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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Jessi Bloom is a strong advocate for chickens in almost any garden setting, and in "Free-Range Chicken Gardens," she provides detailed information on compatible plantings--including those that provide food for chickens--and structures that meet the multiple needs of fowl and flora. There is a lot of well-organized information in these pages on all other related topics, too, making this of value to chicken keepers at any experience level. But you can also just enjoy the profiles of gardeners and their chickens (many are local) or the many superb photographs (by Kate Baldwin) of contented hens in their gardens, proving their value as a natural compliment.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Robert and Hannah Litt own the Urban Farm Store in Portland and wrote "A Chicken in Every Yard" from experience keeping their own chickens, and helping their chicken-keeping customers. While they don't disapprove of raising chickens for food, theirs are clearly pets and the book encourages this attitude with chapters like "Parenting Your Peeps." There is a lot of detail about different types and breeds, including recommendation lists such as "best for children." All stages of raising and caring are covered in depth, but the garden is only briefly mentioned. If your focus is solely on chickens, this book is an excellent choice.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: "The Urban Farm Handbook" is a blending of deeply personal accounts by two urban (Seattle) families seeking ways of becoming self-reliant in producing and preparing food. By sharing both the triumphs and failures (including persuading significant others), Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols present a lot of options for choosing your own path to provide food for yourself and loved ones. Recipes are scattered throughout, and many of those contain meat. Dealing with the angst of slaughtering various animals to supply that meat is a significant theme of the book, but here, too, the authors give you many options for finding your own comfort level.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Garden Tool: Drawing a parallel with the homesteaders who settled the Oregon frontier, Portland author Renee Wilkinson recognizes that same spirit--and lack of knowledge and experience--in today's pioneers seeking self-sustaining, urban homes. "Modern Homestead" is not an A-Z encyclopedia of vegetable crops, but instead provides general rules-of-thumb to help you decide what you want, including a sizeable portion of the book that is given over to "Citified Creatures." Preserving your harvest is important, too, but the strongest message is don't work alone. Find some buddies to help you with your homestead, and you will collectively be more innovative and much more successful.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Peter Ladner writes "The Urban Food Revolution" from the perspective of a policy maker--he was a two-term City Councillor in Vancouver, B.C.--and a journalist. This is not a gardening book or even an urban farming book, but it does examine issues that impact food production and distribution in an urban setting with the goal of telling policymakers "...what they can do to improve access to healthy food for all the people they represent." Subjects addressed include food deserts, childhood obesity, designing new developments with urban farming options, and the safety of locally raised food.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Many vegetable gardening books include recipes but few are as well integrated as in "Grow Cook Eat" --for Willi Galloway cooking follows sowing, growing, and harvesting as the next logical step (presumably followed by eating). In addition to the formal recipes (none are particularly complex), there are oodles of simple ideas for using the vegetable (or herbs, or even a few fruits) at hand in creative and delicious ways. Jim Henkens's photos expertly capture growing plants, the fresh harvest, and the serving plate, encouraging you to give it a try. The general culture section is brief but sufficient--the goal here is to get growing and get eating--yum!

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Garden Tool: Graham Kerr is an (now local--Mt. Vernon) author who easily includes recipes amongst his recommendations for a kitchen garden, but that's not surprising as he is much better known as a chef (remember the Galloping Gourmet) than a gardener. He has embraced raising his own, healthful food as eagerly as any of his past pursuits. "Growing at the Speed of Life" is filled with the same enthusiasm--Kerr hasn't lost any of his wit or knack of turning a phrase that made him such a popular television personality in the early 1970s.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Garden Tool: The Seattle based authors of "Food Grown Right, in Your Backyard" operate a business that gets homeowners started growing their own vegetables (along with herbs, edible flowers, and a few berry fruits) no matter what the challenges may come from inexperience or a difficult site. Colin McCrate and Brad Halm advice is great for beginners, providing a lot of structure and many details while including a teaching element with every entry. For example, by growing radishes you'll learn how to harvest at the right time for the best taste, while planting corn will teach you about wind pollination.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Binda Colebrook is on her fifth edition (the first from 1977) of the classic "Winter Gardening in the Maritime Northwest," and it's still a must for any serious food gardener. The emphasis is on crops that will grow throughout the year, so no tomatoes or corn, but instead you'll discover many options that are really better suited for our mild climate. There is much emphasis on ways to reduce the impact of freezes, heavy rains, and cold winds, but Colebrook is great at encouraging experimentation even if your property doesn't have perfect conditions. An excellent reference section completes the book.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Here is another approach to dealing with limited space: grow up. "Vertical Vegetables and Fruit" is one of the very few books focused on this technique of food-growing. Some of the featured vegetables and fruits are naturals (beans or kiwi), but many are not. And while the thought of a high-flying watermelon may take a bit of getting used to, the author devotes several pages to slings and other support devices to make this possible. There are many unconventional ideas here to try, including hanging bags and living walls, along with some more familiar espaliers of fruit trees and strawberry pots. The emphasis is on innovation and experimentation--and having fun with your veggies (and fruit)!

