I wasn’t sure what to expect when I received my review copy of this book. The title, The Ultimate Gardener: The Best Experts’ Advice for Cultivating a Magnificent Garden with Photos and Stories (aff.) suggested that it might be a how-to guide full of tips, advice and inspirational suggestions. I seriously expected that there would be pages of secateur sharpening tutorials, tips on choosing the right hoe for creating more fertile soil and ways to drain worms to extract the optimum yield of castings.
Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find anecdotes from some very impressive writers. While acclaimed for their editing, authoring and journalism most of these writers have no formal qualifications in gardening yet enjoy it as their hobby. Their stories expose some of their garden challenges, memoirs and humorous experiences and each anecdote only takes a page or two to share.
As an example, Linda O’Connell writes about the time she took her two children to visit Grandpa who had just had foot surgery. The two boys were itching to get out into Grandpa’s garden with him but he was incapacited and had to wait a few more weeks. Instead, the boys decided they would help Grandpa and having found a large bunch of artifical flowers in the guest room began “planting” these in the veggie patch.
For those wanting a little more garden inspiration there is a chapter titled “Must Know Info” that has been contributed to by; master gardener – Danita Cahill, landscape architect – Sarah Chase Shaw and nursery owner – Jean Fogle. Titles such as “Choosing Low-Maintenance Roses” and “Tips for Planning a Small Garden: So Many Ideas, So Little Space” offer a bevy of ideas and advice that is sure to get the creative juices flowing.
Charlie Nardozzi of the National Gardening Association is credited as putting this book together and he’s done an excellent job of compiling some wonderful stories by quality writers.
This book is like reading through a heap of garden blogs where you can get to know the gardeners and resonate with their passions, the failures and their triumphs. Admittedly, I haven’t finished reading my copy but it’s one of those books that will sit on my coffee table itching to be read every time I come in from the garden for a re-energizing respite.