Book Review: The Perennial Gardener Design Primer

The Perennial Gardener Design Primer by Stephanie Cohen and Nancy J. Ondra is a well-designed book filled with beautiful pictures. The way this book is organized makes it easy to use.

The book starts with a section on Perennial Design Demystified. This section talks about everything from thinking about what you want to planning hardscapes. Although the entire section is crammed with great information for beginning gardeners or more experienced gardeners who want to improve their gardens, I really liked several sidebars and ideas. This section has an excellent explanation of wind in the garden, a sidebar on using flower arrangements to try out blossom and foliage combinations, and a tip on using a gate without fences for a focal point.

Part two of the book, Putting Perennials to Work, is filled with plans and plant lists for sites with all types of growing conditions. This section is wonderful for anyone who doesn’t like to create garden plans. These plans are really well done.

Part three, From Theory to Practice, is just plain fun. This section allows you to follow a garden bed from start to finish. The difference between a bed that is just planted and a mature bed is viewable in minutes in this section of the book. Since, it would take you three to five years to see the results in real life, this section is quite useful.

Finally, the book ends with a hardiness map, planning chart, and a poisonous plants list.

The Perennial Gardener’s Design Primer is very well done and fun to read. It has joined my other favorite gardening books on my bookshelf. I give this book five out of five sunflowers.

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