Tried True & New

C.L. Fornari shares sage gardening advice in her new book

The surprising thing about C.L. Fornari’s garden is not the lushness of the plantings, the striking use of color or the continual bloom from season to season. It is the casualness of it all. Nonetheless, plants burst out of the earth with exuberance at Poison Ivy Acres in Sandwich, where Fornari lives with her husband, Dan, and their dog, Sparky. 

Catmint explodes in pools of blue. Apricot roses softly twine their way along a trellis. Lemon-lime verbascum stand up boldly like soloists in an orchestra, although they are merely volunteers who seeded themselves there for drama.  

Fornari is the maestro of this garden concert, and she turns a deaf ear to insubordination. The garden guru, writer, radio host, author and dynamic speaker is as casual in her own life as she is in her garden. And just as full of surprises. Her ninth gardening book, “Sand & Soil: Creating Beautiful Gardens on Cape Cod and the Islands,” will be in stores this spring. 

C.L. Fornari fills her home garden with a variety of Cape Cod-friendly plantings. In her new book, “Sand & Soil,” Fornari shares many plant species you can incorporate into your own Cape or Islands garden.

She wrote her first gardening guide in 1996 when she couldn’t find any books about gardening on Cape Cod. Others were soon to follow. But after decades of gardening in the Cape’s special conditions, working at the retail nursery Country Garden in Hyannis, and hosting a call-in garden radio show, her thoughts have changed. She has a deeper understanding about gardening and what people care about and need to know. Her latest book is similar to her first but updated with new observations, plants, pests, and practical information. Plus, it is illustrated with her gorgeous photographs.