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Creating a Cottage Garden in North America

Creating a Cottage Garden in North America
Stephen Westcott-Gratton
Golden, Colo.: Fulcrum Publishing
Publication Date: 

cloth, 160 p., $29.95

While cottage gardening has a long historical past, from its origin in England using native plants, this book develops a contemporary approach. Westcott-Gratton, a Canadian, defines the style as organic, always changing, "bringing a profusion of flowering plants and produce growing together in a glorious jumble." Who can resist that definition?

Actually, cottage gardening blends shapes, colors and textures of annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetables into a homogenous mix, relying on dense plantings to achieve its colorful, abundant effect. The author describes the creation of cottage gardens and their evolution over hundreds of years. He considers location, climatic conditions and soil, and includes hedges, trees and garden structures to define the garden space. In a highly personal manner, he profiles his favorite suitable annuals, biennials, perennials, bulbs, herbs and vegetables and includes how-to tips, historical notes and the best companion plants for them. He even throws in some recipes for his heirloom vegetables, such as salsify and cardoon, and one for cowslip wine.

This is a highly readable, factual source book that separates itself from the usual run of cottage garden books.

— Adele Kleine, Master Gardener at the Chicago Botanic Garden and contributing writer to Chicagoland Gardening magazine.