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Ezra Haggard, author of the popular Perennials for the Lower Midwest, literally takes landscape design to a higher level with this gorgeous book especially for midwesterners. Trees and shrubs add mass and the all-important vertical element to a garden. If well chosen, they also contribute beauty, texture, and color all year long and for years to come, beautifying the home and adding to its value, screening out unattractive elements, providing privacy, and improving with age.
Haggard considers all aspects of more than 100 ornamental trees, shrubs, and roses that are suitable for the Midwest, low-maintenance, and guaranteed not to outgrow a small garden. (A mistake in scale is one of the most expensive errors a beginning gardener can make — planting a row of cute baby Canadian hemlocks up against the house, for example.) Haggard gives mature sizes for all the plants he discusses, as well as other important information — enough to help gardeners decide whether they must have a particular plant or are better off without it. The midwestern rose lover will find Haggard’s assessment of relatively trouble-free roses a short but invaluable list. Plant families discussed in some detail include hollies, hydrangeas, magnolias, ornamental maples, rhododendrons, spireas, and viburnums. Old favorites like deutzia, flowering quince, kerria, and mockorange are treated, as well as such less-known but easy species as bushclover, cherrylaurel, falsecypress, katsuratree, and sourwood, which add distinction to any landscape.
Perhaps most useful of all are Haggard’s sometimes unexpected tips on plant combinations, which will be found throughout the text and in the accompanying photographs.