Beautiful and practical, Dardick and Levick's guide to 44 wee California gardens should inspire readers as much as it helps them. The book covers every sort of garden, from dry to lush, from Chinese ornamental to English cottage. In Venice, for example, Dardick showcases an""An Ornamental Edible Garden"" that uses a thick ficus hedge to protect five raised beds of artfully arranged eggplants, zucchinis, lettuce, carrots and broccoli. In Carmel, she finds a long, narrow walkway transformed into""A Tropical Scene"" by lobelia, passionflowers and ferns. In Burbank, she shows a""A Desert Garden,"" filled with potted cacti, that serves its owner's""laboratory, observation, and conservation space."" Dardick's precise chapter titles allow readers to quickly locate gardens that address the problems they are having with their own yards, whether they want to create""An Illusion of Expansiveness"" or design""A Drought Tolerant Garden."" And her opening essay provides an easy introduction to landscaping small spaces, with suggestions to keep plants petite, leave an open area in the center of the plot and consider color carefully.""Details are crucial in a small area,"" she writes. Levick's elegantly composed color photographs help readers see how these principles have been applied, or modified, by real gardeners--almost every page in the book contains one of her beautiful images. Such a well-designed and useful book deserves a place on every gardener's bookshelf. 300 color illustrations.