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Miracle Gro Complete Guide to Perennials: Book Review for


Miracle Gro Complete Guide to Perennials  Scott Aker & Laura Deeter, Meredith 

Amongst some gardeners, the Miracle-Gro company is reputed to have created some of the most eye catching TV commercials and print ads that have ever targeted plant lovers. They are very good at visualizing the successful results of proper feeding and care. However, the detail lavished in the preparation of this basic primer on growing perennials surpasses anything that they’ve done in their marketing department.

This is a popular priced book targeting a mass audience and yet the information between its covers and the quality of its color photographs are worthy of a book twice its cost. Not only is it comprehensive and illustrated in clear detail, but almost everything one needs to know about growing perennials may be absorbed by studying it’s pictures. In an age of instant messenger, a book that can instruct with such immediacy is a significant achievement.

With an economy of words, the editor and writers amply cover basic topics such as garden design, plant selection and planting instructions. Great attention is paid to every detail as the reader is guided, unambiguously and step by step, to becoming a perennial expert.

  The chapter on perennial care is a wonderful bonus because this is an area of expertise that determines the difference between a beautiful garden and a perfunctory collection of plants. Here too, the editor makes it so easy to follow. Another surprise is the inclusion of a ninety two page encyclopedia of perennial plants, enhanced with in depth information and color photos. This alone is worth the price of the book.

The greatest challenge facing any gardener of perennials is how to keep a garden in bloom from spring until autumn. Most perennials have a blooming period of no more than three weeks, and each plant has its particular time to bloom. For that reason, creating continuous blooms throughout the growing season requires strategic planning. Many of us have spent countless hours juggling planting blueprints to ensure that there are no gaps in blooming time. I wish that I could have read this book back then because it contains a brilliant bloom time guide that takes the guesswork out of creating a continuously colorfull garden.

The secondary title of this book is called “Techniques that guarantee a fabulous garden” Believe it!


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Reader Comments (1)

When I draw out my garden bed blue prints I use colored pencils. First draw the bed outline in regular pencil, then the key which goes through the colors of the rainbow Roy G Biv style, very early to very late, with different shades of the colors if needing more than 7. With #2 pencil I draw the perimeter of the plant’s area, then write the name and height inside, then underline the name in its bloom key color. I also scribble a swatch of the bloom’s color also; for white I draw an oblong in black leaving the center white. For me it is easier to ensure I’ve spread the bloom time throughout the bed, or concentrated it to where I want its impact.

Using the color key, first plot what is already there, and if it is a shrub that will be growing larger, a lighter ghost ring where it should mature to.

IMPORTANT At this point I make a couple of photo copies so I don’t have to start from scratch should I decide to try another plan.

Then I choose where the feature plantings will be shown to best advantage. If I have already decided its mates I sketch them in next. Keep looking for the overall effect and patterns.

February 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

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