If you're a gardener, you probably already know that gardening in the south is much different than gardening anywhere else in the U.S.
Then there’s Florida. Florida takes that difference to a whole other level.
You can understand why I might have been a bit reluctant when asked to review Nancy J. Ondra's latest book. Knowing what I do about Nan as a superior garden designer and cultivator of her own beautiful gardens I was certain the book would be a valuable resource. But I must admit I wondered if Florida readers would benefit from the information given.
Much to my delight I found The Perennial Care Manual to be a useful and handy source. No matter where your garden is located every gardener must learn the basics of planting, staking, pruning, mulching, dividing and propagating. Nancy, known to the blogging world as Nan of Hayefield and Gardening Gone Wild has thoroughly covered each of these techniques in her latest book. She's done this in great detail yet in the simplest terms, accompanied with wit, that gardeners of all skill levels will appreciate. While the seasons and timing aren't always applicable to Florida's subtropical, year-round gardening environment, the knowledgeable instructions and tips Nan shares are universal techniques to assist and teach all gardeners.
Nan is sensitive to the differences in regions and environments in her writing and makes reference to this fact on occasion aptly stating, "Location, location, location. Where you live also influences how light affects your plants. A perennial that thrives in all-day sun in northern gardens may suffer greatly with that much light in a hotter area. Southern gardeners may find that perennials touted as needing full sun ~~ like crocosmia grow just fine with morning sun and shade for part or all of the afternoon."
Part-two: A Plant-by-Plant Perennial Guide.
What a remarkable and orderly inventory of 125 popular plants. Each is listed with its botanical name, common name, quick summary, growing tips, seasonal care, and troubleshooting advice. Many of the plants I found fascinating and fun to learn about even though they won't grow well in my neck of the woods. Even so, there are several of them featured that our region can and does grow.
Overall it is a beautiful book chocked full of colorful photos by photographer Rob Cardillo. It is a page-turner complete with "what to do and when to do it" information coupled with stunning captures of flower after flower in gorgeous detail and striking garden views and plant groupings.