Monday, March 5, 2012

Niwaki: Pruning, Training and Shaping Trees the Japanese Way -- Book Review

Niwaki: Pruning, Training and Shaping Trees the Japanese Way by Jake Hobson is simply the art of growing garden trees to conform to your idea of a tree. Japanese gardeners mastered this form centuries ago. By adopting this gardening art form to our smaller and smaller gardens regular trees will be made to conform to suit the gardener owners needs. Every garden will become uniquely personal, a common maple tree trimmed and shaped by you will never be the same maple tree in your neighbour's yard. Each unique plant becomes a specimen or focal point in your garden.

This book cover karikomi as well. Karikomi is the art of trimming grown covering shrubs into blissful dollops of foliage that should contrast each other in texture and foliage colour.

This book covers pruning, training and shaping of garden plants into shapes like you have seen in Japanese gardens. The line drawings make the pruning easy to follow. The glossary of Japanese terms is easy to access and read. You never have to worry about forgetting what a term means. The Japanese to English botanical plant names will help you out at any good nursery. The numerous colour photographs are well used to explain the different styles. This book takes the scary out of pruning like the Japanese.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

400 Trees and Shrubs for Small Spaces - Book Review

First of all I like a book that includes plant hardiness maps, glossary and an illustrated glossary.  The 400 Trees and Shrubs for Small Spaces by Diana M. Miller is such a book. It also includes an easy reference section to select the right plant for the right conditions as well as by its features. Some of the features include foliage, fruit, & flower colour.

The photographs are sharp, colour correct and numerous.  The only downside to this book is the plant material selection includes too many plants we in southern Canada cannot grow outside year round. The upside is that many of these plants make excellent container plants that you can grow indoors and summer outside on your deck, patio or porch. Some of them would also be excellent to sink into your summer garden to create an interesting feature specimen or focal point. I have even seen some of the plants sold as annuals in my local garden centres.

The information in this book will help you to properly place all these plants around your garden.