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Peter Chan's Magical Landscape.

A mixture of artistry and common sense, the finest landscape design is done by people possessing both.

Peter Chan is one of those, and his new book, Peter Chan's Magical Landscape (Garden Way Publishing, Pownal, Vt., 1988; $10.95), gives insights into blending art and pragmatism in the garden.

Though Mr. Chan's reputation rests on his skill with Chinese raised-bed vegetable gardens (it won him a Sunset garden contest in the mid-'70s), he has great ability with ornamental plants as well. This book covers both.

Dream first, work out the details later

If one theme runs throughout this book,

it's plan and prepare now for maximum efficiency later.

The indulgent Mr. Chan starts by having you put your dreams on paper: flowers for the front garden, entertainment deck for the rear, greenhouse to satisfy your horticultural fantasies, and a vegetable garden to satisfy the dirt gardener in you.

Then Mr. Chan the pragmatist helps you figure out how all this should fit together so that you'll end up with maximum use, minimum maintenance. It's not that he's against the work of gardening-he just knows that even in a low-maintenance garden you'll always have plenty to do.

Horticulture through Mr. Chan's eyes Not a textbook, this volume is more a chronicle of lessons learned by an extraordinary gardener. It's well salted with the author's judgments about what a garden ought and ought not to contain. In Mr. Chan's own flora, for example, there's no room for hollies, but plenty for flowering trees, shrubs, and vines.

He doesn't, however, give much information about ornamentals beyond a number of color plates and a series of tree, shrub, and perennial charts in the back of the book. All the plants pictured and listed in the charts grow in Mr. Chan's garden.

Chinese vegetables get quite a lot of space, partly because they are not well known to American gardeners, and partly because he's a master at growing them.

The book also touches on structures in the garden (walls, paths, fences, and ponds), maintenance, and some surprising practices that have helped make him such a successful gardener. One is pregerminating all vegetable seeds before planting. Peter Chan's Magical Landscape is available in bookstores.
COPYRIGHT 1988 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 1988
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