100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants: For American Gardens in Temperate Zones


As we see exotic plants becoming "invasive exotics," gardeners are seeking native plants for their gardens. Plants that withstand regional conditions and weather patterns deliver a hardier garden and require less maintenance.

A pioneering book when first published in 1999, this revised edition is a classic reference that meets the requirements of a changing, tougher landscape. Lorraine Johnson provides a fail-safe guide to beautiful ...

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As we see exotic plants becoming "invasive exotics," gardeners are seeking native plants for their gardens. Plants that withstand regional conditions and weather patterns deliver a hardier garden and require less maintenance.

A pioneering book when first published in 1999, this revised edition is a classic reference that meets the requirements of a changing, tougher landscape. Lorraine Johnson provides a fail-safe guide to beautiful low-maintenance plants native to many regions of the United States. The features include:

  • Handy profiles of each native plant
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Creative suggestions for plant pairings
  • Propagation and cultivation tips
  • Index of plants by botanical name
  • Ethical guidelines for gardeners
  • Updated list of sources.

Especially useful are the quick-reference charts that show plants grouped by region, habitat and conditions, for example plants that tolerate dry soil in shade and plants that attract butterflies. A color photograph of each plant makes it easy to compare options and choose the right plant.

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Editorial Reviews

Native Garden Clubs
In this revised edition, Johnson has updated the directory of nurseries that carry the popular plants, making it easier for gardeners to find their selections.
Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune - Mary Jane Smetanka
I've slogged through enough horticultural dogs to know that good gardeners are not always entertaining writers. So it's a delight to find great information as well as breezy prose and humor in Lorraine Johnson's 100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants. Pithy, single-page plant descriptions are accompanied by beautiful pictures that don't fool a gardener into thinking a plant will be 10 times bigger or more glamourous-looking that it is.
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
This is a pleasure to read. It's a simple-format reference text intended to be a quick guide, either in the field as a planning tool or for a quick flip-through at the garden store. Johnson has a breezy style that is a pleasant contrast to the usual stuffy garden guide. As we read through the entries, we can tell that she loves plants, not just for their beauty and interest, but for how they incite our curiosity, get us out of our own heads for a while and bring the complexities of nature under our nose.... Large, glossy pages show off the full-color photos of the plants to their best advantage.
Washington Gardener, Vol. 5 No. 3 - Tom Torrance
[This] is a very nice quick-reference for choosing and cultivating native plants. I highly recommend it as a guide for gardeners looking for tried-and-true perennials that will reduce the amount of maintenance your garden needs.
[Review for previous edition:] Replete with useful ideas and information.
Garden Ideas and Outdoor Living
[Review for previous edition:] Easy. Easy. Easy. If that's your gardening mantra, this books for you ... Gardeners who have problem sites will love the excellent charts at the back of the book.
Green Bay Press-Gazette
[Review for previous edition:] With her characteristic wit and down-to-earth perspective, Lorraine Johnson has written a failsafe guide to 100 beautiful and low maintenance native plants in the northern regions of the United States.
Hamilton Spectator - Robert Howard
[Review for previous edition:] Johnson is one of Canada's foremost writers on the sometimes complicated subject [of native plants].
Wilmington News Journal - Nancy Wingate
[Review of previous edition:] This book is an excellent resource ... but what really makes the book useful is the charts in the back that show groups of plants suited for various grown conditions. The plant photos are reprinted on these pages, so you can compare all of the options to each other on the same page.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554074532
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 2/6/2009
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Lorraine Johnson is the author of several gardening books, including Grow Wild and Tending the Earth. She also lectures widely and teaches at York University, Canada.

Andrew Leyerle's photographs have appeared in many books and magazines.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword to the New Edition
List of Entries
100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants
Ethical Gardener's Guidelines
Plants for Specific Conditions: Quick-Reference Charts
Native Plant Nurseries
Index of Plants by Botanical Name

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Foreword to the New Edition

In the years since the first edition of this book was published, interest in native plants has grown exponentially. When I give talks and slide shows, it seems that almost everyone in the audience has at least some native plants in their gardens. Cruising the aisles at nurseries, I notice that many now have sections devoted to native plants. And every year, the number of non-profit organizations that include native plant education as part of their mandate increases.

I think that the roots of this interest can be found in the yearning many of us feel for a better, more environmentally sane world. We might feel relatively powerless in the face of global environmental problems, but in the purview of our gardens — the tiny bits of land we steward — we can make a positive difference, creating small places of beauty and ecosystem health. While we no doubt need more powerful tools to effect change on a large scale (climate change and endangered species and spaces come to mind), I'm convinced that a simple trowel is a grand place to start the necessary (and, in moments of hope, I think inevitable) transformation of our culture from nature dominance to nature partnership. Dig in — the roots of change need to be anchored deep ...

Much of the species information in this edition remains the same as in the first edition, as does the section on propagation. The nursery listings have been changed and updated. There are a number of references in the introduction to my own backyard garden. I have not changed this text, but I have moved since I wrote this book. My new, relatively small, downtown garden (all lawn when we first moved in a couple of years ago) offers endless opportunities for experimentation — thirty new trees and counting, a small meadow that will get shadier with each year, eventually turning (returning, really) to woodland, a shrub garden out front for the birds, a fern and sedge garden for my partner, and a profound lesson in time and transformation for me ...

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