Item description for Midwest Cottage Gardening by Fran Manos...
Create your own beautiful cottage garden. This practical book offers advice to help midwestern gardeners--whether novices or old pros--achieve beautiful, organic gardens drawing on age-old cottage garden traditions. Readers will learn how to plan and plant a bountiful cottage garden with ecology in mind, using a lively mixture of perennials, annuals, fruiting trees and shrubs, vegetables, and herbs.
Fran Manos provides the keys to successful gardening with a combination of experience and a lighthearted approach in bringing fun to gardening.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Midwest Cottage Gardening?
Great Guide for Midwest Gardeners Mar 17, 2008
Before I read this book, I almost exclusively bought gardening books with the word "cottage" in the title. After reading this book, I almost exclusively buy books with words like Midwest, heartland, and hot. For me, the two main positives about this book were that I finally made my cottage garden come true by simply adjusting some plant choices AND I learned some new practical tips that I have not read in other books. I wish I had read this book when I first started gardening. I also really loved the friendly style in which the book was written.
The negatives for me were that I would have liked at least a few pictures of the entire garden and also at least one picture each of the plants that she recommends. I found it so frustrating to be reading about a great plant and not seeing what it looked like. I could have looked it up but I was on vacation and away from my gardening library. It was especially exasperating since there multiple photos of some plants which was not necessary. The other negative was that I think she considers some plants as "cottage" that I most definitely do not-primarily hostas. I truly despise hostas. :)
Overall, I do recommend this book!
A page turner Jun 27, 2007
While I agree the book would have been even better with more "whole garden" photos, I just couldn't put it down. I've been gardening for a few years here in the Midwest, and I always had the feeling I was "doing it wrong." After reading several gardening books, "Midwest Cottage Gardening" was the first one to provide simple guidelines for gardening success in our crazy climate. Fran (I feel like she's a friend) has given me the know-how and peace of mind to carry on and enjoy the whole wild process of gardening.
One word: Disappointing! Jan 22, 2007
On page one, the author asserts that "We've read too many magazines, watched too many gardening TV programs, seen gardening videos, and gone on too many garden walks to have the 'beginner's mind'..." Apparently, "too many books" are why she was totally clueless that variables like soil type and quantity of rain and sun would affect how well a plant would thrive in her yard.
She claims to have been perplexed when perennials hardy to zone 7 kicked the bucket during her zone 5 winters. She was shocked when the plant she bought at the nursery ("No one could tell me a thing about it.") was unhappy in her Chicago yard; it was native to California & Alaska!
There are lots of photos. Most of them are homogeneous photos of things like a clump of Hostas or a field of Black-Eyed Susans. I can see pictures of individual plants in any seed catalog; I want to see what they look like in a cottage garden!
All of the photos seem to have been taken in the author's own yard. There's not a single picture of someone else's garden. There are no descriptions of gardens outside her Chicago suburb, let alone her home state of Illinois. Perhaps the book should have been called "A Midwest Cottage Garden" or "Frances Manos's Garden". That's all that's in here. If you already know the basics of zones and what plants need to survive and you're looking for inspiration and ideas for creating your own cottage garden, I suggest looking elsewhere.
A beautifully presented softcover coffee-table book Dec 9, 2004
Midwest Cottage Gardens is a beautifully presented softcover coffee-table book featuring full-color photographs and practical instructions for raising an organic garden in the Midwest climate. Author Frances Manos draws upon 20 years of gardening experience, lists some of the most popular garden plants that thrive here in the Midwest, while walking the reader through the basic elements of planting, and more. Midwest Cottage Gardens is a captivating delight simply to page through, as well as a useful resource resurce to work from.
A Great Advice Giver Dec 6, 2004
Even though this book is classified as a how-to, it felt like more like a reader to me. It is almost as though Frances Manos was my neighbor, having her impart her garden experience over the fence or a cup of coffee. This book gives advice on how to create beautiful cottage gardens. You will learn the secrets of using perennials, annuals, fruits and vegetables to make your garden unique and wonderful all at the same time. Her writing style is easy to read and encouraging, not pushy or boastful. You can feel her enthusiasm for getting others to garden as you read this book. Although this book takes a while for you to get into, you need to read it from the beginning to end so that you don't miss out on anything.