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Possum in the Pawpaw Tree: A Seasonal Guide to Midwestern Gardening

Possum in the Pawpaw Tree: A Seasonal Guide to Midwestern Gardening
B. Rosie Lerner and Beverly S. Netzhammer
West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 308 p.,  $27.95

Despite its intriguing title, this book is a down-to-earth (no pun intended) manual on what to do when. Written by two highly experienced Indiana women, a landscape designer and a consumer horticultural expert at Purdue University's Extension Service, both Master Gardeners, the information is factual, concise, aimed at the Midwest climate and easy to find. At the beginning, the authors explain their title (read the book to find out; I'll never tell), and then they build their information through the year.

Each month begins with a short paragraph on the characteristics of that period and includes a garden calendar for indoor, yard and garden chores, which can function as a "to do" list. Next, under topical listings, many only one page in length, it describes activities suitable for that month. It concludes each chapter with a series of questions that the authors have been asked over the years, with plenty of answers containing good, practical gardening information on many puzzling problems.

For example, topics covered for June include "Storing Leftover Garden Seed," "Geraniums Repel Mosquitoes??" and "Bacterial Wilt Deals Fatal Blow to Cukes and Melons." Most of the material is aimed at novices, but there is always something for experienced gardeners to learn. The section on using the microwave to purify soil, clay pots, dry herbs and flowers is especially good. Possum in the Pawpaw Treeis an easy-to-read and factual book that you definitely will turn to for gardening answers.

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