Jacqueline Heriteau and Holly Hunter Stonehill, along with Liz Ball, James Fizzell and Joe Lamp’l have put together the New England Gardener’s Handbook: All you need to know to plan, plant and maintain a New England garden (Cool Springs Press $24.99) that focuses on the plants that will thrive in the our soil and climate.
Heriteau and Stonehill have been gardening and cooking together for many years; they are mother and daughter. Ball, Fizzell and Lamp’l will be familiar to many gardeners from their other books, lectures, and TV appearances and shows.
This encyclopedic book is divided into sections including annuals, bulbs, shrubs, groundcovers, vegetables, trees and more. Each of these sections includes general cultural information followed by photographs and specific information about a selection of appropriate plants. For example, the perennial section begins with artemesia and finishes with yarrow. This is followed by a month by month description of what is happening including bloom season, and what the gardener should be doing and thinking about throughout the season. They also make suggestions about plant combinations.
Because this book is devoted to New England gardens, and gives clear zone information (even though they acknowledge that every garden may have its own microclimate) it is really useful for the new gardener.
A final appendix has more general information about pests and diseases and the way to control them. I was familiar with most of them but there is always something new to learn about controls like sabadilla. I had never heard of this but it is made from the ground up seeds of the sabadilla plant and it can control caterpillars, Mexican bean beetle and thrips.
They also have advice about dealing with larger pests like bears! Deer, of course, and moles and voles and rabbits.
The New England Gardener’s Handbook is illustrated with beautiful and instructive photographs.
This book gives general and particular information and advice which makes it perfect for the new gardener. On the other hand, many experienced gardeners are interested in trying new ideas or new plants. I know from my own experience that we older gardeners are looking at shrubs with a new eye and the expectation they will lessen our labor and add new beauty to our borders.
Are you reconsidering new types of plants for your garden as the new year is in sight?
Between the Rows December 15, 2002