Avant Gardening

Avant Gardening & Landscaping

Category: Book Review

Book Review for Small Space Gardening

“So many plants, so little space” is a lament heard many times over by gardeners who long for more room to get their hands dirty.  It can be very challenging to create an attractive and functional small space, as well as carving out an intimate area that affords some privacy within a larger landscape.

Don’t despair, Melinda Meyers to the rescue! Here’s a great book to put on your holiday wish lists – 

Small Space Gardening guides you through a step-by-step process to help you achieve your little piece of heaven. Melinda starts by explaining how to analyze your space by sketching out the area, evaluating how you want to use the space and identifying what landscape style you’re trying to achieve. Then it’s on to the design process followed by recommendations on how to maintain your completed project. There’s also a chapter on the challenges and opportunities that small space gardeners face.

The last third of the book is devoted to a comprehensive plant directory that includes perennials, grasses, shrubs, vines, and trees (yes, trees!) that are small space favorites. The high resolution plant photographs include a description of plant culture and characteristics, and is an excellent resource for buying decisions.

About the author:

Melinda Meyers has a master’s degree in horticulture, is a certified arborist, started the Master Gardener program in Milwaukee and is a horticulture instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical School. She hosts “Great Lakes Gardening” on PBS, and writes the twice monthly “Gardener’s Questions” columns for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


Avant Gardening and Landscaping: Why This will Help You get Ready for Spring

We have spring fever. It may still be winter, but after our Avant Gardening and Landscaping team enjoyed a great weekend talking with so many of you at the Garden Expo, we are ready for spring.

Unfortunately, it is still winter, but it can’t stop us from dreaming about getting out into the garden. And sometimes looking at books for ideas can help. I love a beautiful gardening book, and my bookshelf is stocked. But as I recently searched through my choices, I realized I didn’t have the right book to help address our colder Wisconsin climate.

Then I found Annuals for Minnesota and Wisconsin by Don Engebretson and Don Williamson.

This book is actually an incredible guide to species, varieties, hybrids, and cultivars. It is written in an engaging, straightforward manner, and is logically organized for easy reference. The book begins with a Flowers at a Glance pictorial, followed by average last-frost date charts.  The subsequent chapters address:

  • Getting Started
  • Preparing the Garden
  • Selecting Annuals
  • Planting
  • Annuals from Seed
  • Caring for Annuals
  • Problems and Pests

This is followed by a 200+ page comprehensive annuals guide which is organized alphabetically by most familiar common name, with botanical name listed after it. The Quick Reference Chart at the back helps summarize the different features and requirements for various plants, and is a handy guide while shopping. The glossary offers definitions of terms commonly used in gardening.

This book contains just about all the information you may need on annuals, and I would consider it a must-have for those who enjoy these abundant, adaptable, and welcome additions to the garden. Once you read this, you too, will be ready for spring!


Book Review: Annuals for Minnesota and Wisconsin by Don Engebretson and Don Williamson (Lone Pine Publishing)