Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Perennial Care Manual

“The Perennial Care Manual – A Plant by Plant Guide. What To Do and When To Do It”, by Nancy J. Ondra. You can get a taste for her writing at her classy and informative blog “Hayefield”. 

This large book (8 ½” X 11” with 355 pages), replete with Bob Cardillo’s gorgeous photos, is divided into two parts - “Perennial Care Basics” and “Plant by Plant Perennial Guide”. It is one of the most readable books I’ve ever read.

The “Perennial Care Basics” section contains a lot of information to absorb. From starting a new garden to revamping the old garden, there are so many tips and tricks simply make you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

For instance, I want to mulch the roses after ground freezes but, after the ground freezes, the mulch is also frozen. Nan’s advice: Cover the mulch with a tarp to keep it from freezing. I did that this year. I made my mulch pile on the patio next to the roses and covered it with a tarp. The mulch stayed warm and I mulched the roses in December. Why didn’t I think of that?”

Not in a lifetime could I get so much information in one book. Each one of the 125 perennials in the “Plant by Plant” section includes growing tips, seasonal care and troubleshooting. Inserts for most of the plants contain tips and facts not found in your average plant description.

An insert for Crocosmia:  “Definitely Deadhead – Where crocosmias thrive they may actually grow too enthusiastically to the point of being aggressive…invasive in some regions…”  I haven't had that problem yet but I will definitely keep an eye on them. Deadheading is a simple task. A few snips and the job is done.

I guess you can tell I’m a big fan of this book. I’ll be happily dreaming through it all winter and beyond!

A reminder for local gardeners:

Get out of the house for an evening and start thinking SPRING! The first session starts 6 PM January 17 at Bethlehem Township Community Center. Call 610-391-9840 to reserve a spot or print the brochure in the link above and send it in.


Nan Ondra said...

Hey, Marie - thanks so much for the review. I'm glad you've found the book useful. And yes, Rob's photos are gorgeous, as always!

Marie said...

Thank you, Nan and Rob, for a great book! I can't read it fast enough. It's a wonderful reference for the plants I have and will be invaluable when I add new plants to my garden. I think the Perennial Care section will change some of my old gardening habits. Only 67 days 'till Spring!