Book review: Garden-pedia

Book review: Garden-pedia
by Susan Mulvihill

When reading garden books or wandering through nurseries, do you ever feel daunted or confused by various botanical terms? You are not alone. I’ve been a Master Gardener for a long time now and even I struggle with certain terms. Well, I’m happy to report there’s help on the way for all of us.

A new book called Garden-pedia: An A-to-Z Guide to Gardening Terms (St. Lynn’s Press, 202 pp., 2015, $16.95) has been written by Pamela Bennett and Maria Zampini to help Master Gardeners, students, gardening aficionados  and those working in the horticulture industry master these terms.

From “abiotic” to “zone,” the authors went to great lengths to list and define the words we commonly see, yet occasionally struggle to comprehend in our line of work.

Garden-pedia is a colorful guide filled with illustrative photos for most of the definitions... and the occasionally humorous definition -- just to remind us that the authors don’t take themselves too seriously and that gardening should be fun!

For example, read part of the definition for “double digging”:

“... you take out the top one foot of soil and place it in the bottom of the first trench, then take the next one foot of soil from the bottom and put it on top of the bottom soil in the first trench. Keep doing this until you are either dead tired or the garden bed is ready to go! Hint: you will be dead tired anyway, but hats off to you!”

There are cross-references throughout Garden-pedia to other relevant terms that have been defined elsewhere in the book. Within each definition, there are also highlighted terms that will also have their own definition.

For example, the definition for “rootstock” refers the reader to other important related terms such as “roots,” “graft,” “ornamental” and “dwarf.”

Some definitions are very clear and don’t require explanations, while the authors provide clear examples of the context of words for most definitions.

Garden-pedia is both informative and very easy to use. It is worth picking up a copy to help you wade through terms in garden books, magazines, on plant tags and in other literature produced by the horticultural industry.