Gardening Shortcuts Book Review

Recently while browsing the 635 section of the Dewey Decimal system at the library, I picked up a couple of gardening books. Gardening Shortcuts by Jenny Hendy was one of them. This book claims to have “shameless shortcuts, tips and tricks for a great garden super fast.” I believe Gardening Shortcuts has all that and more.

The text is divided into eight sections. These divisions are not the usual groupings. Instead the guide has chapters that encompass both the macro and micro of gardening. Some of the chapters revolve around the use of outside spaces while others focus on specific topics such as growing edibles.

Hendy begins Gardening shortcuts with a basic overview one needs to begin gardening. This includes sections on soil typing and soil amendment, supplies and tools. The chapter also introduces container gardening, planting and the basics of buying stock or seeds.

Key Chapters in Gardening Shortcuts

Then Hendy switches to what I call the macro chapters. Relaxed Patios, Beautiful Borders and Smart Features are three extensive, wide encompassing chapters. Each is chock full of great tips. Each and every page contains photos illustrating the different tips. For example, the author gives tips for “Instant Impact.” Most of these suggestions can be achieved in a short amount of time. Also scattered throughout the book are ideas labeled “If You Have More Time.” Of course these topics will take longer to implement.

Gardening Shortcuts offers a nice mix of tips directly related to plants coupled with ideas for enhancing your outside living areas. The chapter Smart Features incorporates the two themes. Both hints for shaping topiary as well as a two-page spread on decorating for an outside dinner party are in this chapter.

A more traditional chapter is Grow It, Eat It. One will find the expected advice on edibles within. This chapter includes tips on growing in containers. The “You Will Need” boxes tells the reader items needed to complete the task. Visual aids provide further aids to the step-by-step instructions.

Hendy’s discussion of seeds includes sprouting in addition to planting. But the book does not provide thorough information on starting seeds indoors. The focus is on direct seeding into the soil.

The Welcoming Wildlife chapter provides ideas on creating inviting habitats for wildlife. This includes hardscape recommendations and suggestions of plants. Directions for a mini bog garden are given. I found this type of garden intriguing. Jenny Hendy suggests a mini bog as an alternative to a pond if a household has young children. I love this safe alternative. The habitat is attractive to kids,frogs, and other critters without the danger of water.

Gardening Shortcuts may be one of the books I re-check from the library. (My rule of thumb is after the fourth check-out, the book needs to be bought.) Jenny Hendy offers a wide range of ideas. So many neat projects that any reader should find one to try. Look for Gardening Shortcuts at a library or bookstore near you.

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