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Plant Partners – 4.8 stars


This book makes accessible the science of companion planting and fostering biodiversity in the backyard garden.

“Companion planting has a long history of use by gardeners, but the explanation of why it works has been filled with folklore and conjecture. Plant Partners delivers a research-based rationale for this ever-popular growing technique, offering gardeners dozens of ways they can use scientifically tested plant partnerships to benefit the garden as a whole.” — from the author’s website

The RCMG Book Club read and discussed Plant Partners: Science-Based Companion Strategies for the Vegetable Garden by Jessica Walliser for the March discussion (conducted in April). Master Gardener volunteers read the book over the winter and shared their thoughts in small group discussion.

Readers’ Summary

Master Gardeners appreciated the many suggestions for pairing plants with each other for a wide range of purposes, from partnerships for nitrogen transfer to acting as living mulches to fostering biological control and numerous other interesting partnerships that piqued curiosity about combinations to try in our garden spaces. The group noted that the book’s guidance for companion planting followed the I.P.M. (integrated pest management) techniques we use as Master Gardeners. The group also noted that the science about plant partnerships continues to evolve, so the information we read in this book might be the foundation for continued research and expansion of the concepts.

Many Master Gardeners noted they had begun recording partnerships they hope to try and then decided to purchase the book!

Reader Poll

  1. Enjoyable—4.6 out of 5 stars

  2. Educational— 4.9 out of 5 stars

  3. Recommended—4.9 out of 5 stars

Reader Comments

What the readers said about this book:

  • I made lists of companions to plant as I read the book - very helpful.

  • This book makes accessible the science of companion planting and fostering biodiversity in the backyard garden.

  • Easy to understand and implement. Follow one chapter or several - whatever is relevant for you!

  • I love all of the examples that the author gives! Even if I can't use them exactly as written, there is good flexibility to mix-and-match.

  • I love to see the science-backed evidence of specific companion planting approaches. Definitely recommend!

  • I appreciated the author's many partner planting ideas and explanations of why the plants support each other. The photographs that accompanied each companion planting combination helped visualize how it worked for her. This is a book to own!

  • I found the book to be a great introduction to the concept of cooperative growing.

  • This book has so many applicable options for home gardeners to try and is backed by scientific research.

  • Truly a gem of a book for everyone from beginner to pro. It reminds you that it comes down to planting biodiversity to let nature thrive.

  • Easy to read with useful information. I will be buying a copy for my home library.

  • Great information, although many things will not be used by the average gardener. You will surely find something in this book that will be useful, though!

Next Book Club Discussion – May 2024

The May Book of the Month is Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design by Benjamin Vogt.

"Landscaping with native plants has encouraged Midwesterners to embark on a profound scientific, ecological, and emotional partnership with nature. Benjamin Vogt shares his years of expertise with prairie plants in a full-color guide aimed at gardeners, homeowners, and landscape designers. Step-by-step blueprints point readers to plant groupings that not only attract pollinators and please the eye but minimize maintenance and ensure years of healthy growth."


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