The Globe & Mail Reviews “You Grow Girl” Book

- From: The Globe & Mail (Saturday, May 28, 2005 Page L5)

Followers of scrappy gardener Gayla Trail, the founder of the gardening website, now have a companion book they can actually haul outdoors.

Toronto-resident Trail started the site in 2000 as a response to the paucity of media geared to young, frugal, urban gardeners like her, “with no permanent space and only a sweltering hot deck to my name.”

She calls her philosophy a “punk rock approach” to gardening, full of low-cost, high-reward tips. Illustrated with cute graphics and photos, it’s a fast-paced, fact-packed read, covering everything from mulching to bugs and critters.

For greenhorns she includes the basics of planning and planting an urban garden in a yard, on a windowsill or even on a fire escape, where coreopsis, Dahlberg daisies, marigolds and tomatoes can thrive in very harsh conditions. There are sections on nursery tag decoding, composting and “container farming.”

But even seasoned green thumbs will find plenty of cool ideas. A section on “Garbage Dump Chic” includes such tips as using bits of broken porcelain as decorative container mulch, lining up broken bricks as a garden border and using old wine bottles stuck in the ground neck-down to make glass pathways. And a sidebar shows how to get mossy patinated pots using beer or yoghurt.

There are clever DIY projects like the hip but practical “not your grandmother’s gardening apron.” And she includes templates and instructions for painting chalkboard-style labels on pots for easy IDing.

On the hipster lifestyle front, there’s a guide to growing a herbal tea garden of sippable flora such as lavendar, catnip, lemon balm and stevia. And there’s a chapter on “bath and beauty plants” for the girl who wants to make her own spa treats out of comfrey and aloe vera. Don’t miss the recipes for peppermint foot scrub and herbal hair rinse, either.” – TRALEE PEARCE

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

Subscribe to get weekly updates from Gayla