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Book Review on Rock Garden/Alpine Title

Garden fads come and go, but the tried-and-true never fails to satisfy the discerning gardener. That’s really what makes alpine plants and rock gardens so fulfilling. These classics will never go out of style. Among the alpines is any number of wonderful succulents, which are suitable for rock gardens.

Now there’s a delightful new guide by award winning author Rex Murfitt. It will help you create small rock gardens and grow alpines successfully. Now, Murfitt has written “Creating and Planting Alpine Gardens.” This was also published by B.B. Mackey Books.

An alpine garden should blend into the landscape and look natural regardless of its size. This will be the result if readers use the author’s time-tested tips on choosing and arranging rocks, and building rock gardens and beds. This title will be especially useful to novice gardens who are considering adding a rock garden to their landscape. More experienced rock gardeners and alpine plant enthusiasts are in for a treat as well.

Murfitt doesn’t take anything for granted for he explains every step of the process from choosing an appropriate spot for the garden to amending the soil, top dressing the plants, and choosing the right species. Without a doubt, the reader will know whether he/she is doing things right.

If you have a small garden, that’s no problem. In this title, Murfitt focuses specifically on how to build small rock gardens, and how to grow the plants in all sorts of suitable containers. He also explains how to grow them in walls. This particular section contains a very inspiring photo of an upright concrete wall that looks to be about five feet in height. It is just covered with thriving plants. Hard core alpine plant lovers will find the chapter on growing alpines in greenhouses and alpine houses especially informative.

This book also serves as an invaluable guide to alpine plants. There are separate chapters for the different categories, including dwarf woody plants, small bulbs, and herbaceous species. For each species/cultivar, the author provides a description and notes on its culture. Around three dozen kinds of succulents are featured in the plant chapters. These include Lewisias, sedums, sempervivums, and the related Jovibarbas. This book is lushly illustrated in color as well as black and white.

The appendix features a number of helpful resources, including a list of books, and an annotated bibliography.

Earlier, Murfitt co-authored another title with Joyce Fingerut, which was entitled “Creating and Planting Trough Gardens.” This received a Book of the Year 2000 award from the American Horticultural Society, and was also published by B.B. Mackey.

The author enjoys a well-deserved reputation in the rock garden community, and received the Carleton R. Worth Award from the North American Rock Garden Society in recognition of his extensive, distinguished writing on rock gardening. Born in England, he began his career there where he worked with any number of famous rock gardeners.

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