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Book Review: Bulb Forcing For Beginners and the Seriously Smitten

Bulb Forcing For Beginners and the Seriously Smitten
by Art Wolk

Bulb Forcing

255 pages, hardcover
AAB Book Publishing Company LLC, 2012
List price: $32.95

Gardeners are known to force bulbs into bloom during the dark days of winter, especially gardeners who live in the northern climates. The splash of color that rewards us as we somehow feel in control of nature and have tricked spring into coming early bolsters our dreary mood. Art Wolk, in his new book, Bulb Forcing For Beginners and the Seriously Smitten, does the same thing.

Being called “the Dave Barry of garden writing” (by Elvin McDonald) isn’t far from the truth. His sharp wit and playful look at the world of bulbs can make even the most serious of gardeners grin, and frankly, the gardening world can use more like him. But Wolk knows his stuff, too.

With a list of credentials as high as a paper white’s eye (higher, if you use his alcohol trick to shorten the growth of their stems), you might think him to be a staid bore, what with all that education and all those awards.Far from it; Art Wolk is the quintessential educator. He’s the professor that endears himself to you and makes you want to do well for all the right reasons.

As if his ability to teach us the ins and outs of forcing bulbs isn’t enough, he is also an accomplished photographer and Bulb Forcing is full of more than 350 of his beautiful images. Many are so beautiful, they just might be enough to get you through the winter without actually “forcing/coaxing/persuading/enticing/charming” a bulb yourself. But by the time Art gets done with you, you’ll already be out the door and on your way to the garden center to find some. Yeah, you’re gonna want some of that for your very own.

P.S. Why can't all gardening books be this fun?

Art Wolk is an award-winning writer, lecturer, photographer, and Grand Sweepstakes winner at the famed Philadelphia Flower Show. Art has appeared on the Discovery Channel, CBS, FOX, and the Home and Garden TV Network, and has been interviewed on radio stations throughout the United States, including National Public Radio. In addition, he has lectured at such prominent institutions and events as Longwood Gardens, the Boston Flower and Garden Show, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and the Philadelphia International Flower Show.

His magazine articles have appeared in Better Homes and Gardens, Fine Gardening, Green Scene, Green Prints, and other publications. In 1991 Art founded, and for nine years managed, a children’s garden in New Jersey. In 1999, he received the prestigious Quill and Trowel Award from the Garden Writers Association for a magazine article he wrote about the garden.

Read more garden book reviews.

Read Kylee Baumle’s blog, Our Little Acre.