Andy McIndoe’s book, Shrubs, offers suggestions for choosing the right shrub for every place in the garden. He covers basic shrub care and considers many different kinds of sites and limiting condition’s with descriptions of plants that will fill each need or situation. Drawing on decades of experience, he provides inspiration and well rounded coverage of using shrubs effectively to enhance a garden.
After describing the elements of site selection, planting and maintenance Mcindoe turns to specific conditions that limit the selection of shrubs: shade, wind and salt spray, wet and compacted soil, alkaline and chalk soils, acid soil, hot dry climates, and harsh winters. He describes the growing challenges of each condition and recommends over a shrubs giving a description with size, hardiness zones, and a photograph. In addition he includes a list of other good shrubs for the site along with companion plants that would complement the shrub choices.
Another section of the book deals with shrubs for small spaces such as containers, small gardens, and steep slopes. Again he suggests over a dozen shrubs for each small space with descriptions, a photograph, and suggestions for companion plants. McIndoe follows the same format with a final section on shrubs planted for special characteristics such as architectural effect, fast grown, and fragrance.
Although probably best considered a reference book, the text is easy to read and full of informative material on plants. Numerous photographs of shrub combinations fill the book and add excitement with the turn of every page. One caveat, however, the book is written with a British point of view so some of the information might not be relevant. Yes, USDA hardiness zones and measurements in feet are included along with their British equivalents but most of the US does not have the climate of Britain and plants may not react here as they do there.
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