To rephrase Keats, I would say, a beautiful garden is a joy forever. Big or small, a garden is a key link between man and nature. It can be your haven, and your very own personal sanctuary. It is a place that you lovingly tend, and that will give you bountifully in return as well.
In Ground Rules: 100 easy lessons for growing a more glorious garden, Kate Frey draws upon years of experience to present a simple rule-book on the myriad aspects of gardening.
The first section concerns planning the garden. Several tips cover the kind and variety of plants that you should be thinking about. One of the guidelines I found particularly useful is to use variegated foliage for an all-year-round colourful look. I also found the point about mingled planting quite apt. Another great idea pertains to using different containers and multiple plants in a single container in order to increase visual interest.
The next section concerns “The Joy of Plants”. A garden is made up of plants, and hence it is important to understand the nature of individual plants and what you want them to do in the garden. Some of the tips are pretty useful, such as, not buying root-bound plants for instance, and opting for plants that have roots that fill the container rather than stagnate it. Sometimes, these little tips escape our minds and it is good to be aware of them. This section is more practical in nature and has tips and practical suggestions for growing plants- timing them, understanding their requirements, composting, watering, choosing the right plants and so on.
“The Real dirt” talks about soil. Well, we all know that ultimately the soil maketh the garden. This section has some handy tips on recognizing the kind of soil required for your garden and nurturing the soil that you have. Composting, mulching, tilling and so on become familiar concepts here.
“Be Wise With Water” tackles the issue of using water in the garden heads-on. Planning the garden against the background of being aware of the water requirements of the plants, is extremely important as we live in a world where water shortage is becoming increasingly rampant. This section has some useful tips (such as hydrozoning) to ensure optimal water usage and minimal water wastage.
“How to be a good Garden Parent” tackles the topic of nurturing. “Birds, Bees and Butterflies” talks about how to create a garden that supports abundance of life. Yes, beautiful plants look all the more stunning when the garden thrives with little winged creatures! There are a few handy tips here, but the one which really resonated with me the most concerns the tip about how not to ‘stress’ plants, lest they attract pests and not helpful insects!
“A Garden of Earthly Delights” takes a look at the social and emotional benefits of nurturing a garden. I think this section is probably the best one. One can know about technicalities of gardening, but the emotional advantage of having a garden is one to reckon with, and this is exactly what the section purports.
Simple and easy…
The rules are quite straightforward and to the point. Each page has a different point and hence it is really simple and easy to navigate the book. Read it from start to finish or just open to any page and look at what it has to offer! If you are a beginning gardener, there is a storehouse of ideas that you can take from this book. If you are an experienced gardener, you may still find nuggets of inspiration that will add on to your beautiful garden!
The Glorious Garden..
Several photographs supplement the text, and this is indeed one of the best things about this book. These pictures focus not necessarily on variegated plants that add to the beauty of the garden but also on how the garden can be seen in context of the entire décor scheme of the house, or how the individual plants can be viewed against the backdrop of the entire garden. Hence, the pictures provide a context against which the reader can visualize his or her own garden space.
The author also gives several examples of plants that one could include in the gardens. It is a well-known fact that the best gardens support local vegetation. Hence, readers from other geographical locations would do well by keeping this in mind as they read the book.
As I near the end of the book, I have managed to catch quite a few tips for growing a more glorious garden, but what resonates the most is, to put it in the words of the author, is the fact that “Gardening yields both a material and inner harvest”.
Title: Ground Rules
Author: Kate Frey
Publisher: Timber Press
Genre: Gardening/ non-fiction