A Recipe for Continuous Blooms, Lorraine Roberts, published by Plant Paradise Country Gardens, Caledon, Ontario, Canada, L7E 0Y9.
The easiest way to ensure a continuously blooming perennial garden, from the earliest spring until fall, is to buy a copy of this book. Thank you, Lorraine Roberts, for making it so easy for new gardeners to create continuous-flowering gardens, in temperate and colder climates.
Before the publication of this manual, whenever neophyte gardeners wanted to create three-season flowerbeds, they were compelled to muddle through encyclopedic photo-lists of plants. The first step was to make a list of those flowers that were appealing. The second step was to edit the list to eliminate plants that were inappropriate for one’s growing zone.
The tedious chore continued with a third step - the preparation of yet another list - because the remaining plants had to be categorized by bloom period. The gardener needed to ensure that appropriate plants were selected to provide continuous flowers for about twenty-two overlapping, blooming periods. Usually, these begin in March and stop at the end of October.
Until now, this three-step procedure proved to be one of the most time-consuming aspects of planning a garden. It doesn’t have to be that way, anymore.
The publishing concept for A Recipe for Continuous Bloom is brilliant in its simplicity. First, each suitable perennial is presented on a separate page, dedicated to the appreciation of one plant at a time. Second, the growth season for both sun and shade gardens are sub-divided into twenty-two easy-to-distinguish bloom periods, in sequential, chronological order.
For example, to ensure that flowers bloom throughout the month of May, one starts with recommendations for plants that begin blooming April - May. Then one turns the page to discover plants that will bloom in May only. Turn another page and, viola! Here are the plants that bloom May- June. The reader then proceeds to recommendations for May - July until reaching suggestions for May - October. That sequence adds up to seven varying bloom periods associated with the month of May alone.
The process is repeated for the month of June, and again for July, and continues for each subsequent month as overlapping bloom periods flows seamlessly, from one to another, until the blooming seasons end.
The author’s ingenious idea of a chronological sequence of pages – and one plant per page - makes it easy for new gardeners to plan flowerbeds that, in some locations, will provide attractive plants for eight months of the year. However, readers who live in areas that experience accumulating, winter snowfalls that are late to melt [e.g. Montreal] should not expect the recommended plants for March to bloom at all, unless they are planted up against a sunny house foundation where the radiating warmth of the home, plus the sun, will accelerate the melting of the snow.
Accompanying each photo are technical specifications such as height, width, type of soil required, and growing zone. American readers should lower the numerical value of the mentioned growing zones by a factor of one because they are presented here in Canadian values, determined by a protocol different from the one used in the USA. Therefore, a plant designated in the book as Zone 5, is USDA Zone 4.
Suggestions are also offered for temperate and cold-climate plants that attract butterflies, for drought – tolerance, hummingbirds, long – blooming, native to North America, moisture – tolerance, beneficial insects, great foliage, cut flowers, and for plants that are deer-resistant.
The color shot for each recommended perennial is set up to present a flower at the height of its glory. The plants are portrayed with such attention to detail, that new gardeners, who have not yet established their favorites, might fall in love with all of them. It is a tribute to Ms. Roberts’ photographic talent, for painstakingly showcasing her selection of perennials so that each one becomes an object of desire.
Order this book directly from the author at http://www.plantparadise.ca/A-Recipe-for-Continuous-Bloom-by-Lorraine-Roberts.html