For flower gardeners, a primer from seed starting to snipping

Garden Making

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Matt Mattus, a third-generation gardener of his family property in Massachusetts, loves growing plants and is keen to share his experience and tips. In this down-to-earth guide, Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening, he curates a collection of plant suggestions for spring and summer blooms, both annuals and biennials. This is a book about growing flowers, the common and the extraordinary, for the joy and beauty they provide. The clear and concise writing is illustrated with beautiful photography.

Based on decades of first-hand experience in his own garden and greenhouse, every variety or species presented is one that he has personally trialed and grown. A well-done introduction about starting seeds, soil, sowing, hardening off, transplanting and growing on is followed by profiles of growing 100+ different annuals from seed and bulbs.

Naturally, his list is based on his location in the northeastern U.S., but the selection is broad and accessible in most northern climates. He explains how to grow challenging annual poppies and biennials from seed, and how to force flowers for winter blooms. Flowers covered include heirloom and exhibition chrysanthemums, larkspurs, delphiniums, peonies, lilacs and wisteria. Bulbs include spring and summer bulbs such as anemone, ranunculus, tulips, lilies, gladiolus and dahlias. A section on forcing bulbs indoors covers narcissus, amaryllis and even lily-of- the-valley.

In his professional career, Mattus is a principal designer at toy and entertainment company Hasbro, Inc., but calls himself a plantsman on his gardening blog, Growing with Plants. His previous book was Mastering the Art of Vegetable Growing.

Order Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening

Published by Cool Spring Press; 240 Pages; C$39 list price; ISBN: 9780760366271

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Draw to win a copy of Mastering the Art of Flower Gardening

Two winners. Because this is a book by a U.S. author, and we have readers in both the U.S. and Canada, we arranged with the book’s publisher to provide two prizes – one copy of the book to an entry from Canada and one copy to an entry from the U.S. The draw closed August 31 and from 990 entries we made random selections of the winner. Congratulations to Sandra P. of Strathroy, Ontario, and to Katharine F. of Corvallis, Oregon, who are receiving copies of the books in the mail thanks to Cool Spring Press.

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17 thoughts on “For flower gardeners, a primer from seed starting to snipping”

  1. Good to know I am not the only one who dislikes planting bulbs in the fall, Becky, but love to see the results in spring. Mostly I’ve planted daffodils over the years for the obvious reason, pretty squirrel proof, but recently added little species tulips and other tulips in soft orange shades.

  2. Love your newsletter! It is like an old friend going through the same successes and challenges with answers to both.

    Received two traditional gardenia standard topiaries for Mother’s day. Lots of leaves, buds, lovely foliage(at times)– certainly a challenge..No fragrant, white blooms. Will put them in a greenhouse over winter. An article about gardenias? Perhaps you’ve done….will look back….Saw a bunch of smaller leaf gardenia standards at the grocery store this Spring. Wonder how that went.
    Thank You All.

    • Hi. I have a small backyard in Toronto. Found Gardenia standards for $30! at Home Depot this Spring. It’s blooming quite well, lots of buds. I cut the blooms for inside otherwise the squirrels will destroy.
      (Very troublesome squirrels this year. Have already got rid of my cherry tomatoe plants bc they’re not leaving any for me.) Another customer convinced me to get the G. She had bought one the previous year and overwintered it in her unheated garage and wanted another. I plan to do the same. Will probably wrap it also.

    • Hello Darlene. Thank you for your comments, however, we stopped publishing the magazine in February 2018. I’m not sure which magazine you’re referring to.

  3. Really enjoy the newsletter. This year has been a terrible year for Japanese Beetles, my Lydons and white birch look like they are dying, Is there anything available that can be sprayed to get rid of them. They are also damaging my beautiful roses.

    • I’m not sure if your linden and birch trees are suffering from Japanese beetle damage. More likely it’s the hot, dry summer we’re having (in Southern Ontario, in any case). The best way I’ve found to control beetles on roses is to go out in the morning and at dusk and knock them into a bucket of soapy water. It’s a time-consuming task, but so gratifying to see them dispatched.

  4. I also have been receiving your newsletter and have been a BIG fan of your magazine since the beginning. I find so much helpful information each time I read it!
    Thank you!


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