There are no stupid questions here. Everyone has to start somewhere, after all. In The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers, Sean and Allison McManus, the gardening pros behind the popular website and podcast Spoken Garden, answer all of your questions and more.
Caring for outdoor plantings can be intimidating, especially if the process is completely new to you. Before running to the hardware store to stock up on plastic bags of mulch and tools you don’t really need, arm yourself with the know-how to plant and tend outdoor areas correctly and safely. Doing so saves you time, money, and energy—and helps make the process a whole lot more fun!
With help from this easy-to-follow beginner gardening guide, you’ll learn:
- Tips for selecting the best plants and flowers for your growing conditions
- The best planting techniques for different types of plants
- How to mulch trees, shrubs, and garden beds correctly
- Pruning dos and don’ts for common garden plants
- Ways to keep weeds out of outdoor areas—without using synthetic herbicides
- How to recognize and manage different pests and diseases naturally
- Insider tips on everything from the difference between annuals and perennials to choosing the best organic fertilizer
- Plus, you’ll find time-management advice and tips for effective, resource-conscious gardening
This book is part of The First-Time Gardener Guide series from Cool Springs Press, which also includes The First-Time Gardener: Growing Vegetables. Each book in The First-Time Gardener Guide series is aimed at beginner gardeners and offers clear, fact-based information that's presented in a friendly and accessible way, including step-by-step instructions and full-color illustrations throughout.
About the Author
Sean McManus grew up working on his family’s rhododendron farm in Washington State. This early training sparked his lifelong passion for horticulture, which he pursued through two degrees at Washington State University, including a Master's in Environmental Horticulture as well as other horticulture, landscaping, and gardening-related certificates. Sean has over 8 years of experience in Industrial Garden Maintenance and 12-plus years of experience operating a private landscape and consulting company. Sean and his wife Allison are the team behind the website, blog, and podcast Spoken Garden. Started as a way to connect with others through their love of science, gardening, and education, Spoken Garden helps people connect with nature through smart, sustainable garden maintenance.
Allison McManus is the product of two nature-loving parents who instilled in her a deep love and respect for the natural world. From a very young age, she assisted in garden maintenance tasks around the yard in Washington state. A self-professed “science nerd,” she pursued a degree in Exercise Science, always staying in tune with her love of the natural world. Currently, Allison is a National Board-Certified Science Educator. She taught eighth grade science for 13 years before shifting her focus to Spoken Garden full time in June 2019.
"Again, a great, great book for the beginning gardener. This one would make a great Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift. And if you’re the one in need of a great gardening primer, this is it. A weekend’s worth of reading and a reference that you’ll use for years."—Andrew Messinger, The Hampton Gardener/27East.com
"Want to learn the different ways to mulch, prune, compost, recognize plant diseases, and deal with animals?"—Pat Leuchtman, Common Weeder
"While the book may seem like a lot of information, it is perfect for holding any gardener’s hands while also still reminding experienced gardeners about basics that may very well be skipping over" —Susan Bewley, Budget Earth
"...the perfect introductory gardening book for those just starting to learn about planting and tending to the landscape outdoors."—Home for the Harvest