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Massingham Hart has re-engineered another of her older titles with "Dirt-Cheap Green Thumb". This is essentially a general gardening book (including ornamentals) packaged in short, snappy bits of information and is perfect for the newer gardener who is anxious to get started right now. The reader who is frugal will even be more pleased as there are lots of tips (400 according to the sub-title) for saving money while growing the garden of your dreams.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: "Apartment Gardening" takes the whole concept of gardening in your available space a step farther, or I should say, smaller. Amy Pennington has considerable gardening experience in a setting with plentiful space, but now confined to a Seattle apartment, she wasn't about to stop. She distills her plant selections to a short but well-tested list. Some surprised me (zucchini on a balcony?) but overall I was impressed by the what-works approach. Large compost bins are out, but worm bins are still possible; she even advocates a beehive on the deck. But check with the neighbors first! Hers nixed the idea. Helpful recipes use only the plants listed, and include making lip balms and lotions, and herbal teas.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Many urban farming and vegetable gardening books include lavender as a staple plant, but "The Lavender Lover's Handbook" provides much greater detail on the particular needs and benefits of these sub-shrubs. Sarah Berringer Bader is a lavender farmer in western Oregon and shares her expertise on selection, planting, maintaining, harvesting, and--yes!--cooking with lavender. Best is her selection of cultivars for various purposes such as best scent, richest color (in various hues), or in a landscape. She even includes the best choices for using in her recipes. An encyclopedia of available varieties is quite thorough and enhanced by Janet Loughrey's skilled photography.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Lorene Edwards Forkner has addressed a real need on the Garden Library bookshelf. While there are a handful of books (none of them by local authors) about using foraged materials for garden decoration, none adequately take the next step of using these materials to create useful yet attractive objects that we all need in our gardens. "Handmade Garden Projects" has everything from fountains to potting benches with clear instructions and lots of encouragement to build these yourself, at a fraction of the cost of having someone else be your handy man or woman. Another plus: many of the examples are from gardens created by familiar people in the Seattle area horticultural community.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Winter 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool:

"Edible Landscaping" is not your typical vegetable gardening book. You will not find an A-Z encyclopedic listing of popular vegetables, nor is there much cultural information specific to each crop. Instead, this is a garden design book with an eye to making edible plants the key feature.

Author Senga Lindsay, a landscape designer and gardener in North Vancouver, B.C., challenges and encourages you, the home gardener, to take charge of your garden's appearance and assumes that you don't want your "...yard to look like a 'dog's breakfast'--messy, unkempt and utilitarian." After outlining basic planning steps, she presents fifteen different model gardens, each with detailed plans, lists of needed supplies, and step-by-step procedures for installation.

These plans range from the traditional row garden to green roofs and walls to parking strips. Your garden may need to satisfy a gourmet chef, or accommodate a disabled gardener, or engage young children--all are addressed with the same level of detail. While you can follow one plan to the letter, the elements from the plans can easily be blended as needed.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Spring 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool:

Gardens have taken many forms, depending on the time and culture nurturing them. "Gardens Aflame" considers the gardens created by the indigenous people of the greater Victoria area before the arrival of Europeans. At first, we might not recognize these spaces as gardens, but the Garry Oak (Quercus garryana) meadows were carefully maintained to provide valuable camas roots (Camassia quamash and C. leichtlinii), a staple of the native diet.

