Thursday, June 21, 2012

Creating Beds and Borders - Book Review

When you keep checking a book out from the library, you know you like it!  And that is the case that I find with the garden book Creating Beds and Borders.    

Creating Beds and Borders is actually a great collection of articles written by several different contributing authors for Fine Gardening magazine.  The authors talk about a wide variety of topics related to creating garden beds and borders, from how they design garden beds to what plants are good for difficult sites.

Six of the 16 different authors of this book
I love this book because I can reread it many times and keep learning new things.  It is a wealth of information!  This book was where I first read about no dig gardening methods ('Build a Bed without Breaking your Back' by Barbara Blossom Ashmun), which is a technique I much appreciate after all the pick-axing I have to do in my clay.

I also especially appreciated the article on how to create a long season of garden color here in the hot climate of the Southeast ('Designing a Warm-Climate Border' by Jimmy & Becky Stewart).

With the heat, perennials often have shorter bloom times here, even though we have a longer gardening season.  The authors supplement with many annuals, which they change out twice a year (warm-season and cool-season).  I don't think I could do that for much of my garden now, due to time/cost factors, but I do have a small area in the front garden where I do this.  The authors also give a great list of tried-and-true perennials that bloom for a long time in the South, as well as suggestions for some plants that are similar to Northern favorites but will take the heat better.

There are articles on shrubs, good edging plants, seed-starting techniques, garden design, and much more!  I will probably have to recheck this book out of the library several more times to absorb it all!

I do have to let you in on a secret, though.  One of my reasons I love this book has nothing to do with the articles, but with the fact that the pictures are beautifully realistic.  Several of the gardeners have gorgeous garden beds and borders that will hold your attention - but if you look closer, you will see that next to those beautiful flowers is a weedy lawn.   Just like mine!  Okay, maybe still better than mine, but still..  It makes these beautiful gardens seem attainable.  And that is truly inspiring for me.

To find more great gardening books, check out this month's book review over at Holley's site Roses and Other Gardening Joys.  Happy Gardening!


  1. I love that you posted a book review. Literally within the past 5 days I've been given 3 garden books, and I'm anxious to read them and to share my thoughts of them online.

    Thanks for sharing this resource!

  2. I have this book, and yes, I have read it several times! It really is good, and very inspiring. I think the library needs to get a new copy - that one looks well used! :) Thanks for joining in!

  3. Hey, this looks like a terrific book. I love making flower this would be a handy book. I especially am intrigued by the NO DIG part. Great review and photos.

  4. hi, I love the book you've chosen, Indie. It's really an art to make beautiful bed!

  5. I'm so glad you reviewed this book. It sounds like one that would be very useful to me. I just checked and our library has it so I have added it to my request list. Thank you for a great book review!

  6. No-dig gardening method sounds great for me. I don't have clay, as you do, but I have sandy soil with rocks. Digging is mostly getting out hundreds of rocks, big and small. I create raised beds and I'm curious now what else they suggest. Thank you Indie!

  7. Always glad to hear about books I somehow missed. I've requested this book from my library. Thanks!

  8. Ah, I especially like the fact that the gardens are realistic! I'll have to check it out. Thanks!

  9. I love books that have these gorgeous pictures, great how to advice and are all in one book...and weeds on closer inspection gives me hope too...looks like a real winner!

  10. I have one gardening book I turn to more often than any other. I've packed it ready for moving and feel like I've lost my best friend. Returning to a book again and again is the best recommendation one can have. Thanks for sharing.

  11. This sounds like a perfect book for my gardening library. I am always seeking more ideas for plant selections and bed designs. Thanks for the review.

  12. The no dig method involves putting a tall heap of compostable organic matter where you want your future garden to be and then letting it cook for several months. This brings earthworms and beneficial microbes to the area, which will enrich the soil underneath. I've been trying this in one section of the yard, and it's impressive to see the whole section settling down (and hopefully turning my pure clay into something more easily plantable.)

    The book has 21 articles in it - a lot of great gardening advice!


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