Monday, August 24, 2009

The Perennial Care Manual - A Book Review

Before I post a book review, I like to read the book. All of it. But I received one earlier this week that would be impossible for me to read in its entirety, digest it all, and post a review before it ever comes out in its second paperback printing. And mark my word, it will have a second printing.

Two Christmases ago, our older daughter asked for a good basic book on gardening. She was brand new to the pastime obsession - just a few years behind her mother - and she needed some basic information on how to do it. Oh, how I wish The Perennial Care Manual: A Plant-by-Plant Guide: What to Do & When to Do It by Nancy J. Ondra had been in publication then!

This book is, in a word, comprehensive. When I think of the time and effort that went into this book so that beginning and veteran gardeners would have a good manual of reference when it comes to growing perennials, the book should cost three times its list price of $24.95.

The lengthy subtitle - A Plant-By-Plant Guide: What to Do & When to Do It - is the key to the value of this manual. Taking 125 popular plants and discussing planting, staking, pruning, mulching, dividing, and propagating pretty much gives you all you need to know to grow a successful and varied perennial garden. Rob Cardillo supplies the appropriate and beautiful photography to support the information.

No, this isn't a book to be picked up, read cover-to-cover, then put back on the shelf. It's as the title touts - a manual. You'll turn to it again and again for its good advice, tried and tested by Nancy herself.

The Perennial Care Manual: A Plant-by-Plant Guide: What to Do and When to Do It (paperback)
by Nancy J. Ondra
$24.95 List Price (Amazon Price: $16.47)
Hardcover also available

Nancy J. Ondra is the author or coauthor of 11 gardening books, including Grasses, The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer, and Foliage, for which she won the American Horticultural Society Book Award. She is a member of the Hardy Plant Society and gardens on four acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She is a contributing author to the blog Gardening Gone Wild, as well as her personal gardening blog, Hayefield.

Rob Cardillo has been photographing gardens, plants, and the people who tend them for more than 20 years. He captures plants at their best for books and magazines, horticultural suppliers, and landscape designers throughout the United States.

Other reviews:

Pam of Digging
Carol of May Dreams Gardens
Dee of Oklahoma Examiner

The product or merchandise being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for testing and reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine, with no suggestions whatsoever by the manufacturer or distributor. If I like it, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that, too.


Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

You and Carol both reviewed this one-- both seemed to like it! Does it have details for which zones a plant is hardy in?

Dave said...

Nan does a great job with her books and her blog. I can't wait to see this one! I really liked her book on Foliage.

Kylee Baumle said...

Janet ~ Yes, it sure does give the zones, Janet. It gives great detailed information on each plant she highlights.

Dave ~ I love this book. It's just so easy to understand. I'd like to get her Fallscaping one. That's been on my list for too long. Must. Get. Soon.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Thanks for the review, this is one I was actually looking at the last time I was at the bookstore. I have so many garden books already I wasn't sure if it was worth it. I'll have to pick this one up next time I'm there.

Nan Ondra said...

I've never been quite sure about the proper etiquette of responding to book reviews: if it's tacky to be grateful for a positive review. But I've decided that a heartfelt thank-you is never amiss, so...thank you! Your enthusiastic response means so much to me.

I was kind of isolated during the writing most of my books, but this one started just around the time I got into blogging, and I feel like it's almost a group effort, because I tried to incorporate all of the exciting things I've learned from my fellow bloggers. If I've managed to share even a part of that, I consider it a success. So, I thank you for sharing your experiences and enduring love of gardening in your blog, as well as for the review!

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Hi Kylee, thanks for linking to my review on Examiner. I've updated the Examiner page to reflect the reviews (thus far) of Nan Ondra's book. Great review, btw. It's been interesting to see how others viewed it.~~Dee

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

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