Designing with Perennials

Pamela J. Harper, Author
Pamela J. Harper, Author MacMillan Publishing Company $40 (326p) ISBN 978-0-02-548180-0
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-8069-7478-1
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Here is a book that serious gardeners can sink their teeth into. Harper (coauthor of Perennials: How to Select, Grow and Enjoy ) wastes no space with the basics that can be found in countless other volumes. Right from the introduction, she gets to the nuts and bolts of garden-making. Harper follows a natural progression, from choosing plants to placing them, to combining flower and foliage colors, to making the most of garden features and ornaments. To aid the inexperienced, she presents an 11-step scheme for designing a perennial border. There are also plans, one for the North and one for the South, from two noted garden designers. Noting that ``nothing one reads, hears, or even observes should be considered gospel,'' Harper ventures no generalizations on gardening for the entire country, confining herself instead to what works--or doesn't--for her in Virginia, with frequent contrasts to her native England. At every turn she makes suggestions drawn from seemingly vast experience, with so many innovative planting ideas including suggested substitutes for other regions) as to leave the reader breathless. Smoothly written, laced with wry good humor and packed with inspiring ideas, this holds its own with the classics. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
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