Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dull Essentials

The gardening section of the library features some of the prettiest, most eye-catching books in our collection. Our newest gardening book, however, has not a single photograph or splash of color. The Informed Gardener by Linda Chalker-Scott contains over 200 pages of black-and-white text, but the information within that text makes this one of our most valuable books of gardening advice. A horticulturist and associate professor at Washington State University, Chalker-Scott has taken on a couple dozen of the most widely-held gardening 'myths' and explained how things really work.
She argues against staking newly planted trees, against gardening with native plants without regard for how their native environment has been changed by development and against using wound dressings on newly pruned trees. Go ahead and disturb the root ball when you plant trees, don't add nutrients to your soil without testing it first, and don't rely on landscape fabrics to keep your weed population tamped down. Each chapter is brief and succinct, with a description of the myth, an explanation of what is really happening, and a short summary that tells you what you should be doing. Best of all, she backs everything up with references and article citations at the end of each chapter (in case you want to learn more about polyacrylamide hydrogels).
This is a really valuable book for anyone who is interested into moving into more serious gardening and landscaping and needs some concrete advice.

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