish soap, you can make a very effective (albeit poisonous) natural insecticide to control mites and aphids.
For the beginner this is a terrific little primer for the backyard, patio or balcony gardener. It is easy to read, well organized and well thought out. It’s all you need to get started.
Author A.H. Jackson was born into a family of food processors, where he experienced the food business from harvest to table.
Gardening with Colour
Creative Design Ideas for Canadian Gardens
Author: Rob Sproule
320 pages, soft cover
Lone Pine Publishing
Everyone seems to admire floral gardens that have seemingly bloomed in a most amazing coordinated way.
The hues and complementary colours are not random, they have most likely been chosen by a gardener with an eye for balance and design.
Author Rob Sproule takes the novice gardener through the process of planning and planting around the elements and principles of good design. In other words simple universal rules for what looks good and what doesn’t.
In his book Sproule has 60 feature designs, each with a diagram, list of ingredients and care instructions. In turn each of the designs is looked at asking the following five questions: size and habit; exposure;moisture; fertilizer and compatibility. He talks of colour theory, containers, soil mixes, groupings, focal points and planting tips. A lot of information is packed into this book and it is inspirational and makes one want to get their flowers coordinated both by size and colour.
For each of the 60 feature designs Sproule tells you what plants to buy, colours to match and what type of containers best show off your efforts. He talks of creating backdrops and visual interest thus moving away from the ordinary.
This book is well worth the price, if only for the pleasure of inspiring the avid floral gardener.
Rob Sproule feels privileged to share his passion with gardeners. He especially loves to talk with gardeners who are just starting out and eager to get their fingers in the dirt.
Vegetable Gardening for British Columbia
Author: Laura Peters
272 pages soft cover
Lone Pine Publishing
With the increased awareness and attraction to growing one’s own food, this liitle paperback book may be just the thing to get one going on their own backyard vegetable garden.
From small container boxes to wide open space, Laura Peters talks about it all in an easy to understand way. She walks you through the process of starting a garden. There is a section on plant disease and insects and what to do about them. She tells you how to make manure tea and handle compost.
The vegetables are in alphabetical order and she provides information on starting, growing, harvesting, tips, and problems and pests on each plant. The colour photographs add immensely to the book. Not every vegetable you can think of is included, but most of those you would want to grow and harvest are.
There is a section on “other” plants you can grow that may not be classified as vegetables, plants such as fiddlehead ferns and amaranth.
In the appendix she lists companion plants.
For the more experienced backyard gardener or the beginner this book is well laid out and informative without boring one with far too much detail. If you have to get one book to get started gardening, this would be an excellent choice.
Laura Peters is a certified, seasoned Master Gardener, garden writer and photographer with over 30 gardening books to her credit. She has worked in almost every aspect of the horticulture business.
Just Ask Jerry
Good Answers to Tough Canadian Gardening Questions
Author: Jerry Filipski
240 pages, soft cover
Lone Pine Publishing
David Tarrant, host for CBC’s Canadian Gardener said his forward to Just Ask Jerry, that if he had of thought about what the best gardening book would read like, it would be based on all the notes kept about actual gardening you did in your own backyard.
Jerry Filipski is a gardener and he, in his time, has asked a lot of questions. His book is where the answers are found.
He talks of getting started and the equipment needed, what to look for in soil and how to beef it up, composting, mulching and fertilizing. He answers common questions on the most popular topics. Want to know about lilacs or why there are racks in the top of your tomatoes? The answers are there.
It’s common sense advice to common questions. Even if you don’t have your questions answered, you still gain some knowledge from other people’s questions. It’s a good read for gardeners of any ilk.
Vegetable gardening, perennials, lawns, container gardening and trees and shrubs are all covered.
Jerry Filipski has been helping gardeners for more than 20 years as the gardening columnist for the Edmonton Journal. Since retiring Jerry and his garden are now one.
The books are priced from $18.95 to $24.95 look for them at local book stores or visit www.lonepinepublishing.com.