Gardening Basics for Dummies by Steven A. Frowine
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Me: Smell that? You smell that?
Me: Flowers, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. *kneels* I love the smell of flowers in the morning.
Don't feel dumb if you're stupid, not when it comes to gardening. Plants are precocious. As green of a thumb as you think you have, there's always a chance that no matter what you do you'll likely kill a plant or two. I've read a few of these gardening books and I've talked to knowledgable experts, and dammit, I still lose an azalea now and then. Hardy Mexican Patunias wilt under my hand. Impossible-to-kill succulents get themselves killed on my watch.
Gardening Basics for Dummies is aptly titled. This book has the basics laid out for beginners. In case it didn't sink in the first time, it repeats the basics time and again from chapter to chapter. I'm a bonafide brownthumb but even I only need to be told how to plant something in the same exact manner just once…okay, maybe twice…but not a dozen times!
IMO, too much time is also spent in garden design suggestions, replete with extensive diagrams. Looks a lot like page-filler to me.
Another issue is that the scope of gardening in general is very large. This book is meant to cover all of the U.S., which encompasses many varied climates. Yet it assumes throughout that you will have to prepare your plants for a frost season. Well, where I live we don't get frost. We get searing heat in midsummer, but there's no mention of how to prepare for that in Gardening Basics for Dummies.
However, there is plenty of helpful tips that if implemented will better your chances for a successful garden, whether it be flowers, vegetables, shrubs, berries, fruit trees, etc. Both annuals and perennials are given lengthy sections. Roses and bulbs, too. Hell, even grass gets its own fat chapter!
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