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Gardening for Beginners

Gardening for Beginners.
Wolfgang Hensel
Hauppauge, N.Y.: Barron's
Publication Date: 

cloth, 189 p., $16.95

This is the kind of book I wish I had when I started gardening. It is no heavyweight tome filled with arcane knowledge that I could never assimilate. Gardening for Beginners is fun, filled with bright photographs with each topic allotted one double page. For example, each topic — say pruning, staking or planting a hedge — carries accompanying information in brief. At the bottom, each page has at least one expert tip (such as to discuss planting a hedge with a neighbor first) and cross-references to other pertinent pages in the book.

The "Garden Year" in the book includes a monthly calendar of jobs, general enough to cover most plant zones. Excellent pictured profiles of 150 plants are divided by seasonal blooming details and uses. The final portion of the book is concerned with garden design in a step-by-step description, with information on colors, shapes, spaces, flower combinations, sitting areas and flower bed design.

The bright colors, good photographs, easy-to-read format and sound information make this a must-have for new, and even not-so-new, gardeners. This book originally appeared in German, but the text speaks well for the universality of gardening techniques. Size and hardiness zones have been translated for an American audience. The index and bibliography are excellent, but the list of magazines includes one title that has been moribund for three years.

— Adele Kleine, Garden Writer and Contributing Writer to Chicagoland Gardening magazine.