Should I ditch my 1993 edition of Practical Guide to Gardening in Canada for the 2013 edition?
By Lorraine • Mar 25th, 2013 •
Once I find a great reference book I’m unwilling to part with it. Flags and tabs mark important pages so I can quickly and easily find information when I need it, and much-read sections are well-thumbed and annotated.
So, it’s with great unease that I open a revised edition of any book, let alone a basic tome such as Practical Guide to Gardening in Canada. Will the update have the same great information? If the information in the older edition was so terrific why is a revision necessary? Will all the good stuff be replaced by pretty pictures?
Well, I’m glad to report that I’ll be bidding a fond (and probably much overdue) farewell to my 1993 edition of Practical Guide to Gardening in Canada, and happily replacing it with the revised and updated Canadian Encyclopedia of Gardening, published by DK Publishing.
The revised edition had me hooked from the get-go. No longer is the hardiness zone map buried in the “Climate and the Garden” section (page 516 in the 1993 edition); it appears on both the inside front and back covers, making it super easy to find, whichever way you open the book.
The introductory chapter places contemporary gardening in context with sections on organic gardening, sustainability and gardening for wildlife. The overall organization of the book is much the same, with the exclusion of seasonal reminders, which I glanced at from time to time. But I’ll gladly learn to live without this section for the value of its replacement: the Canadian Plant List, which lists plants by botanical name and provides a hardiness zone rating for each – hurrah!
Most of the chapters from the older edition have been retained and updated in the new edition, with some welcome additions, including a chapter on container gardening, an overview of green roofs and vertical walls and information about vermicomposting.
Because of pesticide bans instituted in many parts of the country, the Plant Problems chapter of my 1993 edition is very outdated, so the revamped guide, with its emphasis on organic and biological controls and IPM (virtually unheard of in the 1993 edition), will become a frequently read section. (Love the list of common garden pest control products, which somewhat surprisingly, includes neem oil. Although widely available as a leaf-shine product, it has been awaiting federal approval for use as a pesticide for several years. Did this information slip under my horticultural radar trap?)
With all of these improvements, revisions and inclusions, the 2013 edition of Canadian Encyclopedia of Gardening will be sitting on my bookshelves – probably for another 20-year span!