Review by Booklist Review
This guidebook to growing and using herbs (and a few wildflowers and shrubs) is written from a personal viewpoint. Gardner is the author of several gardening books and a contributor to gardening magazines. For 25 years, she has earned a living growing herbs on a remote farm in Nova Scotia, whose harsh climate and poor land, she relates, "forced me to examine and question accepted gardening practices and to revise them according to my needs." Readers from all regions will benefit from these simple strategies for dealing with common problems, which Gardner learned through hard experience. Part one of the book covers basic growing methods, harvesting herbs, using herbs in the home, and landscaping with herbs. Part two gives 75 detailed "herb portraits," all based on direct experience, including specific growing tips and often recipes and other uses in flavorings, teas, vinegars, oils, jellies, wreaths, swags, aromatherapy, skin fresheners, and potpourris. This "intimate, rather than encyclopedic," compendium concludes with a bibliography; sources of seeds, plants, and supplies. --Penny Spokes
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Part manual, part memoir, this volume blends Gardner's broad knowledge of common herbs with the intimacies of her spartan gardening life amidst the poor soil and harsh climate of Nova Scotia's Cape Breton, where she's lived for 25 years. Guided by principles of "economy, simplicity, and conservation," Gardner (The Heirloom Garden) has compiled a bounty of tips (from drying herbs to building cold frames) to go with a houseful of graces (from swags and sachets to candied flowers). While pragmatic gardeners will be struck by the low-tech tools and equipment designed by Jigs (Gardner's husband), others will be romanced by the sensual pleasure of making potpourri and sachets and the poetic language of flowers (yes, rosemary for remembrance; but also lamb's ears for surprise and lady's mantle for comfort). Two-thirds of the book is devoted to plant "portraits" that include the growing requirements and unique uses of 75 herbs, wildflowers and shrubs. In this section, unexpected topics (violas versus violets) and intriguing recipes (white clover room fresheners and rose petal sandwiches) invite casual perusals. American and Canadian plant sources cited. Line drawings by Elayne Sears. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
While at first glance these two titles might seem very similar, they approach their subject from different angles, down to the different varieties of herbs discussed. For Gardner (The Old-Fashioned Fruit Garden, Chelsea Green, 1991), life revolves around herbs, and she joyfully draws on her extensive experience with them. Opening with a section on growing methods, she includes information on soil preparation and propagation, traditional and alternative methods of harvesting herbs, uses of herbs in the home (from aromatherapy to wreaths), and a short section on landscape design with herbs. More than half of Gardner's book is devoted to 75 herb portraits, each focusing on one herb (or in a few cases a wildflower or shrub) that the author has found useful. In her culinary-inspired work, Saville (coauthor of Herbs: A Country Garden Cookbook of Collins Pub. San Francisco, 1995) examines unusual herbs. After providing readers with a short chapter on growing herbs, she moves right into an up-close and personal look at 60 uncommon herbs, with a soupçon of history and folklore, scientific and common names, growing instructions, culinary uses, and even recipes. While Gardner covers a broader range of topicseverything from crafts to building your own drying racksSaville prefers to concentrate solely on the growing and culinary usage of herbs. Gardner's charm and commonsense approach will appeal to the herb neophyte, while Saville's poetic and lyrical writing style will inspire the adventurous gardener/cook looking for new ideas and unusual varieties of herbs to try out.John Charles, Scottsdale P.L, Ariz. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.