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Annuals for Alberta    by Laura Peters & Donna Dawson order for
Annuals for Alberta
by Laura Peters
Order:  USA  Can
Lone Pine, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Alberta, Canada is known for its drastic climate conditions, which often make gardening a challenge. Laura Peters and Donna Dawson are both native Albertans who harbor a love for gardening. Peters is in fact a Master Gardener with over twenty gardening books to her credit, while Dawson is the creator of an internationally known website, Dawson tells us that 'an annual is by definition a plant whose life cycle lasts only one year from seed to bloom, and hopefully to seed again. Here in Alberta, with our long days of sun, we are able to plant a huge variety of annuals for our enjoyment. Whether in garden beds or containers, annuals offer us continuous colour when our perennials fade. This book will not only help you choose the right plant for the right place, it will also show you how to prepare for them, look after them and enjoy them until frost'.

In their introduction, the authors discuss Alberta's climate, geography and soil as well as pointing out the benefits of planting annuals - such as producing many colorful flowers over a long period of time and adapting easily to a wide variety of growing conditions. In the next sections, the authors cover Getting Started, reviewing what to consider before shopping for annuals. Next they give pointers on Preparing Your Garden, followed by Selecting Annuals or - for the more adventurous - starting Annuals from Seed. Then they walk through Planting Your Annuals and Caring for Annuals, with tips on weeding, mulching, watering, fertilizing and keeping flower beds nicely groomed. Finally, there's a section on Problems & Pests that covers everything from how to get rid of annoying aphids to controlling grey mold. Those who frown on using pesticides or herbicides will appreciate a few pages on Pest Control Alternatives. Here you'll learn how to make garlic spray, compost tea and friendlier ways to control those busy ants who insist on invading flowerbeds.

The remainder of the book presents 550 annuals that are suited to Alberta's particular climate. Each entry covers height, spread, and flower color as well as tips for seeding, planting and growing and some favorite species and varieties. Pests and diseases that may afflict the plant are also covered. Vivid, full colour photographs make it easy to decide which annuals to chose for your garden this year. Annuals for Alberta is an informative and in-depth resource, the perfect guide to annuals best suited to the Alberta climate - and a book that will surely become an invaluable resource to novice and serious gardener alike.

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