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Gardening Books For 2003



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Gardening Books For 2003

By The Associated Press

This crop of books will keep gardeners in their element year round:

One of your most useful gardening tools can be a simple color wheel available in art stores, argues Sydney Eddison in The Gardener’s Palette (Contemporary Books, $29.95 hardcover). Eddison, also a painter and scenic designer, shows how using the principles in the color wheel can guide you in the design and selection of plants for your garden. For smooth, soothing schemes, for example, you might choose analogous colors –– those adjacent to each other on the wheel that share similar pigments, such as yellow, orange (yellow and red), and red. Or for contrast, choose complementary colors, directly opposite on the wheel, such as red and green. The examples she offers in the book are perhaps more complex but grow from these basic principles.

Arthur T. Vanderbilt II admits he was not very interested in his suburban New Jersey yard when he moved into his house. But before long this small plot had him in its spell, as he realized it was a rich lode of discovery. Gardening in Eden: The Joys of Planning and Tending a Garden (Simon & Schuster, $22 hardcover) is part diary, part philosophy, and all appreciation of his small piece of the universe.

Josiah Conder’s Landscape Gardening in Japan, first published in 1893, is considered a gardening classic; it is now in a new edition from Kodansha International ($35 hardcover). Conder, a British architect, urban planner, and teacher who spent much of his life in Japan, researched ancient gardening traditions there to introduce them to Western readers. The new edition includes line drawings and period photographs from the original publication and its 1912 revised edition.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have beautiful arrangements in most of the rooms of your very large house every day? And how about an in-house flower shop? The occupants and visitors to the White House in Washington enjoy what amounts to a flower show every day. In Flowers, White House Style (Simon & Schuster, $40 hardcover) former White House floral decorator Dottie Temple, with co-author Stan Finegold, offers a look at the floral history of the nation’s presidential house. The book includes pictures of members of many first families, from the Kennedys to the Clintons, as they entertained and lived in settings decorated with flowers. There also are more than 40 arrangements with instructions to make your own versions, along with practical tips on placement and setting.

The Japanese tsuboniwa is an ancient form of often small but always private gardens hidden within a temple, household, or other structure. Katsuhiko Mizuno has photographed and written about some of the most evocative examples he has discovered in Kyoto, and they are showcased in Landscapes for Small Spaces: Japanese Courtyard Garden (Kodansha International, $39 hardcover). What these gardens have in common is a studied balance of elements between water, plants, rocks, and art objects. The author notes that many Kyoto residents who live in modern high-rise buildings have been trying to recreate tsuboniwa on rooftops and other spaces as a way to stay connected with the natural world in an urban setting.

The idyllic back-to-nature urge is to live in the country where plants and flowers just seem to be there, by providence. But real gardeners know that is a fantasy. Writing in The Country Garden: How to Plan and Plant a Garden That Grows Itself (Reader’s Digest, $26.95 hardcover), Charlie Ryrie looks back at the beginning of most country gardens, to the period after the Black Death when people had to grow enough food around their cottages just to survive. Eventually the elements included flowers and plants for medicinal and decorative uses. What these gardens had in common with today’s versions is an informality, but not without purposeful planning. Ryrie offers ideas and advice about easy-growing plants, labor-saving techniques, and other ways to achieve that casual country style.

In the same vein, Joanna Smith wants to help you experience maximum pleasure from your garden with minimum effort. The One-Hour Garden (Reader’s Digest, $26.95 hardcover) offers suggestions and plans to help you realize your wonderful garden with a mere one hour of effort each week.

If by necessity or inclination you grow things in pots, tubs, or anything else that will hold soil and plant life, check out the advice in two titles: Contain Yourself (Ball Publishing, $24.95 hardcover, April), by Kerstin P. Ouellet, and Container Gardening for All Seasons (Reader’s Digest, $29.95 hardcover), by Reader’s Digest editors. Both suggest plant selections, purchased or found containers, design, and care.

The patio out back (or front, or side) is in effect another room of your home, except that it is outdoors. Some ideas and plans for planning outdoor decor are suggested by Jamie Durie in Patio: Garden Design & Inspiration (Allen & Unwin, $29.95 hardcover). Durie, host of Backyard Blitz, a popular Australian garden show, tells how to combine rocks, water, plants, and furnishings for your open-air living room.

For a bit of fun, how about making your next snowman from white carnations? Or you could top a frothy cooler with baby’s breath. Or make a wall painting from gerbera daisies. Wild Flowers (Clarkson Potter, $25 hardcover), by Avi Adler and David Stark, has all sorts of novel projects that will get you thinking past the conventional bouquet.

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