paper, 420 p., $30
This four-part publication from the American Horticultural Society provides pertinent information for gardeners in the northeast region of the U.S. The first section begins with planning a garden; this includes, but is not limited to, an inventory of design needs and alternatives, keeping in mind maintenance capabilities. The text discusses site analysis and planning; environmental issues, including sensitivity to wildlife habitat; plant disease and pest management; and the importance of plant records and horticultural resources. Two key additions are an updated USDA Hardiness Zone Map and an American Horticultural Society Heat Zone Map; these suggest the regional limits of heat and cold, factors which affect plant survival and growth.
An extensive catalog, listing recommended plants suitable for the region, is divided into categories. Woody plants are separated into plant habit, size, color, flower, and foliage, as well as suitability to specific environmental conditions. Herbaceous materials are similarly treated; these include flowers, grasses, and more tender plants that are treated as annuals. Gardening techniques are the subjects in the following section. These pages offer tips on plant selection, planting instruction, and advice on pruning and propagation. The appendices lists useful Government resources, gardening Web sites, and addresses of horticultural organizations, botanic gardens and arboreta, among others. An index provides the page(s) on which a particular plant is illustrated.
One of the most comprehensive guides to gardening, American Horticultural Society SmartGarden Regional Guide: Northeast provides the gardener with up-to-date information for the region. This publication is highly recommended, not only for its content but also for its 2,500 full-color photos that capture the true hues of each plant.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden