Container Gardening For All Seasons
First let me say that I meet Barbara Wise at a convention a couple of years ago and we quickly became friends. She is a passionate gardener and, as Director of Floriculture for a developer, has designed and created thousands containers and window boxes. Barbara has probably designed more container gardens than anyone I know. She is has a great website called Bwise Gardening: Cultivating a Culture of Gardening.
Luckily for experts and newbie container gardeners alike, she has put her extensive know-how and container creativity into this book. The premise of the book is to teach people about container gardening through a recipe-based approach with 101 container designs, pictured, profiled and explained.
The book is organized by the four seasons, which given the wide temperature variances throughout the country (she lives in Tennessee, I live in Maine), initially I thought this would be a challenge. Fortunately Barbara is up to it. And each season has interesting and inspirational ideas.
The introductory sections give a great and easy to read education on container gardening. The writing is funny and interesting. There are some tips even for more experienced gardeners. Her section called, "The Ten Commandments of Container Gardening," is humorous and gives the basics of container gardening. I particularly like her quote, "A plant without fertilizer is weak. A plant without water is dead."
Then we get to the meat of the book--the 101 container designs. While not every design is going to appeal to every gardener, you can learn something from each. Every pot is accompanied by a write-up that is worth reading, even if you don't want to make that particular container. There are tips and info on plants and planting on every page that are worth learning.
Barbara has a huge plant pallet so just by looking at her pots and reading the descriptions, you can get a pretty good education on container plants and possibilities for how to use them. Barbara Wise is not a timid container garden designer. Her pots go from pretty sedate to wild and overflowing, but all are luxurious and thoughtful. Her expertise and easy to read to read writing style make this a great addition to any container gardener's bookshelf.