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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Best Northwest Gardening Book Ever

If you’re a perfectly organized person don’t bother reading this. It’s for the rest of you, the ones (not me, of course) who have experienced things like getting out of the shower fifteen minutes before needing to leave the house, and discovering they had no clean underwear because they forgot to put that laundry in the dryer. Our lives are so busy. We can all use a little help keeping on track now and then, in order to get done the things we really need do. That includes gardening chores. It’s easy to “forget” about, or just not find the time for, all those important seasonal tasks that people with great gardens do. If only a little voice inside us would guide us. In some cases it takes more than the subtle voice of conscience … more like the megaphone yell of no-fail, clear-cut directions.

I think I’ve found just the thing in a great book by local Pacific Northwest gardening experts, Mary Robson and Christina Pfeiffer. It’s called Gardening in Washington & Oregon, subtitled Month by Month-What To Do Each Month To Have a Beautiful Garden All Year, published by Cool Springs Press. This book is one of the best on the market because of the vast amount of information it contains specifically applicable to our region, and especially because of the way it’s organized. After twenty-two pages of great general gardening know-how, the ten chapters begin, each one focused on a single category, everything from Chapter One on annuals & biennials to Chapters Ten on vines and ground covers. In between are chapters on roses, shrubs, trees, lawns, etc., even houseplants. Then it gets better. Each of those chapters is organized month by month. That’s right. No more excuses or confusion. Now you can turn the page on your calendar and then the page in your book, to find out exactly what you should be doing for your plants during that particular month in this particular region.

Believe it or not, there is yet another layer of organization. For each plant group and each month, you’ll find the following headings: Planning, Planting, Care, Watering, Fertilizing, Grooming, and Problems. I suspect that the last topic, “Problems”, is needed the least, if readers actually follow all this customized advice as given. Then there are the final pages listing garden resources on the web, public gardens, a bibliography and more, including a “Meet the Authors” page. (Robson and Pfeiffer have truly impressive credentials.) If you have any gardeners on your Christmas list, including yourself, buy this book. I got mine at the Pacific Northwest Shop in Tacoma's Proctor business district, but it's widely available. Just think how nice it will be to pour a up of coffee on a cold winter day and spend some time looking at all those gorgeous garden pictures, while vowing to keep the yard up perfectly in 2009. Now remember to start the dryer and don’t let any dust gather on your Martha Stewart Living magazine sitting on the coffee table, but do take time to read, enjoy and put to use, this innovative gardening book. You may not have your entire life perfectly organized, but you CAN be a perfectly organized gardener. They made it easy.

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