California Gardener's Guide Volume IIby Nan Sterman
Gardening is now the favorite leisure pastime in America. Homeowners are realizing the health benefits derived from gardening and the increase in their home's property value. This book contains easy-to-use advice on the top landscape plant choices. It also recommends specific varieties, and provides advice on how to plant, how to grow and how to care for the best
Gardening is now the favorite leisure pastime in America. Homeowners are realizing the health benefits derived from gardening and the increase in their home's property value. This book contains easy-to-use advice on the top landscape plant choices. It also recommends specific varieties, and provides advice on how to plant, how to grow and how to care for the best plants.
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We all know that the Sunset Western Garden Book is 'the bible' when it comes to horticulture on the Left Coast. But after reading Sterman's fabulous book, it was plain to see what was missing from the other tome. Nan takes us through the rationale for what makes a California garden such a rewarding and unique setting. As great as her encyclopedic listing of plants is, an equally valuable part of the book is the first 27 pages that help us understand the climate, soil, resources, and the design process. This introduction is worth the price of the entire book and is a must read. Her approach to sustainable practices will resonate with readers, and creates an easy to understand framework for how we can have a beautiful garden while remaining good stewards of the environment. Though there are only 186 plants featured 'far less than Sunset presents', they represent a good cross section of the many categories of plants that play a role in any garden. And the plants are conveniently grouped by category of use. The information offered for each plant is thorough, and unlike Sunset, gives the same essential information for each plant. By breaking each plant description into four mini-essays, we learn: 'When Where, and How to Plant' 'about soil type, sun requirements, etc' 'Growing Tips' that help us get the plant off to a good start 'Companion Planting and Design' helping the reader to imagine how the plant fits in with an overall composition and 'Try These' which introduces us to other cultivars and varieties of the species plants. The photograph on each page is clear, though two images 'one long shot for overall character and another for flower detail' would be even more helpful. Lastly, the array of cartooned icons helps the reader quickly understand opportunities and constraints, like water and solar requirements, habitat value, adaptation to various micro-climates, etc. I have taught landscape design to average homeowners for nearly 20 years and always recommended the Sunset W. G. Book as a necessary reference. Now there's one more book my students will be needing.