Melinda Myers’ recent Midwest Gardener’s Handbook: Your Complete Guide: Select, Plan, Plant, Maintain, Problem-solve covers 12 states and is a reliable tool for gardeners who want to grow plants while they live in the upper middle section of the United States.
The appearance of the book’s soft outer cover belies the workhorse reference material contained between the bindings. White space on the pages allows gardeners to scribble their own journal notes about garden plans inside.
The Midwest Gardener’s Handbook covers information about growing plants, including all the hardiness zone maps for Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Gardener’s Complete Guide Plant Sections with Month-by-Month Steps
The Midwest Gardener’s Handbook serves as a fairly complete guide. Myers takes readers through selecting plants, planning a garden, how to plant and maintain a bed, and troubleshooting routine garden problems. The plant sections are broader and divided differently, when compared with Myers’ two-state guidebook, Minnesota & Wisconsin Getting Started Garden Guide.
In the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook, labeled sections include: Annuals, Bulbs, Groundcovers & Vines, Lawns, Perennials & Ornamental Grasses, Roses, Shrubs, Trees, and Vegetables & Herbs. Each plant section contains month-by-month steps pages, which are a special feature of this handbook. A few other special features include:
- The Annuals section has step-by-step indoor seed starting instructions, illustrated with large photos.
- The Bulbs section offers tips on forcing flowers and storing bulbs overwinter and answers the all-too-frequent question, “What do I do with a lily received at Easter time?”
- The Rose has its own plant section. But beyond the varieties of roses, Myers takes a strong look at disease and insect issues and providing winter protection, an important consideration in the coldest northern states of the Midwest.
- The last section of the Handbook covers Vegetables & Herbs. Despite its position, it is no less valuable for gardeners to read. Myers is not dissuaded by how small a space you might have to garden. After all, she once grew her large collection of plants in an urban lot around her home.
Pruning plants is a skill that keeps plants structurally in good health. Myers considers knowing how to carry out this task, and setting a routine schedule for it, so important she set aside four pages with photos and instructions on the subject in her Handbook. In addition, she included specific advice on pruning in the Roses, Shrubs and Trees sections.
Midwest Plant Expert and Garden Author
Melinda Myers is a plant expert, garden author and public speaker who obtained her horticultural knowledge and experience in the Midwest. She makes her home in southern Wisconsin.
Among Myers’ many achievements, she began the Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener program in Milwaukee County, received the Honorary Life Membership Award from the Wisconsin Arborists Association and won the American Horticultural Society’s B.Y. Morrison Communication Award for effective and inspirational communication.
She has a master’s degree in horticulture and was a horticulture instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College for many years. Melinda Myers is a television and radio host, and columnist for Birds & Blooms and is a contributing editor for Backyard Living magazine. She has written more than 20 gardening books, and hosts the nationally syndicated “Melinda’s Garden Moment.”
For more than twenty years, Myers’ name was synonymous with The Plant Doctor radio program in Wisconsin and she was the host of Great Lakes Gardener on PBS for seven seasons.
How to Use the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook
The Midwest Gardener’s Handbook is a good companion to the Minnesota & Wisconsin Getting Started Garden Guide. Myers placed a strong emphasis on garden techniques within the separate plant sections of the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook.
Beginning gardeners will especially find these books convenient to work in concert with each other. The Midwest Gardener’s Handbook does not have a general plant topics index, as the Getting Started Garden Guide does.
Rather, the Handbook features separate botanical name and common name indexes and an Internet resources section, which has contact information for university extensions, heirloom seed companies, public gardens and plant nurseries.
The hardiness zone maps found in the back of the book cover each of the 12 states.
Midwest Gardener’s Handbook: Useful and Simple-To-Use
An imprint of Quayside Publishing, Cool Springs Press issued the 2013 edition of the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook: Your Complete Guide: Select, Plan, Plant, Maintain, Problem-solve (ISBN 978-1-59 186-568 1).