The Milwaukee Gardening Expert’s Handbook looks at plants in the Midwest
Local gardening expert Melinda Myers has updated one of her most popular gardening books, just in time for the 2022 gardening season.
“The Midwestern Gardener’s Handbook, All You Need to Know to Plan, Plant & Maintain a Midwestern Garden,” (Cool Springs Press, $26.99), will be available March 15 and is full of information specific to gardeners here are.
There’s colorful artwork – some of which was taken in Myers’ Mukwonago Gardens – and it features more than 250 plants that are proven to thrive in our climate.
Plant information includes paragraphs explaining why the plants are special, how to plant and grow them, how to care for them, their hardiness, seasonal color, when the peak season is, how big they will grow and how much water you need.
The book also gives basic information on shrubs, perennials, annuals, vegetables, fruits, herbs and vines; tells how gardeners in our zone can choose plants to create beautiful landscapes or high-yield edible gardens; sun and shade requirements for plants; basic planting and pruning information; watering and fertilizing tips; and monthly care and growing guides for each plant group.
There are also tips on extending the growing season, tips on fertilization, and information on transplanting, selecting, and transporting trees.
Most importantly, however, is the updated information related to invasive species, pollinators and how to deal with changes in our climate.
“I have gained more than eight years of experience since I first wrote this book in 2013. As gardeners, we learn something new every year. I added tips I learned along the way,” she said.
“I looked closely at things that are considered invasive in the Midwest and picked out a few plants that were my favorites. But that left room for new varieties. We’re always getting new introductions,” she said.
Myers said pollinators are a focus in this book, as is managing a garden without the use of chemicals.
“I talk a lot about dealing with pests and diseases in the garden in an environmentally friendly way,” she said.
What about jumping worms?
“It’s in there among new pests. Not that there is a solution, but there should be an awareness. I give hints how to avoid them.
“I also talk a lot about soil preparation and using compost to be more water efficient and how we can transform our soil so we can grow healthier crops that are more tolerant of climate change and how to adjust your planting time and yours Plant selection” because of climate change.
“As gardeners, we face all these challenges. There is a shortage of gardening materials and supplies, and there has even been a shortage of seeds and plants. But there are many options out there, and in the book I talk about different options,” she said.
Myers, who has written more than 20 books on gardening, said this new edition will be beneficial to both new gardeners and those who have been digging for years.
“We have many new gardeners. I just saw a publication saying there are 18.3 million new gardeners since COVID. Many of them missed the first edition of this book, so this is an opportunity to reach them, “but there’s also a lot of information for those who have been gardening for years,” she said.
Melinda Myers’ Gardening Questions column appears twice a month in the Sunday Journal Sentinel. Amazon.com, where her book can be found, notes that Myers also hosts the syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments, which air on over 115 television and radio stations in the United States. She also has a column in Gardening How-to and Wisconsin Gardening magazines. You can find it under melindamyers.com.