I don't believe I've ever seen a gardening book where the information was as well-organized as it is in "Perennials for Michigan." Often books of regional interest are thrown together and published on the cheap, but this book is tightly-bound, full of color illustrations, and above all, well written. And it's really about Michigan climate and Michigan soils. Someone didn't just go through and change, say 'Iowa' to 'Michigan' with a word processor, then rename the book. The authors make a point of informing the reader which perennials are native to Michigan--another bonus. The best varieties for a particular garden are also described, e.g. the 'Gardenview Scarlet' variety of Bergamot resists powdery mildew more effectively than some of its relatives. The book begins with a pictorial guide called "The Flowers at a Glance" where photographs of the perennials are listed in alphabetical order, by common name. There is a no-nonsense introduction to suitable perennials for the Michigan climate and its USDA hardiness zones. The zone map is more detailed than usual, which is useful for me because I've lived in my new location for less than a year, and the map tells me I need to select perennials that will survive at -20 F. In my former location, temperatures rarely dropped below -5 F. The next few sections explain how to start, maintain, and propagate a perennial garden. The authors detail which plants can be started from stem, root, and basal cuttings and which can be started from rhizomes. There is the obligatory chapter on 'Problems & Pests' before we plunge into the heart of this book: the alphabetically-arranged sections on each of the 681 selected perennials. Each species is described, including origin and bloom time, and whether (thank you! thank you!) deer find it hard to digest. Each has subsections on 'Planting' (how and when to start your plants), 'Growing,' 'Tips,' 'Recommended' varieties, and 'Problems and Pests.' Colored photographs, usually labeled by variety, accompany the descriptions of each perennial. Lone Pine Publishing, you've put together an excellent, well-organized book for Michigan gardeners (even if you are located in Edmonton, Canada). I'm going to order copies for my sister and all my friends who garden in this state. Highly recommended!
This book is the perfect reference guide for the Michigan gardener. I am redesigning my home's extensive perennial gardens and this handy book is invaluable. Thank you authors Nancy Szerlag and Alison Beck!