Categories: Lifestyle

Gardening made simple

A.H. Jackson discusses the bare fundamentals of getting your hands dirty and your thumbs green in her book Beginner Gardening in Canada.

Sometime today, my mother will probably sit at her kitchen table and groan as she reads this article.

She is an expert gardener who knows Latin names and common names of plants, how much sunlight they should have, how much water, and whether or not it’s OK to eat them. She once grew a cactus in our living room that was so tall we had to donate it to a government building with an open foyer. She is so good at resurrecting any plant from death that I wouldn’t be surprised if she could plant a pencil and make it take root.

Sorry, Mom. I’m the greenest of green thumbs but I hope to gain more expertise. This has got to be exactly why Lone Pine Publishing came along with their new book called Beginner Gardening for Canada. They always have useful and enjoyable books on various subjects on the natural world.

It has the usual full colour photographs to help guide you along the step-by-step process of going from a dirt field to a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables, plus a bouquet on the table. It will tell you which trees are which and which ones should go where at the same time.

If you’ve ever had a pest or a disease plague your petals then you have a pretty handy reference on what to do about it. That being said, this isn’t an encyclopedia. While having tea in my backyard earlier this week, I noticed a small tree with lots of spots on its leaves. There weren’t any pictures of it in the book but that should be expected. It’s a convenience store of general knowledge, not a warehouse megamarket.

There are lots of descriptions of soil types and how to get your compost working for you, even how to get free plants through propagation. I’m not going to read the tips for growing annuals just yet. I’ll wait until I figure out what the difference is between an annual and a perennial first.

Beginner Gardening also contains expert-tested lists of each of those categories, plus the best trees, shrubs, vines, grasses and other varieties for this country. I could figure out how to build a greenhouse, a garden shed or put up an herb trellis.

So now I don’t have any reason to not get those carrots in the ground once and for all, not that they’ll do anything once they’re there. Really, the only way that it could be easier to get my hands dirty to grow plants is if I could just plant this book.

Beginner Gardening for Canada

by A.H. Jackson
224 pages
Lone Pine Publishing

Scott Hayes: Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.