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Richard Iverson - Exotic Garden: Designing with Tropical Plants in Almost Any Climate

Taunton Press is well known for publishing exceptional books. This book is top-notch in every way, from the real cloth spine of the cover to the magnificent color photographs that shine throughout.

If you thought that exotic looking tropical plants were only for indoor use in temperate zones --- well think again! Iverson instructs us to take our houseplants outside during the summer months. Now this in itself is no new thing. For decades, garden writers have advocated clustering pots of houseplants under shady trees in good weather. In my experience most plants love it outside. It is after all their birthright.

Iverson says to get those plants out of their pots, and I must say that that too is their birthright. You make a plant feel natural; it looks happy and vibrant. Nice chi! "Free tropical plants from the constriction of the indoor environment by planting them outdoors for the summer months and they are transformed, like Cinderella. Common houseplants become avant-garde garden plants, tall, strong, and good-looking. Rains wash away last winter's dust, and light levels closer to those of their native tropic environment stimulate growth. Plants grow fast, and in a single season these exotics are at their peak of perfection…"

Exotic Garden is likely destined to become a classic. The concept meshes quite well with feng shui's teaching of accentuating vibrant chi. Take those gardens a step further. Gardeners who live in the tropics will also find ample ideas via the excellent color photographs on almost page. Iverson recommends mixing houseplants with annuals. "Since most annual plants originate in the tropics, they are at home with exotic-looking tropicals. The photos tell it all. It works!

Taunton Press, Newtown, CT, (800)-888-8286, www.tauntonplus.com, 1-56158-232-8, 169 pages, color photos, hardback, $27.95

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