June 18, 2017


by Toni Leland

Clare Matthews’ terrific book on growing your own vegetables with a minimum of effort is a terrific book for anyone who is short on time, but long on the desire for home-grown food. The Low Maintenance Vegetable Garden is a hefty hardbound volume of 222 pages filled with excellent advice and tips to succeed.

Beginning in the obvious place, the author talks about design, the construction of the garden area, and the planning aspects. From the simplest hole in the ground to intricate garden designs with raised beds and paths, there’s a style to fit any taste.

The author’s sage advice about what to grow that will suit your own particular needs or desires is most welcome for those who want to garden, but don’t know where to begin. She advises growing only what you like to eat, choosing plants that give a large harvest with little effort, and not trying to grow a little bit of everything. Less is better. A nice chart lists very-easy, easy and fairly-easy vegetables from which to choose. More than 110 pages are devoted to this section.

Once you’ve chosen what to grow, the book details how to grow it, including soil, no-dig, mulching, feeding and fertilizers, sowing seeds, transplanting seedlings spacing, weeding, watering, crop rotation, pests & diseases, and even growing in containers.

The book is written in easy to understand language and fully described; superb photography enhances the text, and the book finishes with a full index and glossary of garden terms. For anyone wanting to embark on successful vegetable gardening, this book is a great place to start.

I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.

June 7, 2017

GARDEN DESIGN & PLANNING - Book by A. & G. Bridgewater

Garden Design & Planning is a complete guide to doing just about anything about gardens that a homeowner might desire: designing, planning, building, planting, improving, and maintaining gardens. The author starts with thoughts about enjoying the garden, then assessing where you want to be. Inspiration, design techniques, and planning are the first steps, then a shopping list of tools and materials. Finally, how to mark out your proposed site.

The book is charmingly illustrated with colorful line drawings and photographs emphasizing the steps described, making it easier to understand the instructions. Even the table of contents is well-defined with colorful boxes for each section.

The author mentions that the garden “might not be much bigger than a small room, but this does not mean that you cannot turn it into the best room in the house - a room with a ceiling that stretches right up to the sky.”

Once the preliminaries are taken care of, the book continues with detailed instructions on building walls, fences, hedges, gates, patios, decking, paths and steps, lawns and edgings, borders, pergolas, arches, and trellises, and garden buildings or sheds. The garden design types are many: cottage, kitchen, water, modern, Mediterranean, formal English, secluded city, Japanese, Wild meadow, herb, wildlife, rock, and patio.

The book finishes with a full A-Z section of specific plants and how to incorporate them into your chosen design.

Well-written, easy to understand, and nicely designed, this book from the Home Gardeners series is a must for anyone wanting to enhance their property with a new or newly-renovated garden.

We received this book from the publisher for an honest review.