A Way to Garden by Margaret Roach shares insider tips from beginning to end. Her experience is vast. Everyone will benefit from her words of gardening wisdom fine tuned by many growing seasons. Gardeners’ will make this book a top shelf title for their resource libraries. The scales are tipped toward flowers, trees, shrubs, and grasses. The section on viburnums and hydrangeas are especially helpful. Essential vegetables like potatoes and tomatoes get their due, but it’s the work Roach does with creating floral mosaics that will have you picking this book up again and again.
She emphasizes the importance of extending the season by planting early blooming varieties and well as choices for the waning summer. “Early, middle, late” is the mantra she encourages gardeners to adopt for success. Year round interest is another point in her plant selection strategy. Roach is a true plant collector and speaks about what fun it is to finally secure a sought after variety to showcase in your garden.
All her links and suggested resources are right up to date adding to the educational appeal of this book.
She addresses the most common mistakes gardeners make and offers remedies. One is the tendency to settle just a single plant in the bed, instead of creating a mass effect with three, six or nine of the same type. Her words on mulch are informative and you may never mulch the same way again. She addresses how to evaluate a plant when you’re not sure if it will thrive in your growing zone. Roach says, “Try these varieties in two different locations around your property. If it’s not successful in either one, then just pot it up in a container and treat it as an annual.”
A Way to Garden is not just a how-to book. Roach is a true naturalist and shares many personal observations and reflections. I copied several phrases on index cards to reflect on later. I love that she calls seed catalogs our textbooks in a horticulture correspondence course. I received an ARC of this book from Timber Press, an imprint of Workman Publishing in exchange for my honest review.