Maleea Acker takes a keen interest in the history of these meadows and the efforts to preserve and restore them. As one would expect, these are under threat from expanding development and invasive species. But another challenge comes as the native people can no longer provide the management that kept more aggressive native species (especially Douglas-fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii) from encroaching.

"Meadows were kept clear by the Coast Salish for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans, and served as a food source for many First Nations up and down the west coast and into the Interior." While camas was the main crop, other plants were also harvested, and the gardens became important places for people to gather, just as they are today.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Spring 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool:

"From the Hands of a Weaver" is a history of basket making on the Olympic Peninsula, edited by Jacilee Wray. Gardening was an important part of this craft as "...sophisticated techniques conducted by indigenous cultures altered the landscape, the species composition, and individual plants, ensuring that the highest-quality basketry materials were continuously available for use."

Several plants were used in this craft, ranging from the mighty cedars (Thuja plicata) to more humble beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax), but all required intimate knowledge of these plants for the best results. I found the practices used by the different tribes, from plant selection and harvest to the design and production of the baskets, very engaging.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Spring 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool:

"Garlic! Grow West of the Cascades" is a charming and infectious little book--that will make you eager to grow lots of this culinary staple. At least, that was my reaction as Frank Parente has an enthusiasm rarely matched by other garden writers. Based on Whidbey Island, but channeling his garden loving, Italian ancestors on both sides of his family tree, he writes to "...cover some pointers that will ensure success in wet and humid Western Washington."

You will need these pointers, as the many varieties of garlic require specialized handling for optimum results. But don't worry; the author takes you carefully through the many selections. He also spares no detail on soil preparation, planting, harvesting, curing, and storing, all supplemented with his instructive photographs and diagrams. You're in good hands!

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Spring 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool:

Jennie P. Grant brings a full measure of enthusiasm to "City Goats," a combination how-to manual, goat keeping manifesto, and love story, made all the better by its Seattle setting. While much of the care-giving information would apply to goats anywhere, the author's campaign to legalize her herd is especially compelling because of its local connections.

I'm not likely to start my own herd, but I couldn't help getting hooked by the exploits and personalities of Brownie, Snowflake, Maple, and Eloise. Is this a gardening book? Perhaps not, as the author makes it very clear that your goats and your roses are not good companions. However as the model of the urban farm continues to flourish, you may embrace having your own source of milk and veggies, from securely separated sites, of course.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Spring 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool:

From a publisher a bit out of the region but very familiar to us all is "The One-Block Feast" by Margo True and the staff of Sunset Magazine. Essentially this is a scrapbook of the an on-going experiment to grow, harvest, prepare, and cook a full menu, all from very local sources--the Menlo Park, California campus of this long-time fount of wisdom for gardeners throughout the west.

While one must make modifications for the Pacific Northwest (a calendar of regionally adjusted planting and harvesting dates in the appendix will help), you can't help but come away from reading this book full of ideas. The staff formed teams by food type, and weren't afraid to tackle almost anything from honey to cheese, or beer to olive oil. I thought the stories of Team Salt and Team Escargot were the most intriguing.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Spring 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: Cass Turnbull needs no introduction to our readers and a new book by her is a cause for celebration. Her "Guide to Pruning" is now available in its 3rd edition with three added chapters, including a much needed essay on Taming the Native-Plant Garden. She also addressed an impressive list of new plants not considered in the earlier editions, including "whackables" such as Lavatera and Perovskia. Oh, how I wish I had read about the dangers of whacking too soon--before making my mid-February cutbacks in my own garden.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Spring 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: "It's a Jungle Out There!" is a collection of essays by Cass Turnbull from the time of the founding of Plant Amnesty. It give some perspective and appreciation for the success of her efforts in educating the public and professionals on proper tree and shrub care. While not available to borrow, this book is worth looking at for its history and, especially, the charming diagrams.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Spring 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool:

Jack Nisbet's first book about David Douglas ("The Collector" from 2009) was a very popular, journal-like life chronology of the intrepid plant explorer. The enthusiastic response led the author to realize "...I had only begun to touch the dynamic worlds he [Douglas] saw. So I went back on the trail, revisiting places he had described, checking on species of flora and fauna he had collected, following any lead that might reveal additional facets of his career and character."

