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Book Reviews



 A great read for spring before you start shopping at the local garden centers, check out Doug Tallamy's Bringing Nature Home




One of my favorite reads, especially in winter.  Check out my interview with Dominque Browning. 


What's Hugging Your Home?

To many homeowners, a house without an edging of greenery around the perimeter is like a painting without a frame.  It's not difficult to find houses across the midwest and elsewhere that flaunt a row of evergreens--usually junipers or yews-that were planted decades ago, and now are often overgrown, sickly or sheared into tight little balls and cubes. "It's like parsley around the turkey," says landscape architect Scott Ogden, who, with his wife Lauren Springer Ogden, wrote "Plant-Driven Design: Creating Gardens that Honor Plants, Place, and Spirit" (Timber Press, 284 pgs., $34.95). 

Ogden's family moved from Texas to Flossmoor, Illinois, during his high school years, and looking back now he says, "I remember being shocked at the landscaping.  In Texas, houses don't have basements so people don't hide the foundations the same way."

It hasn't always been fashionable for houses to don a green skirt. Like lawns, foundation plantings are a relatively modern concept in residential landscape design.  Until the late-19th Century, many physicians actively discouraged the use of foundation plants, warning that dark damp shrubbery pressing against the house invited the dreaded scourge of consumption (tuberculosis).  By 1870, the high stone and brick foundations of increasingly large Victorian homes were softened and concealed with fragrant, showy shrubs that provided delicate, sweet-smelling breezes inside and out on warm summer days.   Mock orange, summersweet, lilac, viburnum, roses and fothergilla were some of the popular shrubs planted under windows, at the corners of the house, and flanking doorways.  Then as now, the key to a good foundation is to keep plantings in scale with the home and choose plants that will thrive in the available light and moisture conditions.

-- Nina Koziol, (c) http://www.thisgardencooks.com and the Chicago Tribune

A Butterfly Book You Should Have on Your Shelf

One of the joys of gardening is simply looking.  Observing what's going on in your garden.  And sometimes that means taking a good, close look at the insects and other creatures that inhabit our beds and borders.  "The Life Cycles of Butterflies," by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards is a steal of a book at $16.95.  

Published by Storey, this 151-page book features wonderful images of butterflies, their offspring, the various stages from eggs to metamorphosis, and the plants that they dine on and lay their eggs upon.  It's a great reference book for any gardener or child who would like to learn more about those winged wonders--butterflies.  

More to come...

Questions or Comments?  Email info@thisgardencooks.com

Observe. Reflect. Bloom! 
(c) Nina A. Koziol