Posted by Donna Donabella | Posted in Fertilizer Friday, Garden, Garden Book Review, Nature Notes | Posted on 19-11-2012
Holly Golightly (Breakfast At Tiffany’s)
When I first started blogging, Helen Yoest was kind enough to friend me on Facebook and introduce me to the Garden Bloggers Fling group. I was unable to attend the Fling, but her extension of friendship has meant so much to me. When I saw Helen had written a book, I knew I wanted to read it and then review it. As Helen said to me recently, “My book was written for the new gardener and for those who want to add something new.” I think that is the perfect description of Gardening with Confidence; a book for everyone.
When I started this garden, I had some vague ideas of what I wanted: picket fence, gazebo, pond, patio and lots of cottage style plants. And then as I learned more about gardening styles and gardening in general, I realized my initial structure was fine, but the details needed refinement. I wish I had this book when I was planning 7 years ago, but we can always learn no matter where we are in our gardening experience So I read the book quickly and then bookmarked many parts to go back through as needed. As my style has changed I am glad to know there is a reference to help clarify some of those missing details.
I am linking in with Holley@Roses and Other Gardening Joys and her monthly Garden Book Review meme that takes place on the 20th of every month.
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: GWC Press; 1st edition (September 20, 2012)
Amazon Price: $24.95 (Paperback)
In A Few Words
The book is broken into 4 parts outlining 50 Ways to add style for personal creativity. Part I goes through garden basics to get started. Part II deals with different garden styles from bulbs, to formal, cottage, rock and vegetable gardens. Part III goes into garden elements like focal points, sound, water, color, walls and much more. Part IV is all about the garden environment such things as bees, butterflies, critters, seasons and sustainability.
To say this book is chock full of amazing ideas is an understatement. And Helen’s style is easy going inviting you to take a peak, then spark your curiosity and clearly explain the idea so you will be comfortable enough to give it a try.
What I Liked
Although I have been gardening for many years, I know that I don’t know it all. I am always looking for new ideas and ways to hone my skills. While I originally was bookmarking areas of the this book to help with some ideas, I found I wanted to read it from cover to cover. Each of the 50 ways is written so you get the concise information enough to get you started or add to what you are already doing.
For instance I plant lots of bulbs and had never considered there were 5 different kinds. And there are important differences in these 5 types as well as the idea of planting bulbs for all seasons. Helen talks all about these different bulbs in your garden clearly explaining each of them. The added bonus is the section is about forcing bulbs. I plan to try this again as I have never been successful forcing bulbs.
I absolutely adored the section delineating the difference between a cottage and a country gardens. Thinking all along that my style was cottage, it was clear that it is definitely more country with the long beds and turf separating the beds. While I have a few cottage style elements, my style has morphed into country with the rustic elements, native plants and whimsy.
There is so much to learn from the best way to place an arbor to garden edging and fragrance in the garden. Each section I read left me pondering and making notes to tweak elements or add others. It is Helen’s careful explanations though that draw me in. It is as if she is with me as I tour my gardens giving me practical advice as if we were old friends on a walk about. And she makes it sound easy building my confidence as I shake my head in agreement and acknowledge that yes indeed I did place that arbor correctly and I have fragrant flowers in special spots near the doorways and around the patio. Then she takes it one step further pushing me to think of fragrance on all levels of my garden. Something to ponder, plan for and aspire to since I love the smell of flowers throughout the garden and seasons.
Not So Much
The only downside to Helen’s book is that there is so much to consider that I suggest you pick a few things you are wondering about and go from there adding other elements later as time permits. After all you might get into a gardening overload, but maybe that is not a bad thing really.
Helen is an accomplished gardener with so much experience that I am glad she has put it all into this handy guide to share with us. Like an art teacher trying to bring out that “right eye”, the creative aspects you have hidden somewhere within, Helen guides us through the elements of the art of gardening allowing our unique style to show. I would consider it an honor to have Helen visit to give me advice like a master teacher speaking to the student. There is no right or wrong, but what works with your style. And I love how she says that there are no stupid questions. Just be willing to say you don’t know and ask for help if you want to build your confidence as a gardener.
I hope someday to meet this amazing woman in person. Helen never flaunts all her know how, but brings you a cup of tea and a seat to watch and listen as you take stock of your space. After reading this amazing book, I have a new found appreciation for my garden and what I have accomplished so far. Thank you Helen.
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers. ~ Charles W Eliot 1834
***I hope you enjoyed the pictures of some of my garden elements that I am most proud of.
Special Note: Books reviewed here at Gardens Eye View were purchased by me and were not gifts from publishers.
Don’t forget that December 1st marks the next installment of Seasonal Celebrations/Garden Lessons Learned. Click the link to learn more. Beth@PlantPostings will be wrapping up this past season with lessons we have learned in our gardens, and I will be setting the stage for next season’s celebrations (winter up N and summer down S of the equator).
You do need to be a garden blogger to join in Season Celebrations. Any blogger is welcome. Write a poem, post your favorite pictures and prose that tells why you love this season. What do you love to do in this upcoming season? What holidays or rituals make it a wonderful season for you? How does your garden grow and what favorite plants will be blooming? I hope you will be joining us. Just create a post and link in with both or one of us between December 1st and the 20th, and around the 21st we will reveal those lessons and celebrations.
Next up on the blog: Monday will bring to light another cherished native plant as I continue my Simply the Best series. And then it will be time for the Seasonal Celebrations meme starting on December 1st. I hope you will join me.
I will be linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme. It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.
I hope you will join me for my posts once a month on the , at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. See my current post now.
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