The title is not misleading. A radio host and garden designer in the Northeast, Sombke writes in engagingly conversational style and offers practical design suggestions that should prompt even the most garden-wary to try their hands at growing flowers. After a discussion of site planning and such basics as tools and composting (Sombke is a committed organic gardener; "Don't Treat Your Soil Like Dirt" is one chapter heading), the remaining two thirds of the abundantly illustrated book are devoted to a broad selection of garden designs with such tempting names as Peek-Through Picket Fence Flowers, Shady Woodland Wildflower Garden and An El Diablo Drought-Tolerant Garden. The designs contain complete information about what aspiring gardeners can expect from each of the plants and a four-season "chore" list outlining what is involved in caring for the new garden. Although there are certainly ideas here for the experienced gardener, the book is an excellent choice for the beginner. (Nov.)
Host of a radio gardening show and author of Beautiful Easy Gardens (Globe Pequot, 1993), Sombke gives flower gardeners the basics to create an attractive display. After the first five chapters on garden siting, tools, basic plant care, and organic soil amendment, the rest of the book is devoted to 18 specific garden plans for various situations (boggy areas, shade, a picket fence, etc). Each plan describes the plants used, provides a planting diagram, and has a season-by-season guide for planting and care. Most of the designs are planned for a long season of bloom and are suitable for most areas of the country, although those gardening in the deep South and Southwest will find the plant materials less well adapted to their needs. Good for beginners, this book has less variety in plant material and design than Susan Roth's Better Homes and Gardens Complete Guide to Flower Gardening (Meredith, 1995). For public libraries.-Molly Newling, Piscataway P.L., N.J.