Charles W. G. Smith's The Big Book of Garden Secrets (Storey, $22.95, 1580170005) addresses all of the facets of gardening with which beginners and intermediate gardeners should be familiar. It includes advice on amending soil, making and using compost, plant propagation, cool and warm-season vegetables, landscaping, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden, and more.

As a new gardener, you'll also be interested in the low-maintenance solutions and money-saving shortcuts that Smith offers for dozens of common gardening problems. In addition, there are helpful line-drawings, easy-to-follow instructions, a USDA Zone Map, and selected plant lists. Smith has served as horticulturist for the well-known White Flower Farm, is an instructor of vocational agriculture, and has written about gardening and environmental issues.

Reviewed by Pat Regel.

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