In this introduction to sustainable landscaping practices, Linda Chalker-Scott addresses the most common myths and misconceptions that plague home gardeners and horticultural professionals.
Chalker-Scott offers invaluable advice to gardeners who have wondered: Are native plants the best choice for sustainable landscaping? Should you avoid disturbing the root ball when planting? Are organic products better or safer than synthetic ones? What is the best way to control weeds - fabric or mulch? Does giving vitamins to plants stimulate growth? Are compost teas effective in controlling diseases? When is the best time to water in hot weather? If you pay more, do you get a higher-quality plant? How can you differentiate good advice from bad advice? The answers may surprise you.
In her more than 20 years as a university researcher and educator in the field of plant physiology, Linda Chalker-Scott has discovered a number of so-called truths that originated in traditional agriculture that have been applied to urban horticulture, in many cases damaging both plant and environmental health.
The Informed Gardener is based on basic and applied research from university faculty and landscape professionals, originally published in peer-reviewed journals. After reading this book, you will: understand your landscape or garden plants as components of a living system; save time (by not overdoing soil preparation, weeding, pruning, staking, or replacing plants that have died before their time); save money (by avoiding worthless or harmful garden products, and producing healthier, longer-lived plants); reduce use of fertilizers and pesticides; and assess marketing claims objectively.
This book will be of interest to landscape architects, nursery and landscape professionals, urban foresters, arborists, certified professional horticulturists, and home gardeners.
Linda Chalker-Scott is an extension urban horticulturist and associate professor at Puyallup Research and Extension Center at Washington State University. She is the Washington State editor of MasterGardener magazine, and for six years she authored Horticultural Myths, an online column.
I'm sorry to give this book a low rating because I think the information is first-rate. However, I don't think audio was the way to go with it. This should be a reference book in the library of landscape professionals and very serious gardeners. Less committed gardeners would benefit from checking her book out of their public library or consulting her blog. For instance, she offers great advice on how to go about planting new trees and bushes and keeping them alive. But if you don't plan to do that today, how are you going to go back and find that information six months from now? In a physical book, you look in the table of contents or the index. With an audio book... what? Will you listen to the whole book again for that one bit of information?
This book is actually a collection of essays lifted from the author's blog. Almost all of them have to do with long-term landscape plants like trees and shrubs rather than flower beds, vegetable gardens, or farmland. If you are getting ready to build a landscape--whether a city park or a new, unlandscaped home, the information will be invaluable to you. If you live in a home that already has about as many trees and bushes as you intend for it to have, there is some information in this book that will be helpful to you, but not as much. If you are interested in finding out how to grow a vegetable garden or pretty flower beds, there is no such information here.
So, bottom line: This is not an entertaining book. It is serious information for specific gardening questions and is best conveyed in the printed form--either as a physical book or on her blog. I believe that getting this in the audio format will be a waste of your credit.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
I thought that this was a a great listen. I am very busy and don't have time to read as much I would like-especially on this topic. I listened while I got stuff done around the house and garden. I found the information to be very useful. She addresses common misconceptions about gardening. I found myself actually hitting my forehead a few times, having learned I was making common gardening mistakes. I now know what to look for when I go to a nursery to buy plants, and how to install them properly. I don't see this as a reference book, but rather as a great source of general information. I would recommend it to any gardener who finds they don't have the time they'd like to read.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of The Informed Gardener to be better than the print version?
Couldn't say, don't have the print version, the performance wasn't anything to write home about, but it got the message across.
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Beth Richmond?
Christina Traister, loved how she read "Rain"
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
The Skeptics Guide To The Gardening Universe
Any additional comments?
You don't need to be an astrophysicist, evolutionary biologist or climate scientist to bring the power of science literacy and well honed skepticism into your life. I've been listening to this book every so often for years now, and the potent combination of science, biology and garden knowledge has given me a powerful competitive edge.