Fellow gardeners, get out your gift wish list and add to it: The Perennial Care Manual: A Plant-by-Plant Guide: What to Do & When to Do It by Nancy Ondra with photography by Rob Cardillo.
(What? You don’t keep a running list of gifts you want? You should. You just never know when someone will want to buy you a present.)
This new book on perennials has all the information you need to plant a great perennial garden and care for it. It’s like two books in one.
The first part is about caring for a perennial garden and includes information on planting a perennial garden, caring for it, keeping up its appearance and troubleshooting problems. Reading through this, I think even an experienced gardener is likely to pick up some new tricks or be reminded of tips they’ve forgotten.
The second part is a “plant-by-plant” perennial guide listing 125 perennials for the garden. For each perennial, Ondra includes a brief description, growing tips and seasonal care information, along with troubleshooting info, when necessary. And every flower is beautifully photographed by Cardillo.
Whenever I get a new book on perennials, I always look up information on plants I know and grow to see what the author says about them. It sort of sets my “trust level” with the information. And that’s just what I did when I got a review copy of this book.
First I looked up Amsonia, Blue Dogbane or Bluestar. I wanted to see if Ondra included information about its tendency to self-sow itself about the garden and if she would mention the white sap that nearly squirts out of the stems when you cut them, depending on when you cut them back. Check and check, both pieces of info were included.
Then I moved on to Heliopsis, False Sunflower. I hoped she would again warn of aggressive self-sowing and also highlight the variegated variety, Loraine Sunshine. Yes and yes.
Finally, I checked Tradescantia, Spiderwort. I’ve decided after years of growing it that it just isn’t all that nice of a perennial. I was happy to see that she included information that would give one pause before planting it, highlighting some of this plant’s faults.
Three for three, that sets my trust level at “high” for the information on the other 122 perennials included in this book.
All this wasn’t surprising to me, having enjoyed many of the posts on Nancy Ondra’s own blog Hayefield. She’s a regular participant in Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day and most months she features several perennials that end up on my own “want” list.
Ondra is truly a passionate gardener with a deep knowledge of gardening and perennials that she shares generously in this newest book of hers. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to get a copy of it to review and will keep it close at hand for quick reference.
It would be a great addition to any gardener’s library, whether you are a new gardener or an experienced gardener.