GreenPrints: The Weeder's Digest

GreenPrints: The Weeder's Digest
Edited by Pat Stone

One Year Subscription (4 issues): $19.97

"What about a garden magazine that
doesn't tell you how to garden?"
~ Pat Stone, Editor

It's no surprise that editor Pat Stone knows his magazine better than anyone.  Except that while technically this is a magazine, it doesn't really feel like one.  Each issue, published quarterly, is an anthology of some of the best writing by gardeners, for gardeners, about gardening.

The articles, fifteen per issue (give or take), are timely, yet timeless.  You may learn more about gardening, but you're much more likely to learn about people who garden - people just like you.  Some of the best writing in any genre is that with which the reader can identify and gardeners of any level will do just that with Green Prints.

As with most magazines, there are ads - most from companies you know.  The heavy paper covers are in color, but the body of the magazine is in black-and-white, with original illustrations accompanying the stories. Each article is a quick read, making this a magazine that will be read. You'll like it, too.

Weeder's Digest: The Best of GreenPrints, edited by Pat Stone, is a collection of some of the best-loved stories from past issues of GreenPrints: The Weeder's Digest.  Published in1996, it contains writings by Diana Wells, Jeff Lowenfels, Michael Pollan, Karel ńĆapek, and many others, including Stone himself.  Fulcrum Publishing, 194 pages, softcover.  List price: $15.95.

Pat Stone has been an avid gardener and journalist for most of his life.  He founded the literary garden magazine, GreenPrints, in 1990, based on his "The Weeder's Digest" broadcasts on public radio and CBS This Morning.  Today, Pat and his family and staff continue to sort through the best of garden writings and illustrations for the magazine at his home in North Carolina.

The publication being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine. If I like it, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that, too.

Schnormeier Gardens: Peace, Harmony & Serenity

Schnormeier Gardens: Peace, Harmony & Serenity
by Scot E. Long, Ph.D.

207 pages
Cottage House Publishing, April 2010
List Price: $35.00

After having just visited Schnormeier Gardens in rural Gambier, OH, and seeing the expanse of beautifully sculpted gardens, a question comes to mind.  What was the motivation behind these 75 acres of mostly Asian-style gardens and how did two people make their vision a reality?

Dr. Scot Long attempts to answer this question in his book, Schnormeier Gardens: Peace, Harmony & Serenity

As is the case with most of us, our life experiences teach us many things and if we're good students, we'll use what we learn in a way that's not only meaningful to us, but that others might find enjoyable as well.  Ted and Ann Schnormeier are at the top of their class. With insight directly from the garden's creators, Dr. Long takes us along on a fascinating journey through the gardens and how they came to be.

The gardens surround and complement the Frank Lloyd Wright style home.

The history here is creatively interwoven throughout the book as he takes us on a visual tour of the individual gardens.  Rich in lessons about Asian culture, the significance of much of what lies within the gardens is revealed.

Although half-a-world away from the Chinese-Tebetan high plateau, Ted and Ann Schnormeier playfully associate the mythical fantasy of James Hilton's Lost Horizon to their own Asian stroll garden of 75 acres.

In this coffee table worthy book, Dr. Long is also one of the ten photographers that have captured the graceful beauty of the countless vignettes and bucolic scenes that are Schnormeier Gardens - surely one of Ohio's garden treasures and well-kept secrets.  There are 312 color photographs in all.

The gardens are only open to the public one weekend a year - in June - since they are the private property of the Schnormeiers and we are a grateful public for their sharing of them.  For those that have not been fortunate enough to visit the gardens themselves, Schnormeier Gardens: Peace, Harmony & Serenity is the next best thing.

*See photos of my visit to the gardens at Our Little Acre.

Dr. Scot E. Long is an anthropologist specializing in cultural ecology, who recently authored nine articles in the West Virginia Encyclopedia, a
publication of the WV Humanities Council. During the early 1990s he served as associate editor of Farmweek Newspaper in Knightstown, Indiana.

After completing his doctorate in anthropology at Ohio State University, Long worked as a research associate for Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster. He also earned a master’s degree in agriculture and communication from OSU.

Currently Dr. Long is an instructor at Central Ohio Technical College. He resides in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, with his wife Cynthia and two children.

The publication being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine. If I like it, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that, too.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Composting

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Composting
by Chris McLaughlin

208 pages
Alpha, May 2010
List Price: $14.95

This book could have been named “Everything You Wanted to Know About Compost But Were Afraid to Ask.” To some, compost might be scary stuff, but Chris McLaughlin allays those fears with her new book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Composting.  In these days of eco-awareness, composting is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and rightly so.

In the usual Idiot’s format, the book is laid out in easy-to-understand manner, with sections on how composting works, various ways on how to do it, and what to do with the compost once you’ve got it.  McLaughlin eliminates the guesswork and shows how truly easy and beneficial composting can be.

It’s not rocket science, since all things decompose if left on their own, but McLaughlin guides readers in how to make the most of your kitchen and yard waste. In fact, she presents the ins and outs of composting in such an inviting way that even non-gardeners will be tempted to save those banana peels and grass clippings.

Chris McLaughlin has been an avid gardener for 30 years and became a Master Gardener in 2000.  She also has a certification from the National Wildlife Federation as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat Steward.  Chris is a regular contributor at (the sister site to Taunton's Fine Gardening), is a San Francisco Gardening Examiner for, and is the editor for the Home Gardening page at Foodie Mama.

The publication being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine. If I like it, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that, too.