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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

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Entries in The gardener's color palette (1)


The Gardener's Color Palette: Book Review for

The Gardeners Color Palette, paint your garden with 100 extraordinary flower choices Tom Fischer & Clive Nichols, Timber Press

The title says it all. Designing with flowers is an art and many gardeners with a penchant for creative expression report that planning flowerbeds is akin to painting. Imaginative gardeners will be pleased that the contents of this book are arranged by color, like a box of watercolor paints, making the planning and execution of a floral color composition in the garden a much easier task.

The book is divided into ten color-based chapters: Red,  Orange-Peach, Yellow-Cream,  Green-Chartreuse,  Blue,  Lavendar-Lilac-Mauve,  Pink-magenta,  Deep Purple-Maroon-Plum,  Brown- Bronze- Copper, and  White-Ivory. Within each of the ten color chapters, are photographs of ten flowers, including perennials, bulbs, and flowering shrubs. Some are popular and well known and some are uncommon flowers such as Fritillaria, Corydalis, and species Lilies. Every plant is profiled with its Latin and common name, a pronunciation guide for the Latin name, its classification as perennial, bulb or shrub, the height and spread at maturity, bloom time and hardiness zone. In addition, each profile includes clearly identifiable care symbols for light and moisture requirements. Most impressive, however, is the wealth of information encapsulated into a few lines of expert advice that accompanies each plant’s profile. Mr. Fischer writes beautifully; each paragraph is a gem, like each breathtaking image that accompanies his text.

Some of the plants included in this book are hardy from zone 6 and up and are, therefore, new to me because I garden in Zone 5; that does not make them any less admirable. Of the 100 plants featured, here are a few that I have added to my wish list:- Red Helenium Rubinzwerg, Orange Helenium Wauldtraut, Yellow Helianthus Lemon Queen, Pulmonaria Blue Ensign, Purple Veronicastrum virginicum Apollo, Pink Sanguisorbia obtuse, Purple papaver orientale Patty’s Plum, and White Actaea matsumurae White Pearl. I am indebted to the author not only for introducing me to some new varieties of plants but also for reminding me about some forgotten old favorites.

Since a garden book is only as good as the collaborating photographer, it is a delight to discover Clive Nichols’ exquisite close-up photos of the 100 flowers. Selecting Mr. Nichols was one of three wise decisions made by the publisher. Another was to have asked Mr. Fischer to write the book, in the first place. Moreover, the best decision of all was to market this book at a price so attractive that it makes an excellent party favor, get- well present, or Christmas gift. If I were hosting dinner, I prefer that a guest bring this book rather than a box of chocolates. If I were a bedridden gardener, I hope someone would send me this attractive publication to cheer me up. When Tom Fischer first sat down to write this book, I’ll bet he never imagined he would be creating the ultimate hospitality gift.