Canadian Gardener’s Guide | Book Review

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Canadian Gardeners Guide

Title: Canadian Gardener’s Guide, 2nd Edition
Published By: Dorling Kindersley, 2015
ISBN: 9781553632375
Editor: Lorraine Johnson

This book really does contain

“everything you need to know to create and care for your garden”.

As soon as you open the cover you will see a handy map of Canada, colour-coded with plant hardiness zone areas. I live in Southern Ontario and I never realized there were so many different plant hardiness zones in this area! Based on the map I fall into a plant hardiness zone area of 5a.

Canadian Gardener’s Guide includes 456 pages and is filled with great colour photos, practical gardening information, crop planners, tips and tricks. You will also find little “Garden Speak” boxes on the pages throughout the book – to bring to your attention tips and tricks you might otherwise miss.

Garden Speak is a very effective way of presenting important information in a way it won’t be missed.

Canadian Gardener's Guide Book Review @OombawkaDesign

There is so much information in this book – here is a quick breakdown of the sections included:

  • Make A Start – understanding plants (what they need), garden jargon (naming), where to plant different plants, how to choose healthy plants, how to enrich the soil, what you need for a basic gardening tool kit
  • Design Your Garden – how to assess your garden’s needs, decide what type of garden you want (space to entertain, productive garden, family garden, calming retreat, wildlife haven, enthusiast’s garden, easy care garden), where to start and design principles, putting up fence posts, how to lay a path, how to lay a patio, how to install a deck, how to lay a lawn, how to make a pergola, how to make a pond, how to build a raised bed
  • Plant Your Garden – plant families, designing with plants, create a planting style, how to introduce colour and texture, seasonal effects, how to maximize plant power, how to create a simple planting plan, introducing trees, styles with shrubs, planting perennials, climbers and wall shrubs, bamboo and grass, using bulbs effectively, annuals and biennials, water gardening and water lilies
  • Grow Your Own – what to grow, where to grow, vegetable crop planner, lettuce, loose leaf crops, tomatoes, peppers, chiles, eggplants, cucumbers, sweet corn, Florence fennel, Rhubarb, celery, zucchini, marrows, summer squash, pumpkins, winter squash, radishes, beets, carrots, kohlrabi, potatoes, root and stem crops, onions, shallots, garlic, leeks, peas, broad beans, cabbages, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, globe artichokes, asparagus, annual herbs, fruit in the garden, fruit crop planner, apples, pears, plum family, cherries, peaches and nectarines, quinces, figs, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, white currants, red currants, gooseberries and blueberries
  • Care For Your Garden – the gardening year, how to water, how to feed, container growing, a good display, tender plants, pruning, propagating plants, lawns, ponds and water
  • Help and Advice – controlling weeds, diagnosing problems, controlling pests and diseases, A-Z of common pests, A-Z of diseases and disorders
  • Plant Chooserthis section has TONS of colour photographs – annuals, biennials and bedding, plants for summer containers, spring-flowering bulbs, summer and fall bulbs, spring and early summer perennials, summer and fall perennials, perennials for winter interest, water and bog plants, plants for scent, shrubs for walls, climbers for shade, climbers for sun, screening and hedging plants, rock plants, spring-flowering shrubs, summer-flowering shrubs, shrubs for fall interest, ground-cover plants for sun, ground-cover plants for shade, grasses, sedges, and bamboos, conifers for small gardens, structural plants, tress for small gardens, multi-interest trees, plants for acid soil, plants for chalky and lime-rich soils, plants for heavy clay, plants for hot, dry sites, plants for exposed sites, native Canadian plants, Plants to attract wildlife, deer-resistant plants, food garden for a short growing season

As I was browsing through the book I saw so many old-fashioned tips my Nana shared with me over the years – I am happy these things are included in the book because often knowledge can become lost when passed down verbally.

There are tons of tips I had never seen before too – I was very intrigued by the How to Water Pots Less section on page 301, Lifting and Storing Tender Bulbs and Tubers on page 309, Taking Cuttings on page 310-311 and Controlling Weeds p 350-353.

Cuttings | Canadian Gardener's Guide Book Review @OombawkaDesign

My gardens have some very troublesome weeds – the people who owned our home before us planted some odd ‘plants’ in their gardens…among them were bindweed along the chain fences in our yard and thistles in the front garden! These past 7 years I have been trying to pull all these horrid little beasties out of the gardens. I have almost won the battle with the thistles! The bindweed though is still reigning triumphant…

Canadian Gardener's Guide Book Review @OombawkaDesign

I also really appreciate the Diagnosing Problems, Controlling Pests and Diseases, A-Z of Diseases and Disorders and A-Z of Common Pests sections in the book – each section will make it that much easier to manage the health of our gardens.

My husband was happy to see the Lawn Section in the Canadian Gardener’s Guide…me…not so much as his lawn is always trying to move into my gardens…and making it even stronger just doesn’t sound like a good idea to me 😉

My favourite section – is the Plant Chooser section. I definitely appreciate all the other helpful sections in Canadian Gardener’s Guide and will refer to them when needed but the Plant Chooser section is all about looking at the pretty flowers and plants and deciding which ones I want to plant in my garden. The most fun part of gardening for me is finding new and beautiful plants to add to the garden.

Plant Chooser - Canadian Gardener's Guide Book Review @OombawkaDesign

With the Canadian Gardener’s Guide I can do this easily. Each plant includes a colour photo, the latin name and the common name of the plant, a description, blooming times, what the plant is good for (i.e. cuttings), what type of conditions (soil/light) are needed and the height and width of the plant.

This book is fantastic and one I will keep forever. I would definitely recommend it (and already have!) to my friends and family because it really does contain information you can use year after year. It is now my go-to gardening book.

If I had to choose one thing about Canadian Gardener’s Guide that I do not like it would have to be how heavy this book is! This is not the type of book you can pack to take with you to read in the car…

But … to have all this information at my fingertips makes it totally worth it!

Check out the other fantastic Gardening Books available from DK Canada here:

DK Inspire Growth Boutique

If you would like to purchase a copy of Canadian Gardener’s Guide, 2nd Edition, Revised and Expanded you can pick up a copy from Amazon.

I was given this book by DK Canada to review. All opinions are my own.

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If you live in the U.K. there is a U.K. Version available here:

I would like to thank DK Canada for providing me with a copy of this beautiful book to review. 

All images are used with permission from DK Canada Books. For more information about DK Canada Books – visit their WebsiteFacebook or Twitter!


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