This review by Julie Jensen originally appeared in the November/December issue of Northern Gardener.

In his new book, Mini Meadows: Create a Little Patch of Colorful Flowers Anywhere Around Your Yard (Storey Publishing, 2019), Mike Lizotte uses an expansive definition of a meadow—a garden that is “loose and informal and … doesn’t take a lot of time to maintain.” In this book, he argues that a meadow can be nearly any size and include plants of almost all types.

Mini meadows coverLizotte describes a process for planning and creating mini meadows in whatever space you choose—from deck planter to quarter acre. Clearing methods, such as tilling and smothering, are offered for large-space meadows along with tips for using raised beds and containers. He covers the planting, watering and fertilizing basics briefly but thoroughly enough for inexperienced gardeners. Photos of the same spot 30, 60 and 90 days after planting are instructive.

Lizotte’s style is inclusive. You want annuals? He suggests more than a dozen that will provide early, reliable pops of color. Is your heart set on foxgloves or hollyhocks? He explains how to incorporate biennials into your plan. Native perennials? Of course. Nonnatives? Sure, as long as they behave.

The owner of a seed company, Lizotte is particular about seeds and the process of choosing and using them. The section on figuring out how much seed you need is particularly helpful. (He’s not against popping in some plugs and seedlings, too.)

Helpful specifics include plants for difficult spots such as hellstrips, bogs, hillsides and clay; meadows that feed wildlife (pollinators) and meadows that repel wildlife (deer); and regional recommendations.

A particularly endearing aspect of the book is Lizotte’s advice on involving children in the garden based on activities he and his daughter enjoy.

Whether you call your green space a meadow, wildflower garden, pollinator waystation, cutting garden or just a garden, Lizotte’s solid advice might make your time in it even more fun.

—Julie Jensen

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