Book Review - The Well-Tended Perennial Garden

The Bottom Line

This is the kind of bottom line practical information that every gardener looks for. New gardeners will take the fast track to learning about staking, deadheading and divisions. Experienced gardeners will be treated to the inside track on expanding your gardens bloom season through creative pruning.

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  • Great general information on the care of perennial plants in the garden
  • Great specific information on popular perennial plants
  • Extensive plant listings by characteristics and garden maintenance needs


  • It's hard to find fault, but she could have included even more info on specific plants


  • Covers the basics, wisely starting with "Design and Its Relationship to Maintenance"
  • This is information culled from experience. It's not a text book so much as a field manual.
  • Sets a standard for pruning to expand the potential of your garden.
  • The plant specific information is invaluable in planning your own garden.

Guide Review - Book Review - The Well-Tended Perennial Garden

The reputation of The Well-Tended Perennial Garden grew by word of mouth, as gardeners clued their fellow gardeners into what a tremendous resource this book could be. All of the basics are covered, from preparing the soil to renovating the garden. The writing is succinct, but thorough and Ms. DiSabato-Aust uses her own experience as a gardener and garden designer for examples.

She even includes photos of her own gardens to demonstrate her points. But two things make this book stand out from other perennial garden how-to books. 1. Ms. DiSabato-Aust has a well deserved reputation as a pruning and deadheading guru. She obviously enjoys pushing her plants to bloom to their greatest abundance and she shares the tricks she's learned through trial and error.

Not only does she share her techniques, the second half of the book walks through dozens of specific plants and outlines exactly what works with them and what doesn't. 2. Tucked into the last portion of the book are extensive lists of perennial plants grouped by pruning and maintenance requirements. There are perennials for wet areas, clay busters, plants that should be pruned back for disease control, perennials that need to be divided every year, every 4-5 years, every 6-10 years, even a warning list of high maintenance perennial plants. This book is like having a garden mentor that you can come back to again and again.

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