Are you ready? It's time for our 14th annual photo contest! Enter your best pictures of the year, for a chance to win a calendar and annual subscription here. Hurry! Deadline for entries is October 21.
This looked like it might be one of those fluffy coffee-table books, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it a useful and informative read. It is a landscaping book tailored specifically to midwest conditions (Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska).
There is a nice long section featuring actual gardens throughout the region (about 100), with photos and short description. Information here is sometimes a bit vague, but some specific plants are listed and there are numerous pictures of each garden. There are also sections on design, hardscaping, and problems specific to the midwest. I especially liked the regional problems section, which has information with maps showing how things like temperature, flooding, wind, soil, and other climactic data vary across the region.
Two sections have lots of planting plans for inspiration: Landscaping with Plants has various detailed plans for little gardens/borders for specific situations, such as waterwise, low-maintenance, shade, rock garden, etc. Landscape Plans has more general plans for an entire property, with various ideas for how to break up the space with both plantings and hardscape.
I would not pay the full list price for this book, but if you can find it on clearance or get it from a library it is well worth it - a good value full of ideas. Packed with beautiful photos and illustrations as well.