CORVALLIS - Do you enjoy visiting nice gardens? Then you will enjoy the new book, "Green Afternoons: Oregon Gardens to Visit," published recently by Oregon State University Press.

Written by Amy Houchen, the 256-page book is an informative and easy-to-use guide to more than six dozen Oregon and southwestern Washington gardens. It introduces readers to the state's best known gardens as well as some off-the- beaten-path gardens, including a notable freeway rest area and a poisonous plant garden.

Many of the gardens featured by the author have never before been described in guidebooks.

"The book uses the term garden broadly to include not only traditional gardens but also plantings of interest in such places as parks, college campuses, farms and community gardens," said Houchen. "Some very small gardens were included because they show how to use a small space well."

The book is intended for people who want to know where to find gardens to visit without having a special invitation from the owner, she added.

Garden listings include: directions on how to get to each garden, seasons of interest, information on the garden's origin and detailed descriptions of what to see. The book is indexed by plant name and topic. Also included is information on holding weddings and listings of special events.

A "Gardens in the Works" chapter describes several gardens-to-be, including The Oregon Garden in Silverton and the Classical Chinese Garden in Portland.

Houchen writes on gardens and gardening from her home in Portland. Lee Hascall, a Portland artist, illustrated the book with pen and ink sketches.

"Green Afternoons" (OSU Press; May 1998, 256 pages, ISBN 0-87071-429-5; paperback $17.95) is available from bookstores and libraries or directly from OSU Press at 541-737-3166.

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Tom Booth, 503-282-9801