Making Tough Choices

The gardening beginner must find it disappointing and discouraging when a plant dies and I wonder if it is something which might put one off gardening afterwards. Nothing succeeds like success while failure is disheartening. For the more experienced gardener a certain level of failure is acceptable; indeed, taking a chance with a plant with not the greatest probability of success adds interest and excitement to the pastime but the knowledgeable gardener has come to accept that it is inevitable that plants will die for various reasons, that it is simply part of how nature works and is part of the progress and change of a garden’s life. For the beginner, the same experience might blight the possibility of a lifetime’s enjoyment of gardening; it may nip it in the bud, so to speak.

Good advice will help avoid such an eventuality and a book which gives lists of plants most likely to survive and thrive is a good starting point for any gardener. Tough Plants for Tough Places by Sharon Amos fits this furrow of horticutural information very well. There is an introductory section advising on assessment of one’s site and soil with recommendations for ways to ameliorate the very worst of conditions – providing shelter from the worst of the winds, improving soil structure and condition and learning to make the most of what you have rather than facing into a constant battle with one’s environment. The main content of the book is a Planat Directory which lists, describes and advises on plants suited to sun, shade, dry, damp, exposed and seaside situations. The plants are well described and illustrated with clear advice on how best to grow and care for them. To the advanced gardener it may be a little less than inspiring but it will provide a solid and reliable beginning for the novice.

Some sample pages:

[Tough Plants for Tough Places – Invincible Plants for every Situation, Sharon Amos, Pimpernel Press, London, 2023, Hardback, 160 pages, £20, ISBN: 978-1-914902-01-7]


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