A Year in the Garden: 365 Inspirational Gardens and Gardening Tips, Gisela Keil and Jurgen Becker

This hefty book provided hours of pleasurable browsing and reading.  Each day of the year (actually 366 are included so it must have been a leap year) occupies two facing pages, one with gardening ideas and tips and the facing page with a beautiful photograph and a brief paragraph describing the scene.  There are some challenges since the gardens are all in Europe so the units are in degrees of centigrade and the sizes are in centimeters, but if one is prepared to use a local guide to determine the hardiness and conditions preferred by the plants that capture one’s interest, it’s not a serious problem.  (As an aside, the best source for this kind of information that I have found is the web site for the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.  It’s fantastic!) I came away from my ‘year’ with lots of notes about garden projects—new plants, new combinations, new art projects for the garden, etc.  Any book that can provide as many new ideas as this one is a winner.  My only hesitancy in recommending it is its heft.  It weighed in at a bit more than 4.5 pounds on our kitchen scale, so reading this book in bed would put one at significant risk of a ‘bookmark’.  Enjoy the summer and the gardens!

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