cover image 1,001 Gardening Ideas

1,001 Gardening Ideas

Catriona Tudor Erler, Deborah L. Martin. Rodale Press, $27.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-87596-809-4

The editors of Rodale offer readers a seat on the back porch with avid gardeners from around the country sharing tips and shortcuts on their favorite pastime. This informative volume is bursting at the seams with ideas culled from garden writers, nursery owners and other seasoned green thumbs and horticultural experts. The information is grouped thematically and presented in a series of chunks, with topics ranging from tools and composting to seed propagation, landscaping and troubleshooting. Vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruits and berries all get equal time. A trio of recurring sidebars (""Problem Solver,"" ""Homegrown Hints"" and ""Timely Tips"") help unify the book visually, and line drawings add to the lively mix. With its informal, chatty and downright neighborly tone, the text invites browsing, and the bright ideas presented are commonsensical--organic, of course, coming from Rodale--and nearly always low-tech. For instance, an old dish drainer inverted over a catnip patch allows the leaves to grow through, giving kitty something to rub up against without destroying the plant; sunflowers conceal a compost bin; fresh garden herbs snipped into melted butter and then frozen provide a blast of instant summertime for year-round cooking. The hints and advice come fast and furious. The only risk readers may run is wanting to rush out into the garden to try them all at once. (May)