Grow Wild!: Low-Maintenance, Sure-Success, Distinctive Gardening with Native Plants

Lorraine Johnson, Author, Andrew Leyerle, Photographer Fulcrum Group $32.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-55591-396-0
Newcomers to the garden will likely be drawn by the title, but this whirlwind sampling of native plants, gardens and techniques doesn't deliver on its promises. Despite her admission that ""one book can never do justice to the unimaginably complex variations at work in any one region,"" Johnson (Green Future) seems to attempt just that. The country's regions are covered in three chapters encompassing extended areas of the Northwest, the Prairies and the Northeast. Included are discussions of local conservation efforts; lists of native plants suitable to the region and, importantly, invasive exotics; and abbreviated visits with local gardeners. Profiles of specific gardens are interspersed among the plant lists but do not expand on the lists by demonstrating how the plants can be grown and used. A Pennsylvania gardener with two acres of moss for a lawn boasts ""no weeding, no watering,"" but his stance is somewhat misleading, for only certain Northeast locales could successfully support this particular approach. The final chapter, ""The Nuts and Bolts,"" presenting tips, techniques and sources for planning and planting a native-plant garden, is an overview. Like the volume as a whole, it is best used as a starting point for the rigorous effort of establishing the care-free native-plant garden. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
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