The Garden in Winter by Suzy Bales, who is a contributing editor to Better Homes & Gardens, is more a “decorating” book than a garden book. It has garden information, for sure, but primarily focuses on How to brighten up a winter garden or house with arrangements of evergreens and berries, containers and sculpture. For those who live in the deep freeze parts of the USA, many of the plants will bloom more in the early spring, rather than truly in winter. Some plants that provide greenery in milder climates will survive in places like Ohio, but their persistant green will eventually brown. This is true of some of the English ivies, and Pyracantha.
Garden writers, and perhaps garden readers tend to love florid language, and this book is definitely written along that style. It is filled with beautiful photographs and the decorating ideas are really nice ones. I love the idea of filling the empty containers of summer with trimming of evergreen and creating outdoor arrangements. It inspires me to light up my winter garden this way.
I sort of took issue with calling snow drops, winter aconite, and crocus “The Three Stooges”, but I liked the way solid design tips were scattered throughout the book. Sprinkled throughout the book are interesting tidbits of plant information and garden tips.
Highlighting of exceptional gardener profiles along with some showcased plants give the book enough edge that it would be worthwhile to buy. If you like Better Homes and Garden magazine, you will definitely like this book.
Author: Suzy Bales