"Garden Up!" I wonder how many trees were killed so my tree could be in a book?

There’s a brand-spankin’ new book out just last week that shows (features is a strong word) my columnar apple tree in my front yard. The book, Garden Up! was written by garden-blogging acquaintances Susan Morrison and Rebecca Sweet (what do you call people you’ve had online conversations with, but have never met?).

The book should be considered mandatory reading for urban gardeners. Or any gardener, really, it just so happens that we urban gardeners grow up as a necessity, after we’ve got the ground covered.

There are so many great ideas in the book – divide into chapters like: Arbors & Trellises; Skinny Spaces; Urban Gardening; Edibles; Living Walls and Plant Picks.

It was great to thumb through at first because I spotted many gardens of which I’ve become familiar. Many gardens used throughout the book were of other garden bloggers that I’ve met (some in person!) and I’ve seen their gardens on their garden blogs. It’s sort of weird to be intimate with a garden you’ve never been in – to be able to recognize it and picture parts of it that aren’t even shown.

I have not had the time to read through it in it’s entirety yet. It’s broken down into side bars, call outs, photo captions, detail shots, how-tos, and beautiful photographs – so its easy to pick up and wander through to get ideas. But I know both Susan & Rebecca are engaging & informative writers so I’m looking forward to reading it cover to cover. Both are landscape designers. Susan’s written for Fine Gardening, among other media, and blogs at www.BluePlanetGardening.com. Rebecca is a columnist for Fine Gardening magazine, and has had her garden design work featured in Fine Gardening and Horticulture magazines. She blogs at www.GossipInTheGarden.com.

My favorite part of the book though, is page 130. In the chapter on Edibles—where my columnar apple tree gets its due. The tree was purchased in a Binghamton, NY Agway store. It was a gift from my mother after my dad died seven years ago. She bought a tree-of-our-choosing each for me, my brother and sister. Dad wasn’t fond of trees in particular. Hell, he’d mow down anything smaller than a shrub—a gardener he was not. But BOY could he spend hours on the riding lawn mower, or rolling the yard, or distributing weed killer every weekend. I do think of him often when I walk by the tree now—and think about how he’d hate my garden—nary a patch of grass to shear.

I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

0 comments on “"Garden Up!" I wonder how many trees were killed so my tree could be in a book?

  1. First of all, your columnar tree is lovely! I've been wanting one for awhile. What variety apple is it? How many pounds of apples does it produce for you in a season? How wonderful that you are featured in the book too! It's one that I want to add to my library.


  2. What a lovely review – thank you SO much!! And you must know that I'm in LOVE with your home and your apple tree. When Susan sent me the photo I just about dropped over, I was so happy!! And yes, I think you can say your tree is definitely 'featured' in our book! (thanks for sharing your tree's story, too. I love hearing the history and stories behind certain meaningful plants). I hope to meet you face-to-face someday! – Rebecca


  3. You're right, Jim. If you're a regular reader of garden blogs, the list of photo credits will read like an attendance list from a blogger's Spring Fling. Thanks again for sharing your lovely photo! Not only do we love the tree, but the generosity of gardeners and bloggers from around the country helped us show a much greater diversity of ideas than had we taken all the pictures ourselves in California.


  4. meemsnyc,I have no idea what variety of Apple tre it is. It was just sold as a “Columnar Apple Tree.” How many pounds of apples? Um, one yer I had five. Five apples that is. It's never yielded much. And most of those grew close to the top of the 15' tree.Rebecca & Susan,We'll get you out here for a talk sometime. There's always a chance to meet at a blogger meet-up, but unfortunately for me, the timing is bad this year—too many garden events to plan& participate in that weekend. Good luck with the book tour and appearances!


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