Thursday, October 16, 2008

Planning ahead

As we settle down into fall, the true gardeners amongst us know that now is one of the most active times of the gardening year: it's time to clean up and prepare for the next growing season. And since this autumn hasn't been too bad so far, there's no reason to not grab a few of our new gardening books and hit the dirt.
Time-saving Gardener: tips and essential tasks, season by season by Carolyn Hutchinson. According to the book, this is the month you should be planting bulbs, tidying up your rock garden, pruning roses, dividing and transplanting perennials, patching your lawn and building new landscape design elements (which is where the next two books come in handy...)
Trellises & Arbors: over 35 step-by-step projects you can build is a Sunset design guide. Using a wide variety of materials (wire, wood, branches, copper, bamboo, even rebar) you can create some beautiful trellises in time for next year's nasturtiums, clematis and honeysuckle. Build a formal arbor with bench seating underneath, or a more rustic version from those alders you've been meaning to clear out.
Once you've got a beautiful little arbor built, you need an inviting path to go under it. Walks, Walls & Patio Floors: build with brick, stone, pavers, concrete, tile and more is another Sunset book. This book contains a lot of helpful information on proper preparation and design, including layout, grading, drainage and fill. From a simple stepping-stone path through the grass to an elegant brick patio, there is plenty of inspiration here. The chapter on walls is particularly useful here, where so many people rely on retaining walls and terraced slopes in their garden.

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