Spare yourself a disaster! And a word on gardening books generally.
It’s a sad fact that most plant labels aren’t up to much beyond the accuracy of the name. I mean, if it was left to plant labels we could hardly plant anything in less than ‘well drained soil’ and with gardeners everywhere being increasingly keen to discover that ‘unusual plant’ the potential risk of disappointment has never been greater.
So pop an old plant reference book in the car boot (or trunk) and leave it there for when you spot something unusual. I’ve often disappeared back to the car to check my list of unknown plants that I’ve made up wandering around a nursery.
Or next time you’re in town visit a bookshop and buy a cheap second-hand plant reference. You can get an old book for surprisingly little money and delphiniums want the same requirements now as they did in 1937 or whatever!
Indeed, if you haven’t already done so, you should buy an old gardening book just for the fun of reading what your grand-parents/parents were expected to do in their garden! In one of my old books published for the new suburban householder during the 1930’s the ‘typical herbaceous’ border was 200ft long!! But the best one I’ve got takes 12 pages to explain how to double dig! They are priceless books for a wet afternoon.
But seriously, they DO contain far more useful cultivation information in comparison with the glossy options available today.
I reckon the gardening book shelves in our stores have never been so full. Yet the need for information on gardening in general and plant cultivation in particular has never been more apparent. Why is there such a difference?
In my opinion, far too many modern gardening books fall way too short of offering practical gardening information. Too many come from a design perspective, use commercial photo libraries and regurgitate the same old tired descriptions and cultivation mistakes. (After all, seeking more help is one of the reasons you’re here or visiting my own gardening advice forums).
But it does appear to me at least, that many of these gardening books are written by people whose plant cultivation skills appear to be drawn from their experience of living in ‘a flat with a window box and have clean fingernails’. Such people can obviously convince a publishing house but they simply don’t have sufficient growing experience with all the varieties they profess to advise upon!
To this end I am writing a series of ebooks available for instant download through my highly informative gardening web site. The first, entitled ‘Garden Design and Build’ is now available. The next books will be on greenhouse gardening and Fuchias.
And just for the record, my own garden, which I designed and built myself without any outside help, contains over 3,000 different plant varieties and at one time I grew 243 different Fuchsia varieties.
- 13 Aug, 2008
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