The result is a new book, "David Douglas: A Naturalist at Work." Instead of a year-by-year account, this is a delightful collection of essays that explores themes as they played out over Douglas's entire, all-too-short career. Several chapters explore the different groups of people he worked or lived amongst including Native Americans, fur traders, sea farers, and members of the scientific community in England and North America. He did his best to fit in with all and this may explain much of his success as a collector--his eager personality encouraged others to share their knowledge or provide help with explorations.

This new book also incorporates observations from current day researchers that are influenced by Douglas almost two centuries later. For example, he was very enamored with the Garry Oak (Quercus garryana) and the communities it formed in the Pacific Northwest. Present day biologist Peter Dunwiddie has tried to understand why these communities are so rare today. While Dunwiddie concludes there are several factors, the most important is "...the way Native Americans throughout the region systematically set fire to these open oak woodlands," a practice that did not continue after the early 19th century.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Summer 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool:

In "The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest," Lorene Edwards Forkner gives a whole calendar of ideas of what to plant and what to harvest every month--what's unusual is that the chapter on January, while having fewer pages, is still on equal footing with June, rather than be relegated to an off-season category.

Does year-round engagement with your garden sound daunting? Relax. Further reading encourages a steady but gentle approach--no more herculean "putting in the garden" effort in the spring--instead be strategic and realistic about how much garden you can handle and thankful for the bountiful resources of our region to provide what you leave out.

While this book is packed with information, it will work well for the novice, as Forkner is good with pointers for getting started. "If you are a beginning gardener, I recommend you learn to love your hose. Time spent at the end of it is the best education and the most accurate barometer of your garden's needs." I totally agree.

She also has some interesting ideas for the experienced gardener. She divides her veggies by flavor profiles, and then considers what fits into, for example, "sweet leaves" or "hearty greens." Within each category there are plant options that which will give you a similar taste result, but some are easier to grow, or provide a harvest at different times of the year. This can simplify the planting list enormously.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Summer 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool:

Most vegetable gardening books have a long, encyclopedic listing of favorite crops with a relatively short introduction to general cultural. In "Cool Season Gardener," Bill Thorness takes a very different approach--the A-Z listing is confined to a short chapter near the end of the book. While these few pages do contain some excellent recommendations for the late summer-to-spring garden, the heart of this book focuses on the practices of vegetable growing, especially for the cooler months.

To do this, the author invites you to change some of your basic concepts, including dividing the year into only four seasons. "Wanting to tend my garden continually throughout the year in our mild climate has made me chop up our seasons into a few 'miniseasons' so I can more easily plan and plant." Spring stretches into three parts from mid-February to mid-July. Summer is a short two-month season. Fall, in two parts (early and late), extends until Thanksgiving, while winter fills the dark months until early spring.

This is an interesting way to revamp the calendar, but more importantly it gives structure to the planting and harvesting schedule. Sadly, it also emphasizes that short summers are a fact of maritime Pacific Northwest life. But don't despair; the goal of this book is to help you make a success of those long, cool seasons.

Much of this is accomplished with techniques. One whole chapter discusses simple steps for extending the growing season. The next chapter (the longest in the book) covers advanced practices--to a depth of detail not found in other veggie books. Once you've absorbed the theory, the appendix gives you the specifics for numerous building projects. This makes it the perfect book for a handy-with-construction gardener--or perhaps the partnership of a handyperson and a gardener.

Unlike some do-it-yourself books, Thorness keeps everything upbeat and sprinkled with practicality and humor--and always with options depending on your skills and resources. "My brain agitates crazily like an old washing machine when I walk through the secondhand stores. Sometimes I take home a box of treasures; other times I leave with just ideas." You will leave with a treasure of ideas from this book.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Summer 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool:

"Slow Flowers" is something of a sequel to "The 50 Mile Bouquet," Debra Prinzing's previous book (co-created with photographer David Perry) about local and sustainable cut flower vendors. In this book, she uses the produce (flowers, leaves, seedpods, cones, and other plant material) from those vendors, plus cuttings from her own yard and those of friends to create a calendar full of arrangements, one for each week of the year.

