Gardening in the Heartland

Rachel Snyder

Most garden books lead midwestern gardeners down the Primrose Path with gardening advice meant for friendlier climates with cool, still growing seasons and plenty of moisture. Here in the Midwest, that kind of advice doesn't hold water.

Gardeners here face tougher conditions: constant wind, extremes of both heat and cold, sudden and violent weather changes, and drought, not to mention periodic insect explosions.

“This book is tailor-made for heartland gardeners, but it also offers helpful hints to gardeners in other parts of the country. . . . Reading this book is like taking a refresher course in home horticulture from an excellent instructor who knows how to keep your attention.

—Fine Gardening

“I have felt for many years that the East Coast has been overwhelmingly represented (presumptuous, arrogant, haughty, domineering, even?) in books on gardening. This is just what is needed—a regional book dedicated to our area. It is not only for newcomers to the region; it’s a valuable guide for longtime residents, be they gardening novices or experienced hobbyists.”

—Frank Good, horticulture writer, The Wichita Eagle

But breathtaking flower gardens and bountiful vegetable gardens are just as achievable in the country's midsection as they are on either coast, writes Rachel Snyder. The key is understanding the peculiar conditions of the region and making the most of them.

In Gardening in the Heartland, Snyder focuses exclusively on Midwestern garden problems and prescribes simple, effective remedies. In 49 stunning full-color photographs of gardens in this region, she offers irrefutable evidence that her methods work.

Snyder reviews hundreds of kinds of plants and identifies those that grow best in the Midwest. She explains different gardening techniques and offers a cornucopia of gardening advice: hints for growing annuals and perennials, tricks for cultivating beautiful roses and keeping them beautiful year after year, up-to-the-minute tips on kinds of vegetables ready-made for the region, and a list of fruits that will grow in the Midwest without a fight.

Snyder also explains the advantages of native plants and organic gardening methods. She evaluates the pros and cons of xeriscaping versus the traditional "well-manicured lawn," and includes a realistic discussion of plant hardiness zones based on the Department of Agriculture's very latest calculations.

Finally, for encouragement and further study, Snyder provides a list of public gardens in the Heartland.

About the Author

Kansas native Rachel Snyder was editor of Flower and Garden Magazine for thirty-one years. Recently elected to the Garden Writers Association of America Hall of Fame, Snyder was the author of The Complete Book for Gardeners. She has received national writing awards from the American Seed Trade Association, American Association of Nurserymen, and American Horticultural Society.