An award-winning garden writer, lecturer, and teacher, Eddison's acre and a half garden in Connecticut has been featured in magazines and on television. For years, she kept expanding her garden little by little until she eventually admitted she had created a garden she couldn't possibly keep up with. Although she often had regular help, she needed even more help, more than she could afford. She realized that she had to make some changes in order to keep doing what she loved.
Some of the changes that Eddison suggests:
- Get rid of fussy plants: "In order to remain in my garden a perennial must be truly perennial and return faithfully every year."
|One of Eddison's favorite low-maintenance perennials is Sedum 'Autumn Joy.'|
- Be thankful for all the shade you have: "Shade-tolerant plants are easier to maintain than sun-lovers."
- Substitute shrubs for perennials--"they afford more value for less work."
|Various shrubs in the Idea Garden provide the "bones" for the borders. |
This is an idea I want to copy in my own garden.
- And my personal favorite . . . "Accept imperfection."
|My Butterfly Garden is the epitome of imperfection, but I love it all the same.|
Eddison's clear prose and personal reflections make this an interesting and fast read. But if you're short of time, you could just read the last two pages of each chapter where she conveniently sums up the main points. The only criticism I have of the book is that I wish she had included color photographs of her garden. The book has some black and white illustrations sprinkled throughout, but when it comes to gardening books I am like a first-grader--the more pictures, the better! But that is merely my curiosity about her garden; you don't really need photos to understand her philosophy. While Gardening for a Lifetime would primarily appeal to those of us who are beginning to realize our limitations, it is also a helpful resource for younger gardeners who may be more limited in time than in physical stamina. It also is a great aid for any age gardener in making long-term plans. As Eddison says, "Gardens and Gardeners age and change."
Actually, I finished reading Eddison's book well over a month ago. For the past few days I've been reading a novel that has kept me from reading blogs, not to mention taking down the rest of the Christmas decorations. The novel that has kept me up reading late into the night is The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, the third in the trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson. Ellen wrote an excellent review for the September Book Review Club meeting, so I won't be redundant and write another critique here, other than to say these three books are the best thrillers/crime fiction I've read in a long, long time.
Disclaimer: No compensation was received for the writing of these reviews: I checked out Gardening for a Lifetime from my local library, and I purchased my own hardback copy of The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.
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