The process for creating each week's offering is carefully recorded, both in narrative and with an ingredient list complete with sources and a count of each stem. I found the detailed descriptions of the vases, some quite historical, particularly interesting. Tips on design, finding materials, assembling your bouquet--without the use of environmentally unfriendly florist foam--and preserving it when done are sprinkled throughout the book, and in a helpful reference section at the end.

What I like best about this book is the author's teacher-like approach to everything. No detail is missed, but each is gently mixed with encouragement, practicality, and a sense of fun that makes you want to participate, too.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Summer 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool:

Two Seattle area garden designers discovered they have a shared passion for leaves. The result of this synergy is "Fine Foliage," a rare garden design book in which almost no flowers are allowed. Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz fill their book with a gallery of plant combinations highlighting leaf color, patterns, size, and shapes in both intimate and large-scale settings.

For each example there is a memorable name (like "Down the Rabbit Hole" or "Deer Be Damned!"), a summary of combined cultural needs, and a "Meet the Players" highlight of the selected plants. Most useful is the "Why This Works" paragraph that highlights the design principles behind each combination and stressing the importance of foliage first in any planting plan. Readers of "The Bulletin" will be interested to see that three of the designs for shady locations were created by Rizaniῆo "Riz" Reyes, a gardener on the University of Washington Botanic Gardens staff.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Summer 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: "The Orchard Mason Bee" by Bellingham author Brian Griffin has long been my go-to book on this subject, but from just across the border in Coquitlam, B.C., is a slightly newer book (2002) on these fascinating garden helpers. "Pollination with Mason Bees" by Margriet Dogterom, takes a bit more of a do-it-yourself approach to creating and maintaining your bee nests, but if you're interested in this subject, I'd recommend referring to both books.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Summer 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool: With a title like "Passionate Slugs and Hollywood Frogs," it's hard to know what to expect from the 2001 book by Patricia K. Lichen, but the sub-title helps: "An Uncommon Field Guide to Northwest Backyards." This is mainly a guide to the birds and other animals--natives and non-natives alike--who may call your backyard home, plus a few plants including iconic trees, some troublesome invasives, and even your lawn and its "three million tiny plants." The essays are short and full of whimsy, but also plenty of good information and the incentive to appreciate what you have in your own, well, backyard. The book concludes with an invitation to look up and appreciate rainbows and the stars at night--charming.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Summer 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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Keywords: Reviews

Garden Tool:

"Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America" is itself a book of quiet beauty, and an excellent introduction to Japanese-style gardens throughout Canada and the United States. Photographer David Cobb, from Mosier (near Hood River), Oregon, is particularly adept at emphasizing the contrasts between light and shadow, the subtle reflections in still waters, and the energy of moving water in his subjects. I have visited many of the 26 featured gardens and he captures the spirit of these very well.

Text author Kendall Brown is an Asian Art historian at California State University, Long Beach. His introductory essay places these gardens in the context of what he sees as five distinctive, historical periods beginning at the end of the 19th century. The Seattle Japanese Garden, along with gardens in Portland, at the University of British Columbia, and at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, are all placed in the second of these periods, a time of "Building Bridges" following World War II.

Feeling regional pride, I read the chapter on this period first, and I wasn't disappointed. Brown is good at telling (what are often) convoluted histories. He underscores the importance of our local gardens in the development of the Japanese style in North America: "The Seattle Japanese Garden also set a new standard as the earliest major permanent garden built in North America by well-established designers from Japan." He further compliments it as being "...arguably one of the finest in North America."

Featured in a later chapter is Spokane's Nishinomiya Garden in Manito Park, while another ten gardens from throughout Washington (including the Kubota Garden) and British Columbia are briefly described in the appendices, making this an important garden book for the Pacific Northwest. Brown's earlier (1999) book, "Japanese-Style Gardens of the Pacific West Coast", is also worth reading for a more in-depth general history of this style.

Reviewed by Curator of Horticultural Literature, Brian Thompson. Excerpted from the Fall 2013 Arboretum Bulletin.

Season: All Season
Date: 2013-10-21
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December 12 2014 11:33:49