Effective Landscape With Bookshelf Tools

By Marshall Clewis

A garden encyclopedia is as essential to the home gardener as a cook book is to a cook, and as useful. This is especially true in this do-it-yourself age, when skilled professional advice and help is hard to come by and costly.

Without a source of reliable information at hand, the amateur gardener is likely to make serious and costly mistakes. Valuable trees, shrubs, evergreens, lawns and other landscape plantings may be damaged beyond repair as a result of errors of omission as well as commission. House plants, patio plants and greenhouse plants fail to prosper unless they receive care based on sound knowledge. Scientific and practical know-how are necessary to grow fine fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. The only successful gardeners are informed gardeners.

And upon what a wide range of subjects the modern gardener needs information! He (or she) must be familiar with the names (either common or scientific) of the plants in the garden as well as of at least some of those not at the moment there, but which tempt one in nurseries, garden centers and online catalogs.

Gardeners need to know the peculiarities, characteristics and cultural needs of their plants - trees, shrubs, evergreens, vines, ground covers, fruits, perennials, annuals, lawn grasses and others. They must understand soils and their management, the art of maintaining fertility and a desirable soil acidity and alkalinity. When to water and when not to water, and how to prepare soil mixes for plants that are to be grown indoors, also fall within the scope of knowledge needed by the gardener.

Raising plants from seeds, and all the many other ways of increasing them (such as cuttings, leaf cuttings, layering, air layering, grafting and budding) are fascinating procedures, but they are only successful when undertaken with reliable knowledge. These are basic skills that can be put to profitable use by all amateur gardeners.

Such arts as pruning, staking and tying, mulching, winter-protection, air layering and the management of greenhouses, hot beds and cold frames demand specialized knowledge. To plan and carry out successful warfare against those three chief enemies of the gardener - weeds, pests, and diseases - demands accurate knowledge and understanding.

That is where a good garden encyclopedia and reference website is an especially valuable work because it was written and edited by experts for amateurs. The horticulturists who produced it are thoroughly familiar with the problems and needs of beginner gardeners. In clear language they tell just what every home gardener needs to know in order to plan, develop and maintain a successful garden. An important feature of this encyclopedia is the large number of visuals of plants, gardens; landscape plans, pests and diseases and of how-to-do-it, step-by-step gardening procedures. These illustrations supplement and complement a very clear, easy-to-understand text. - 29857

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