Friday, June 7, 2013

Canadian Gardener's Guide by DK Publishing

DK is celebrating spring with its Spring into Gardening promotion. I'm a little late in posting this so if gardening is your thing and you need some gardening books for help, motivation or inspiration, hop on over to DK's website for some great deals on gardening books. Here's my review on one of them:

Canadian Gardener's Guide is filled with helpful advice, ideas and techniques for the Canadian Gardener.

This is a great book. I love that it touches upon many aspects of gardening. From designing and planting to growing your own veggies, troubleshooting problems and selecting the right plant for the right location or look. It really is a terrific book.

It starts off with the basics for the beginning gardener. However, even seasoned gardeners will find useful advice in this section.

The design section takes the gardener though the different designs focusing on the key aspects of each one. Whether it's a place to entertain, a productive garden, a family garden or something else, each 4-page spread features an explanation of the space, a labelled layout, and photographs/explanations of the items that fit with that style. The section also includes how-tos for fence posts, paths or patios, decks, and pergolas.

The plant your garden section features more general information on plants. It's not a how-to guide for planting. It focuses more on designing with the "soft" items (i.e. plants) with style in mind.

The grow your own section uses a hands-on approach. It talks about tools and equipment, preparing the site and other things the gardener needs to know to start growing their own vegetables. The vegetable crop planner (page 202-205) was interesting, but I needed more information on what it meant. The time frames for sowing/planting/harvesting some of the veggies were definitely not meant for the prairies. Harvesting in December? The only thing we harvest in December is snow! My favourite part of this whole section is the information on the specific crops: tomatoes, lettuce, beans, peas, kale, Brussels sprouts. This is going to be invaluable because we planted a vegetable garden this year for the first time. There's a similar section for fruit.

The care for your garden section lists general gardening activities for different seasons, shows the gardener how to water, how to save water, how to plant in containers, how to prune, as well as propagation techniques and care advice for lawns, meadows and ponds.

The help and advice section offers troubleshooting advice for problems in the garden. Whether it's weeds, pests, or deficiencies, the book can help the gardener diagnose what's wrong and potentially fix it. My favourite parts of this section is the A-Z list of common pests and the A-Z list of diseases and disorders. Extremely informative.

The final section is called plant chooser. There are 30 lists for different situations, soil conditions, garden location, etc. Included are: plants of summer containers, water and bog plants, climbers for shade, structural plants, plants for hot, dry sites, and many more. Each of the lists include photos, descriptions, size, sun/shade needs, and water requirements. I absolutely love that the legend for the symbols used is in this part is on every 2nd page. No flipping back and forth. Each of these lists also features some alternative suggestions for plants.

The hardiness zone maps on the endpapers are large and fairly easy to read. It's very cool to see how the zones change radically from west to east and north to south in this country.

The table of contents is huge! It not only lists all of the major sections, but also all of the topics, projects, and whatnot within each section. I love that. The index is pretty extensive. That should help the gardener find information quickly.

Highly recommended.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit DK's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at DK Canada for this review copy.

Canadian Gardener's Guide by DK, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2012. ISBN 978155631781(Hardcover), 448p.

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