My book, “Perennials Through the Seasons” is out and if interested, you can buy it here:
Here are reviews of the book:
“I have followed John’s blog for many years. This is a great book that helps educate and manage expectations. Seeing a picture of a mature plant can can cause frustration when you are just beginning or have never grown it before. I use many of these perennials in my landscape designs. And the book features plants that will work in several zones. We don’t have snow but our plants still rest in the winter. I will recommend “Perennials Through the Seasons” to clients.”
“We’ve read John’s blog for a few years as our gardening obsession has grown. His unvarnished perspective, which has made his blog valuable and renown, comes through just as intensely in his first gardening book.
As learning gardeners, it’s been shocking and disappointing how little four-season-inclusive information is available. John has been doing deep dives on his favorite (as well as his least successful) plants on his blog for some time, and we’re almost always referencing his website as we browse the offerings at the garden center in search of winning additions for our landscape.
Finally, he’s produced this handy guide—which we’ve already been guilty of bringing to the nursery on multiple occasions—that is exceptional in its informational and planning value. See each perennial in every season—not just how it looks during bloom time. We’ve added a score of new ornamentals this year based on John’s advice in this book, and they are already some of the highlights of our of our yard.
This book does a fantastic job of setting expectations for plant performance by-season, and will save you valuable time by enabling you to put the right plant in the right place for optimal vitality, spread (or containment), complementary combination (and some of his recommended combos are incredible!), and year-round interest.
Aside from actionable advice, the book is also an engaging read—one of Markowski’s trademarks is that he always has an interesting story (usually humorous with a lesson) and this book does not disappoint. Perhaps John’s greatest strength as a writer is the way he is uniquely able to juxtapose self-deprecating descriptions of his neurotic and OCD-like energy in the garden with his overall laid back observations to create a friendly, accessible tone that makes the finer points of ornamental gardening fun and easy to digest.
Despite his deep knowledge and experience, Markowski never makes the reader feel alienated. With this first book, he leaves his audience feeling empowered and capable of affecting equal results in their own gardens, and powerfully imparts a rare appreciation for the year-round aesthetic strengths of perennial plants.”
“This is a lovely book, easy to pick up and peruse. I am a novice gardener so am already quietly freaking out with the massive amounts of gardening information at my fingertips, online and elsewhere. This book makes it easy, focusing on twenty of the most popular perennials.
Lots of white space mixing with photos and text add to the sense of relaxed and creative flow as you flit from flower to flower, season to season. Within each of the sections you’ll find personal reminiscences, going back sometimes to the mid-nineties. The stories are short enough to give a taste. Many might prompt hopes that the author will someday write a full length personal essay. Buds, blossoms, and late season ‘winter interest’ may pass quickly in nature, and there’s not much one can do about it but watch, listen, appreciate. Great nature writers know how to milk this amazing subject for all it’s worth. This book is not that kind of meditation, and that is in itself, a strength.
Suggestions are welcome (to the novice, at least): the “classic duo” for instance, of purple coneflower and black-eyed susans, or purple conflower and Russian sage. Photos are provided, so you don’t have to take the author’s word for it. In addition, we don’t get bogged down with everything that may go wrong, so are indirectly encouraged to try things in our own gardens. Some suggestions re the drooping, falling over sneezeweed syndrome are solid ones. In the perennial garden you can make mistakes, and get many chances – to make more.
In one story, the author describes his practice of stealing plant tags early in his career. I like these windows into a gentle spirit who is a bit of a rascal and proud of it, or at least has nothing to hide. Overall, there’s a great attitude of laissez-faire, curiosity, experimentation, and fascination with nature, with all her quirks, beauty and wisdom. This book would make an especially nice gift to any new home-owner or novice gardener.”
“I really loved this book. If you are looking for a comprehensive gardening guide this would not fit the bill. This author is telling a story about his love for flowers and his garden. Although he talks about only 20 of the flowers he grows and although it is filled with useful information and tips it is the entertaining way he tells his stories that captured me. The book includes many pictures of each plant as it progresses through the four seasons and useful tips for growing them. It will be a great reference for the 20 perennials that are included. I just wish that it was more extensive. I would recommend this book for any gardener, experienced or complete novice. What a great read!”
“As a follower of John’s blog I was very excited to learn about his new book. When I received it I was delighted to find that it did not follow the usual formula of the picture of a plant in full summer bloom. He took the time to show the plants in all seasons.
He clearly outlines 20 different plant’s role throughout all four seasons. Providing plenty of photographs which back up his words. The plants selected cover many different growing zones, and I found it very relevant for my zone 5 garden. Add in his humorous stories about each plant and you will enjoy this easy to read book.
I highly recommend this book for those looking to add to their garden, start a new garden or who wish to cultivate a new appreciation for some old favorites.”
“What more can I say than what has already been said about this book. I was surprised at how well put together it was, how informative it is, but the best parts are the personal experiences of the author. Told with a great wit, it is a singularly entertaining, and still educational, read.
I would go out of my way to read ANYthing John writes in the future, whatEVER subject it is on.
Looking forward to the next book, John, even if it’s your diary!”
“And, speaking of gardening excitement, I finally got John Markowski’s book, Perennials Through the Seasons. I read it from cover to cover within the first few days (it took me that long because I was trying to savor it). I love it because it’s not the usual list of most popular perennials. He includes a wide variety of plants, each with a story, growing suggestions and tips, and plenty of pictures. It’s entertaining and educational. I laughed quite a bit, and learned several things I didn’t know, even about plants I’ve owned for years. (For instance, I had no idea that the bottom third of the veronica plant turned brown as a rule…I thought it was just me!)
He sums up my feelings about gardening so eloquently with words like obsessive, neurotic, and swoon, but especially with these paragraphs on page 59:
The garden is a place of peace. A place of tranquility. It is where we connect with our earth.
It is also where I get stressed and curse myself and battle demons. There is an ongoing tug of war between my need for control and order, and my love of wild or controlled chaos. I pull from both ends, depending on the day.