cover image Caring for Perennials: What to Do and When to Do It

Caring for Perennials: What to Do and When to Do It

Janet Macunovich. Storey Publishing, $19.95 (200pp) ISBN 978-0-88266-957-1

Of greatest appeal to inexperienced gardeners or readers looking for a leg up on gardening technique, Macunovich's book wins points for expertise but loses ground in delivery. The concept is sound: to showcase tried and true garden management strategies, a professional gardener takes charge of a 500-square-foot perennial bed at a public botanical garden, closely tracking its care and maintenance over the course of a year. In the process, readers become very familiar with this particular garden and its occupants and learn the when and how of such seasonal chores as pruning, dividing, transplanting, fertilizing and edging. Because the geographic location of the garden is not specified in the text, readers are left to infer from the acknowledgements that it's in Michigan. Macunovich (Easy Garden Design) leaves no stone unturned in this account, but the text fails to convey the excitement of what's happening in the garden; while informative and thorough, the prose lacks humor or a sense of individuality. An abundance of photographs showing the garden's development through the seasons helps to bring life to this endeavor, which offers lots in the way of substance but less in terms of style. (Mar.)