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Gardening books assist in creating dream spaces

| Sunday, April 21, 2002

Gardening books are definitely a growth industry:

  • Takashi Sawano is one of the world's best-regarded designers of Japanese gardens — and he has concentrated on creating them outside Japan. In " Creating Your Own Japanese Garden " (Shufunotomo/Japan Publications, via Kodansha America, $32 hardcover) he offers help to Western gardeners who want them. "If they are designed and created with care, Japanese gardens can blend surprising well into Western settings," he writes. "They may even provide solutions that Western gardens do not offer to problems such as lack of space, insufficient light, even poor soil."

    And one hallmark of the Japanese garden is privacy. Bamboo fences bring seclusion and style to the garden area. Learn how in " Building Bamboo Fences " (Graphic-sha Publishing, via Kodansha America, $19.95 paperback), by Isao Yoshikawa. The author covers techniques and styles.

    For inspiration in planning that garden, look at " A Japanese Touch for Your Garden " (Kodansha International, $25 paperback), by Kiyoshi Seike and Masanobu Kudo, with David H. Engel. You'll see how the Japanese use stones, carved lanterns and signposts, waterworks, paths and other elements.

  • The improvements of rose types in recent years — hardier, more disease resistant, repeating blooms — has made it possible to use them freely in landscaping. Jeff Cox explores the possibilities in " Landscape with Roses " (Taunton Books, $27.95 paperback, with photographs by Jerry Pavia). He shows how they can hold their own as borders, foundation plantings, massed as shrubs and in other garden roles.

  • " Gardening in Containers " and " Accent Your Garden " (each $17.95 paperback) are the newest titles in Taunton's Fine Gardening Design Guides series, which draws on the expertise of contributors to Fine Gardening magazine. The "Containers" title offers ideas for using urns, pots, baskets, window boxes, and even old housewares to grow things, inside and out. And the "Accent" book illustrates creative ideas for laying out your garden design with arbors, trellises, pavings, fences, statuary and other objects.

  • A great advantage of growing your own herbs is that besides providing fresh ingredients for your cooking, the plants play a decorative part in your garden, either alone or in partnership with your flowers and shrubs. " Better Homes and Gardens Herbs " (Meredith Publishing, $16.95 paperback) offers ideas to grow these versatile plants in the city, country, as knot gardens and landscapes, and even those little odd spaces. The book also includes recipes that use your fresh-grown herbs as well as instructions to make wreaths, bouquets, potpourri, and cosmetics.

    In the same series, you'll find " Better Homes and Gardens Roses " (Meredith Publishing, $16.95 paperback), a guide to growing and using these favorites.

  • In the Home Depot's practical guide series, look for " Flower Gardening 1-2-3 " (Meredith Publishing, $24.95). It shows you what to do and when and how to do it. There's also an encyclopedia section that will help you identify and decide on your garden choices.

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