From Canada’s leading garden expert comes a unique and practical step-by-step guide to creating the garden of your dreams.
With her inimitable charm and boundless knowledge, noted gardener and author Marjorie Harris establishes the template for creating the garden that is right for your tiny urban plot, barren suburban tract, overgrown meadow, condo roof or balcony. Packed with practical advice, helpful sidebars and attractive photographs, How to Make a Garden takes you through Marjorie’s seven essential steps to garden-making – the culmination of twenty-five years of her experience.
Gardening is all about balance: creating shady patches and hot spots, combining exuberant jungles and tailored edges, making social areas and solitary spaces, planting tall trees and delicate groundcovers. To craft a living mosaic requires contemplation and planning: Marjorie calls this unique and necessary step “pregardening.” Once you’ve tackled this thoughtful stage, How to Make a Garden shows you how to create a solid soil foundation for your plantings, establish just the right garden style for you and your site, draw a garden map, select the perfect plants with the indispensable plant list, plant them correctly, and maintain the health and vibrancy of your garden. Marjorie understands all the pitfalls and anxieties gardeners experience, and she counters them with clear-headed, lively advice that is never intimidating and always creative. How to Make a Garden is essential and inspiring reading for every gardener and would-be gardener.
“This book is for people who are baffled by empty spaces, cowed by weeds and longing to have something gorgeous to look at. It’s also for people who have lovely gardens but need to be reminded of the basics – the core ideas that make a garden truly successful.”
—From How to Make a Garden
Top Ten Tips for Designing with Containers
1. Use containers in transitional areas (porches, doorways, entry courtyards) to continue colours form house to garden.
2. Move large containers around while they are empty to get them in the right spot. Once filled, these things weigh a ton.
3. Make sure any container is raised off the ground on bricks or chocks to add drainage and to keep them from freezing and cracking in winter.
4. Put poolside containers on casters so they can be easily moved out of the sun — the heat reflection from the water can be brutal — or out of the way at pool-party time.
5. To make a garden appear longer, place large containers in the foreground and set increasingly smaller ones behind.
6. Avoid using silly, little containers. Buy larger ones than you think you’ll need; little pots dotted about look haphazard and uncomfortable.
7. Match the pot to the plant’s ultimate size. Don’t place a small plant in a huge container or vice versa.
8. Never put big containers on pedestals. It is unsafe and unnecessary.
9. Make sure containers sit absolutely level. It is visually insulting to see containers listing sideways.
10. Use a gravel mulch in containers to hold in moisture and discourage squirrels.
Marjorie Harris is the national gardening columnist for the Globe and Mail and the editor-at-large of Gardening Life magazine. She is the author of several gardening books, including The Canadian Gardener and Botanica North America. She lives in Toronto, where she gardens seriously and for the amusement of her husband, writer Jack Batten.close this panel
Praise for Marjorie Harris:
“I like a book that makes me feel the writer is talking directly to me, perhaps from across the back fence. Harris has a wonderfully readable style and dispenses down-to-earth advice.”
—The Globe and Mail
“This is the kind of garden writer Canada needs – hardy, practical, and colourful.”
“Harris’s honest, straightforward style makes good reading.”