Gardening Shortcuts breaks down gardening tasks into small chunks so that you can accomplish things in your garden in a relatively short period of time. It has step-by-step instructions for projects as well as plenty of other advice to get your garden, yard and patio looking ship-shape in no time.
This is such an awesome book. Sometimes large project feel daunting because it can be awhile before you see progress, so I love the idea of breaking up the projects into smaller pieces. It makes me feel like I've accomplished something and motivates me to do more. It also allows me to spruce up or fix one part of the yard at a time without having to invest a whole afternoon.
The introduction includes some information on soil type, ground preparation, containers, seeds and buying plants as well as basic tools needed. This stuff is presented up front to avoid repetition later on in the book.
The rest of the book is kind of a mish-mash of ideas and projects. It has some project pages with step-by-step instructions, equipment lists and photos. There are also 2-page spreads that show you how to achieve a certain look in the garden. It lists the plants and elements need to impart a particular style. Other 2-page spreads feature advice on general maintenance. They list a number of jobs and/or projects for the different areas of your yard or garden.
There are a few pages that deal with the garden over winter. Since snow isn't mentioned, I can only assume that this book isn't meant for the Canadian prairies where I live. That's ok. There's enough for me in the other pages to make it a worthwhile read.
The book is filled with wonderful projects and ideas. Here are a few that I picked out to try:
- DIY patio canopy (page 34). I don't have a pergola yet, but I hope to in the near future. This will provide a little shade and some privacy on the deck. Did I mention we don't have a deck yet, either? That's coming soon, too.
- Privacy screens (page 36). Because many of the trees have been cleared around our house (previous owners, not us), our yard is wide-open and not that private. I'm hoping to use some of these ideas to create a few private areas in our yard.
- Lawn into meadow (page 102) and Wildflower meadow (page 170). We have a large section (just over an acre) in our yard that we don't use for much. We are hoping to turn it into a wildflower meadow. That is, if we can keep the weeds down. So far, we left the grass long, mowed a path so that we could walk around it, and threw down a bunch of wildflower seeds. There are still a few tasks, like weed control, that need to be done, but now it's pretty much just wait for the grass and wildflowers to grow. I can certainly do that.
The table of contents is extensive. It lists all of the projects/ideas/tasks in all of the major sections. The index is pretty good, however, I think it's missing some entries. When I was looking for the "meadow" pages, I couldn't find them. Since there are two of them, I would think that warrants an index entry.
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.
Gardening Shortcuts by Jenny Hendy, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2012. ISBN 9780756689780(Softcover), 192p.