cloth, 256 p., $35.00
As the main presenter of a series on BBC Television, author Monty Don is an affable host for a popular gardening program. This book is a compilation of horticultural subjects that were offered by the program staff in different episodes in the series. The topics are varied, ranging from the quintessential English ‘long border’ to the fruit garden. One interesting chapter that is particularly suited to the novice gardener is the £20 border; it covers a low-cost display garden of annuals and perennials, grown from seeds. Color photographs of demonstration gardens at a site called Berryfields, which was gradually developed to suit the needs of the program, are used to illustrate the informative text.
A prolific garden writer, Don has a personable literary style that is intimate, yet instructive. Each chapter takes the reader through the phases of development of a particular garden scheme. A calendar of maintenance activities accompanies most topics as a checklist reminder of seasonal chores. Besides the helpful tips typically found in practical guides, the author lists his occasional disappointments in gardening ventures, a nice touch to encourage and enlighten novice gardeners.
Whether experienced or new to gardening, American readers will find this book interesting and instructive as they review British horticultural methods. However, they should remember there are significance differences in geography, soils, and climate in the U.S. from Britain that will affect the successful outcome of a gardening endeavor using the suggested techniques and plantings.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden