The Perennial Care Manual: Review

Review by Freda Cameron

The package arrived on my doorstep one summer afternoon. I immediately sat down and started reading the book. All other plans were put aside for the day as I consumed the information. I read all of Part One, Perennial Care Basics and skimmed every page of Part Two, Plant-By-Plant Perennial Guide, before putting the book down for the day.

The Perennial Care Manual by Nancy J. Ondra is indeed a page-turner for every gardener. So engaging, it is easy for any gardener, beginner or experienced, to get caught up in the plot!

Oh, and the photography! Photographer Rob Cardillo not only captures the details in the how-to photos, but provides drool-worthy eye candy in the photos of spectacular perennials and combinations.

This isn't your average plant care manual! Reading the book is like going into the garden with Nan as she explains her methods and tips on creating, caring for, and keeping up appearances in the perennial garden. She guides you through the basics of designing and creating a new garden or reworking your established garden. All the while, there is underlying light-hearted humor that makes the book lively, fun and easy to understand.

The perennial reference section of 125 popular plants is an absolutely wonderful resource to have on your bookshelf. There's no skimpy, incomplete information as each plant receives 1-2 pages of coverage. There is a description, photo, and sections on growing tips and seasonal care for each plant. With some perennials, Nan includes a section on troubleshooting common problems. Nan also does an excellent job of mentioning special considerations for zones, conditions and care in her "Relatively Speaking" sections.

The Perennial Care Manual won't be put away on the shelf to gather dust. But, it may gather some muddy finger prints when I take it into my garden!


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