New City Gardener: Natural Techniques and Necessary Skills for a Successful City Garden

Judith Adam, Author, Judith Adams, Author, Tim Saunders, Photographer
Judith Adam, Author, Judith Adams, Author, Tim Saunders, Photographer Firefly Books $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-55209-313-9
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Adam goes far beyond container gardening on apartment building fire escapes in this fine primer, successfully addressing a wide range of specific concerns for the urban gardener. Leaving no stone unturned, she assesses everything from overcoming the limitations of a city site to improving and amending neglected soil and selecting appropriately sized perennials, shrubs and trees; she also suggests using vines to camouflage ugly fences, walls and vistas. Her practical, straightforward style is enlivened by a keen wit and such horticultural bon mots as ""concealment is sometimes the better part of gardening valor"" and ""like the course of true love, a good path seldom runs straight."" In addition to thoroughly covering the basics of planning, planting and maintenance, Adam shares creative tips on making the most of awkward sites and expanding gardening opportunities by reclaiming and redesigning unused space, from side alleys and parking strips to land covered by unused garages or sheds. Strategies for renters are suggested as well (for instance, planting trees in large pots that can be moved when the lease is up), and numerous sidebars include plant lists and a practical ""getting the job done"" feature that spotlights specific garden chores such as planting trees and patching a damaged lawn. If there's a quibble, it's that the photos, lovely as they are, stretch the definition of truly ""urban"" spaces--but this only serves to make the material of use to the suburban gardener as well. (Apr.)
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