Archived entries for book review

Outside Your Window

By the time you have a pre-school aged child on your hands, it’s likely that you’ve read through a few books numerous times. Enough times to have some books memorized, or to despise others for being complete devoid of any interest.

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Landscaping for Privacy

While my front yard is the social launchpad for casual conversations with passers-by, my community builder, and my showcase for cool ideas, I have to be honest: I want my backyard to be a sanctuary.

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Book Review: Caseus

Do you have a significant other? Do you cook for them, or sometimes think about getting them excited about cooking for you? Welcome to the world of Jason Sobocinski.

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The Edible Front Yard

Upon seeing this book on the shelf, my hands went toward it as if drawn magnetically. Once I had a few moments to read through its pages, I found it to be colorful, unpretentious, well thought out, and useful.

There’s a good blend of plant descriptions, garden design ideas, practical advice on building soil, and using hardscaping materials. Personally, after seeing some photos in this book I’m dreaming of a concrete paver installation in my backyard.

My only slight criticism of the book is that for the gardener outside the year-round gardening bliss of southern California, there was a notable lack of maintaining an edible garden through the winter, and how to actually make it attractive through the long winter months. A few things I’d advise would be evergreen herbs (like rosemary) or plants with bright red berries or fruits (rose hips!) to make the front lawn gorgeous through the colder months.

There’s also a point in the book (“dreams vs. reality”) where the author states that tomatoes aren’t the best used in edible front yards, yet in the photo on the next page (and many other photos, upon closer examination) definitely have tomatoes featured. Ms. Soler even sports a cute bunch of tomatoes behind her ear in her bio photo! She does state that cherry tomatoes are the best bet, so I’ll have to agree with here there. Sure if you’re going to have to blanket a tomato with insulation in order to get fruit it’s not easy on the eyes, but personally I think the bold yellow blossoms, glossy fruit, and the distinct, amazing smell of tomato plants make it a perfect addition to an edible garden.

The Edible Front Yard by Ivette Soler.

The Twilight Garden

This is not a gardening book to attract vampires – but it may help create the mood for intense necking. Here is Twilight Garden, a really lovely book with elegant design and content.

I’m always discovering new and innovative information about garden design. But when it comes to evoking a magical mood once the sun begins to go down, white and silver are the best. The author, Lia Leendertz, does a fine job of drawing in the reader with evocative descriptions of walkways in the moonlight and gorgeous scents in the air.

My favorite part of the book is the second half. She spent time selecting plants for the twilight garden and creatively grouped their photos and descriptions into the categories “Star Plants”, “Supporting Cast”, and “Backstage Beauties”. Just like a great movie, a great garden has to consider the entire cast (not just the diva).

The Twilight Garden, available for $19.67

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