“Five-Plant Gardens,” by Nancy Ondra, photographs by Rob Cardillo; Storey Publishing, $18.95, 184 pages.

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Excerpted from Five-Plant Gardens © Nancy J. Ondra. Photography by © Rob Cardillo. Illustrations by Beverly Duncan. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.

In this, the inaugural post for Literary Features Syndicate’s new webpage, we welcome the return of spring by sharing a book that heralds the arrival of warmer weather, and entices readers to work their backyards into striking rainbow oases.

Veteran horticultural writer Nancy Ondra takes the guesswork out of designing perennial gardens in this guidebook geared to the novice or perpetually brown-thumbed gardener.  In addition to defining useful terms, such as annual vs. perennial plants, Ondra, proposes that anyone will find success planting these gardens using five main plants.  She even maps out how and where to stake out a plot.  Perhaps most encouraging of all, all of the plants in the book are relatively inexpensive and are found at most major garden stores. Ondra estimates that a gardener can plant an entire garden over the course of a weekend at a cost of about $200.

The gardens in this book are divided by light exposure and soil moisture content, leaving little room for error when choosing sun or heat-tolerant species.  Ondra’s bright, color-coordinated planting plans complement beautifully Rob Cardillo’s bright photographs of various ferns, herbs and flowers.

This tome offers a jolt of encouragement that an eye-catching, well-planned and budget-friendly garden is within the reach of any gardener. 

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