The past few days have been warm and sunny, here in Chicagoland. But the rain is supposed to start tomorrow and go on for a few days. So, I've decided that now is the perfect time to review a couple of the books I've received this spring: Everyday Roses by Paul Zimmerman and The Four Season Farm Gardener's Cookbook by Coleman and Damrosch.
Let me start by saying that Paul Zimmerman is a new client of mine, I give him a little marketing advice now and then. So, it's only natural that I would want to read and review his book. And though you might think me biased, I truly do love Everyday Roses. Here's why: he wrote a book that makes rose gardening accessible to anyone who wants to do it. Yes, really...anyone...even you. It's a terrific how-to book with lots of practical, easy to understand information.
There is a great section on watering roses. Here, Paul attacks a couple of major watering myths. First, he says that roses DO NOT actually need a lot of water. What they need is infrequent, deep watering to help them develop strong roots. Second, he says that it's OK to water overhead, that if done early in the day, it can actually remove spores and other nasties from the leaves. He blythely quips, "What do you do when it's raining? Go stand out there with an umbrella?" Of course not...do you know how many times I've asked the same thing? Paul is the voice of sanity in the crazy world of rose growing.
Summary: Paul proves that anyone really can grow roses. Good for newbies and seasoned gardeners alike.
On to the Four Season Farm Gardener's Cookbook...this is written by Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman, two of the garden writing world's biggest names. Damrosch is the author of The Garden Primer, a terrific resource for all gardeners, not just newbies. Eliot Coleman is the author of The Four Season Harvest, a must-have for anyone who wants to extend their growing season.
And while I am totally loyal and nuts for the books these two have written individually, I am not as nuts about the book they've written together. I know, sacrilege. But before we get too carried away, let me clarify why I feel this way. It has nothing to do with the quality of the content of the book. As you'd expect, it's full of fantastic photos, detailed information and wonderful recipes. And if it had been written 5 years ago, it would have been even more amazing. But a ton of books have been published in the past few years that address some of the very same topics from a very similar angle. Here are just a few:
- Grocery Gardening (yeah, I wrote this one, check out the book trailer)
- Edible Landscaping (Ros Creasy, read how I met her.)
- The Edible Front Yard (Ivette Soler)
- Grow Great Grub (Gayla Trail)
- Grow Cook Eat (Willi Galloway)
- The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener (Niki Jabbour, read the book review here)
And this list certainly isn't exhaustive. Now, I am not saying that any one of these books is necessarily better, just that there are a lot of good books on this subject, so why add another?
If you are someone who didn't purchase any of the above books in the past 5 years, then you could buy The Four Season Farm Gardener's Cookbook and likely not need to purchase any others. And, if you are someone like me, who loves Damrosch and Coleman, then you'll want to purchase this book because of it's amazing content. It really is a terrific resource and I have no doubt that I'll refer to it regularly, but I am a bit of a gardening book freak. I have a zillion of them and I love knowing that I have a world of information and entertainment at my fingertips.
Summary: Great content, bad timing. I heart Damrosch and Coleman.