Tuesday, March 13, 2012

book review: the balcony gardner

While I was looking around in one of the shops I like to frequent, I came upon a book that was apropos of my new green thumb activities; The Balcony Gardener by Isabelle Palmer. The price was also reasonable.

It's a hardcover book with lots of pretty and inspirational photos of container gardens and gardening within limited outdoor space. The contents and instructions are basic, and an introduction to balcony gardening. Ms. Palmer shares anecdotal advice and experience about gardening as well as decorating tips to make your limited outdoor space comfortable and inviting. She also makes helpful suggestions of plants for your gardening consideration depending on your interest and convenience.

The tone of the book is casual and nurturing; ideal for the curious and/or uninitiated gardener. Even intimidated readers will find a spark of encouragement after reading The Balcony Gardener. Ms Palmer wants her readers to have fun with creating a little bit of green space on the balcony or even window.

Ms. Palmer offers many creative ideas for gardening with containers. I especially love the ones where she suggests an herb box based on herbs used when cooking chicken and fish, or popular ethnic cuisines like Mediterranean and curry. She even throws in a few tasty recipes that inspires growing your own.

I enjoyed reading through The Balcony Gardener. The photos in the book are inspirational, and not overly done. The subject in each page isn't elaborate. Instead, the set up in each photo could easily inspire a similar recreation or come up with something that reflects the reader's personality. The images of flowers and plants are printed on paper that may have been recycled instead of seductive glossy paper. This gives the photos are more earthy and vintage feel. The pages also has a nice tactile feel when I turn the pages.

It was such a great coincidence coming upon this book as I was about to exit the shop. The title, The Balcony Gardener, was so appropriate with what I was about to embark that same day. This would make a great gift for those who are interested in gardening but may feel the effort to take up such an endeavor daunting.

Since reading this book, I've been inspired to possibly plant some shading plants like bamboo. And I definitely want to grow strawberries, which Ms. Palmer says is well suited for growing in containers on the balcony.

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