own a solace shut within my heart,
A garden full of many a quaint delight
And warm with drowsy, poppied sunshine; bright,
Flaming with lilies out of whose cups dart
With powdered wings.
—Amy Lowell, "Behind a Wall"
There is no better time for a gardener than spring with its promise of regeneration and renewal. As Rachel Carson said, "There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—that assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter." And what better herald for spring this year than the publication of Shrubs Large and Small: Natives and Ornamentals for Midwest Gardens, the latest offering from the team of Moya L. Andrews and Gillian Harris?
Shrubs Large and Small is filled with practical advice on what shrubs to plant among your perennials and how to choose woody shrubs to help determine your garden’s architecture, to achieve blooming throughout the season, and to add interest to the winter garden. Also included are sections on selecting shrubs; shrubs that attract wildlife, especially birds; and bringing flowers indoors, focusing on, among other topics, forcing branches, the characteristics of American arrangements, and a monthly sequence of materials provided by the shrub garden for arrangements.
The volume showcases 20 of the authors' favorite shrubs and describes other garden-worthy varieties. Many, referred to as "natives," occur naturally east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio rivers and from Minnesota to Arkansas. Others are imports from temperate regions around the world. All are ideal for growing in the Midwest. Included are viburnum, syringa, paeonia, ilex, cornus, and witch-hazel, among others.
Shrubs Large and Small is beautifully illustrated by Gillian Harris, a natural science illustrator and an Indiana Master Naturalist. Her botanically correct, four-color drawings are scattered throughout the book, and illustrations of the 20 "favorite" native and native deciduous shrubs are included in a section entitled "Gallery." All are true works of art and make this not just a useful and essential book for the gardener, but a book that can be treasured for its beauty alone.
Shrubs Large and Small complements Andrews's and Harris's previous book Perennials Short and Tall: A Seasonal Progression of Plants for Your Garden, which offers advice on keeping your garden in bloom, chapters on each of the three growing seasons, and profiles of 25 varieties of flowers, together with color illustrations. As a set or individually, these books make a wonderful gift for you and the gardeners in your life.