June 2005

The Essential Garden Book Getting Back to Basics

Three Rivers Press, A Division of Crown Publishers, Inc.

  • 201 East 50th Street
  • New York , NY


abc The Essential Garden Book xyz is a good basic reference for the novice gardener. Terence Conran and Dan Pearson have managed to pull together all the information anyone could want or need in planning a garden or simply adding to an existing one. The book is very straightforward and easy to understand- no confusing pictures and captions here. Starting with a brief history of innovative designers of the past such as Gertrude Jekyll and William Morris, and a history of gardening in general, it ends with “Essential Techniques” which includes such essentials as pruning, planting, propagating and ground preparation.

One of the chapters in abc The Essential Garden Book xyz is called “Understanding Plants.” This is an excellent guide for learning about plant groups: woody trees and shrubs, bulbs, perennials, climbers, annuals and biennials. Each chapter is brief but thorough in its approach, so even the experienced gardener can gain some insight, without getting bogged down with too many how-to explanations. The photos are some of the best I’ve seen in a garden book, and the numbered captions have a black background so they are very easy to see.

Included in the book is a directory that is intended to make plant selection easier. In it, the authors have recommended some of the best trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals for the home garden. Each plant description lists the botanical name as well as the common name, and has a diagram for the hardiness zone and a silhouette of the plant’s shape. abc The xyz abc Essential Garden Book xyz is a great book for any gardener’s library, packed full of design ideas and practical know-how for anyone setting off on the Garden Path.

Reviewer: Cynthia Aaron, FIDM Library Staff Member