I can’t think of a better 200th post for J. Peterson Garden Design than a review of a cool little book like “Garden Rules: The Snappy Synopsis for the Modern Gardener” (Cool Springs Press) by Jayme Jenkins and Billie Brownell! There aren’t too many garden books specifically geared toward the beginner gardener that are full of really good advice, written in humorous and short entries, so when I received a review copy of “Garden Rules,” I was eager to start reading.
While many of the readers of this blog might be seasoned gardeners, we all know people who aren’t. This little book is the perfect gift for the beginning-to-intermediate gardener, but guess what? As I was reading through it myself, I found several tidbits of garden wisdom that were new to me, and I’ve been gardening for 20 years and own a landscape company! Wondering if it’s warm enough to plant? Billie says on p. 79 to park your bare bohonkus (that’s your bottom if you live in Texas) on the ground to get a sense of the soil warmth. No, I didn’t make that up. And Jayme has a great tip on p. 100 about companion planting in the vegetable garden–good info for me, a relatively new veggie gardener!
Here’s some of my favorite tips, and the JPGD Superlative Awards that they won:
- Most Useful Design Tip: Page 94: Use opposite elements in designing your garden
- Most Hilarious Tip that Made Me Spit My Coffee Out: Page 84: Only virgins should be sacrificed to volcanoes
- Most Likely to Make Me Fist-Pump in the Air: Page 78: Just because a plant is for sale, doesn’t mean it should be.
- Most Obvious Tip that We Obviously Forget & Need Reminding About: Page 33: You get what you pay for with bargain plants.
Along with all of these great tips, there’s an awesome glossary and guide to speaking horticultural Latin in the back of the book. This is great for everyone–it’s fine to know the common names of plants, but if you really want to be sure you’re talking about the same plant, the botanical Latin name is the way to go. I’m a bit hopeless myself with botanical names–although I do try, I often make them up in frustration. But since the staff at The Great Outdoors nursery doesn’t really get it when I ask if they have “Shrubus dwarfii” or “Flora Beautiosa,” I’m guessing I need to read more of Jayme’s and Billie’s guide.
Although Mother’s Day is passed, I think “Garden Rules” would make a great birthday gift. I’m also going to a couples wedding shower soon that has an outdoor/garden theme, and I know the young couple would love to have a copy of “Garden Rules” along with some awesome garden gloves and hand clippers! So, it probably goes without saying that I recommend this book–but promise you’ll let me know if, after reading it, you learned how to prepare the soil for your new Plantus magnificus x enormii. I’ll pass on the compliment to the authors!