Hodgson’s refreshingly openly-shared opinions of annuals (good or bad) is a real boon for gardeners (especially new ones). He shares the true nature of a plant, “warts and all” so that readers can make their own informed decision about the plant. This, plus his decades of gardening experience (since he was still in diapers, he jokes) really makes this book a valuable reference for anyone growing annuals. His first chapter is Annual Gardening Made Easy, and his first line is “Why make gardening complicated?” Larry is the ultimate gardening coach who doesn’t include the unnecessary little steps that really don’t give results - just make the task more complex. He says that following the information in the first chapter will have readers sipping lemonade on the porch while watching your plants do all the work.
Annuals for Every Purpose includes a great list of ten things to look for in an annual and the ten commandments of annual design as well as four garden plans designed by professionals for home gardeners to adapt (no matter what size garden).
More than 400 plants are listed by their special features rather than by alphabetical order in the bulk of the book. Fourteen categories of plants such as climbing, shade bloomers, low growing, drought resistant, sowing outdoors, and multipurpose annuals are presented. Each plant is given a generous two page allotment and contains information on the plant profile, growing tips, good neighbors (companion plant notes), problems and solutions as well as the top performer is highlighted. Also included are sidebars sharing Larry’s garden notes, up and coming plants, smart substitutes, fun facts, kissing cousins (notable relatives), and looking back (historical prospective). All important information that should not be missed. For example, Larry’s Garden Notes offers valuable tips from Hodgson’s wealth of knowledge and personal experiences - as shared in the Eustoma section. “True confessions time: This is one “annual” I simply cannot grow from seed.”