When selecting a gardening book, look for content that aligns well with your needs and interests. That might seem like advice from Mr. Obvious, but it is easy to be drawn into material that is too specialized or too fundamental in terms of your gardening goals.
Many gardeners share an interest in low-maintenance gardening, so that is has become an inside joke for landscape designers and contractors.
In fact, several factors influence the level of effort that a garden requires. Certainly, landscape size and plant selection are significant contributors to the maintenance task.
Another very important factor that can impact the time and effort required is the gardener’s knowledge of gardening. Simply stated, if you know what to do and when to do it, your efficiency goes up, your error rate goes down and your successes multiply.
So, how does one acquire that knowledge? One way is to spend a lifetime with hands in the dirt and heightened awareness, but there are shorter roads to expertise.
If you regard yourself as a novice, you might enroll in Gardening 101, but such courses can be hard to find and time-consuming.
A good alternative is Sunset Publishing’s 2013 book: The 20-Minute Gardener: Projects, Plants, and Designs for Quick and Easy Gardening, edited by Kathleen Norris Brenzel.
Despite its title, this book does not present a schedule for gardening in 20-minutes a day, but does provide good basic information on many aspects of gardening, so that one could use his or her time efficiently and effectively.
The first 40-plus percent of the book deals with Setting Up Your Space; Quick Fixes; Inspired Ideas, Easy Projects; and Techniques. Many sections within this part of the book begin with an action verb: Choose Easy-Care Plants, Keep Plantings Accessible, Plant Seasonal Containers, etc. This style amounts to setting clear objectives, always a good first step in getting work done.
The next section, which equals nearly half the book’s pages, presents brief descriptions of plants. There are countless gardening books that list and describe plants (gardeners apparently love lists!); the value of this section rests on the shortness of its plant lists in each of several categories. In this way, the book focuses attention on garden-worthy, easy to grow plants, but minimizes the pleasures of discovering and trying less familiar plants.
Such adventures might not be the novice gardener’s highest priority.
The remaining pages provide useful information and a good index.
Overall, the book offers clear and reliable gardening advice that could help the novice gardener establish the knowledge base for low-maintenance gardening, and lead to productive and satisfying gardening experiences. The 20-Minute Gardener is valuable resource for the targeted readers.
Enjoy your garden!