Northwest Gardener’s Handbook

Northwest Gardener's HandbookSusan Mulvihill is co-author with fellow columnist, Pat Munts, of Northwest Gardener’s Handbook. Published by Cool Springs Press in Jan. 2015, NGH contains a wealth of knowledge for gardening in the beautiful Northwest.

What’s really special about this book is that it covers the Inland Northwest region, an area that has in the past been given little attention in garden books.

The first few chapters of the book detail the specific regions of the Northwest, and the topography and weather that affects the way we garden. Rainfall maps and hardiness zones are just a few of the tools to give you a better understanding of this region.

A chapter filled with garden tips and tricks is next. It covers making compost, firewise landscaping, dealing with critters in the garden, taking soil samples, dealing with soil pH, using color in your garden, starting plants from seed, plant propagation, gardening in small spaces, and raised-bed gardening.

There are 10 chapters on specific types of plants and how to grow them. Types include annuals; bulbs; edibles, herbs and fruits; groundcovers; lawns and ornamental grasses; perennials; roses; shrubs; trees and vines.

Each plant profile includes information on why they’re special, recommended cultivars for each, how to plant and care for them, problems that can arise, bloom colors where applicable, hardiness zones, plant size and water needs.

Chapters on vegetable gardening as well as a planting guide, wildfire-resistant plants, and plants that will attract beneficial insects are included, along with resource guides to Northwest seed and native plant companies, Internet resources, a bibliography and glossary of botanical terms.

The Northwest Gardener’s Handbook has been very well received, so much so that it’s already in its second printing! You can purchase “Northwest Gardener’s Handbook” online at, and locally at Barnes & Noble, Auntie’s Bookstore (Spokane, Wash.) and Hastings.