Dryland Gardening: Plants that Survive and Thrive in Tough Conditions

Overview

An essential reference to gardening in hot and cold dry climates.

Gardening where summers are hot and prone to periods of drought, or where winters are snowy one week and freezing rain the next, is best managed by xeriscaping — dryland gardening techniques that favor not only water conservation but also the conservation of time, energy and other resources.

Xeriscaping enthusiasts exist throughout North America...

See more details below
Paperback
$22.67
BN.com price
(Save 9%)$24.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (30) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $8.00   
  • Used (19) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

An essential reference to gardening in hot and cold dry climates.

Gardening where summers are hot and prone to periods of drought, or where winters are snowy one week and freezing rain the next, is best managed by xeriscaping — dryland gardening techniques that favor not only water conservation but also the conservation of time, energy and other resources.

Xeriscaping enthusiasts exist throughout North America wherever the climate calls for dryland gardening, from the Great Plains prairies to the California desert.

Dryland Gardening explains time-tested strategies:

  • Coping with limited access to water
  • Dealing with invasive plants
  • Dealing with trees under stress
  • Nurturing groundcovers and grasses
  • Starting bulbs, perennials and vines
  • Growing vegetables, herbs and annuals.

This book includes both practical advice for dry-climate gardeners as well as an extensive planting list for grasses and groundcovers, bulbs, perennials and vines, vegetables and annuals, herbs, roses and shrubs.

Each plant entry provides:

  • Common and botanical names
  • Detailed descriptions
  • Planting instructions, care and maintenance.

Dryland Gardening celebrates a resilient garden with a beauty that requires fewer resources and less time.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Fifty-Five Plus - Irene Morton
This book is an excellent source of information on water conservation, low-maintenance and easy-care plants.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Jan Riggenbach
In <this> worthwhile book, author Jennifer Bennett points to many ... weatherproof plants that are a good choice for standing up to increasingly erratic weather.
Landscape Architecture
Inspiring images to encourage landscape architects and lay gardeners to adopt plant palettes that minimize the need for a resource we can no longer take for granted.
I Can Garden.com
Dryland Gardening celebrates a resilient garden with a beauty that requires fewer resources and less time.
Horticulture, Gardening At Its Best - Jodi Torpey
It's easy to trust Jennifer Bennett's advice. She has experience gardening under difficult circumstances and gladly shares the secrets of her success.
Toronto Star - Kathy Renwald
Packages up a lot of comforting advice for dusty gardeners. Rather than fight the conditions, Bennett encourages the best practice, which is choosing the right plant for the right place.
Acreage Life - Sheila Robertson
A wealth of information gleaned by the author as she coped with challenging conditions... friendly, lucid and authoriative.
National Garden Clubs New Book Reviews - Joanne S. Carpender
Find the answers to low-water gardening in Dryland Gardening yet have beautiful easy-care gardens... [Jennifer Bennett] has first hand experience with the many challenges of gardening with tough winds, droughts and temperature conditions.
Seattle Times - Valerie Easton
Just in time comes this plant-centered book that focuses on creating beautiful, lush gardens in less-than-ideal conditions.
Ottawa Citizen - Mike Gillespie
For gardeners in need of industrial-strength help, thanks either to their arid plots or irrational climate.
American Gardener - Viveka Neveln
Whether you garden in a dry region or just have a periodically dry corner of the yard, [this book] has plenty to offer.
Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal - Linda Turk
Create beautiful landscapes by following simple tips, techniques and choosing the proper plants.
Booklist - Carol Haggas
Provides thoughtful instruction on various water-conservation topics... augmented by brilliant color photographs... a timely addition to the garden-resource bookshelf.
Harrisburg Patriot-News - George Weigel
How to make the moist of moisture, including mulching, planting strategic windbreaks and use hydrogels in the soil.
Science News
Hot, dry summers don't necessarily rule out having a lush, beautiful garden. With this helpful guide, gardeners can learn techniques for growing plants under harsh conditions.
Denver Post
Practical advice and colorful portraits of hundreds of plants... a wonderful guide to bring along when shopping.
HortIdeas
Hundreds of "tough" plants that can remain attractive even when water supplies are low... The range of plants is quite broad, including species that are suited to North American climate zones ranging from very warm to quite cold.
St Louis Post-Dispatch - Becky Homan
Lovely guide... if the dry weather here keeps up, hers is a guide to read.
Montreal Gazette - Stuart Robertson
An excellent book for advice.
Good Times - Liz Grogan
Excellent advice on how to choose and plant drought-tolerant plants, from herbs and perennials to shrubs and grasses.
San Gabriel Valley Tribune - Pam Waterman
Water saving tips throughout the text and then groups suitable plants... a nice format with text arranged in easy-to-read columns.
Canadian Gardening
A timely tome for these challenging times.
Harrowsmith's Truly Canadian Almanac 2008
A useful and à propos guide for gardeners facing up to climate change.
The Rural Voice (Blyth ON) - Rhea Hamilton-Seeger
[This book] is a must have. Although it's 10 years since it was published by Firefly, it is still relevant today in our increasingly droughty summers. It covers all the basics of water conservation and survival techniques and then launches into a wide variety of plans that can be encouraged in this environment.
Library Journal
Increasingly common watering restrictions augur the necessity of growing drought-tolerant plants. Garden writer and editor Bennett (Lilacs for the Garden) shows how, with careful plant selection, gardeners can create beautiful, diverse, low-maintenance gardens using little water. She begins by sharing ways to conserve water, use rainwater, build watering systems, and choose and care for plants; suggestions for hundreds of drought-tolerant plants-most of which grow in USDA hardiness zones 4-7-follow. While these young plants need watering when first transplanted, and their seeds require water to germinate, once mature they are generally drought-resistant. Bennett divides her coverage of these hardy plants into six sections: herbs, grasses and ground covers, bulbs, perennials and vines, annuals, and shrubs; each section is arranged by scientific name. Entries include common name, hardiness zones, a general description, cultural information, and suggested cultivars with descriptions. Lovely color photographs illustrate the text, though not every genus is pictured. Easy to read, informative, and timely, this book is recommended for public and horticultural libraries in zones 4-7.-Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554070312
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/5/2005
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 962,489
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.87 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Bennett lives in Sydenham, Ontario and is the author of several books, including Lilacs for the Garden, and writes for gardening magazines.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    • Gardening in a New Climate
    • Drought
    • Cacti and Succulents
  2. The New Dryland Garden
    • Using Rainwater
    • Measuring Water
    • Watering Priorites
    • Household Water Conseration
    • Watering System
    • Heatproofing the Gardener
    • Invasive Plants
    • Trees Under Stress
  3. The Pleasure Priority
    • Beginning Strategies
    • Using Rocks
    • Containers
  4. Herbs
    • Plant List
  5. Grasses and Ground Covers
    • Existing Lawns
    • New Lawns
    • Broadleaf Ground covers
    • Plant List
    • Annual Ornamental Grasses
    • Ground Covers for Dry Shade
    • Wildflower Meadows
  6. Bulbs
    • Hardy Bulbs
    • Plant List
  7. Perennials and Vines
    • Plant List
    • Vines
    • Plant List
  8. Annual Flowers
    • Plant List
  9. Shrubs
    • Plant List

    Climate Zone Map

    Sources
    Index


Read More Show Less

Preface

Introduction

The statistics are sobering, the conclusions inescapable. During the last century, the average surface temperature of our world rose about 1 degree, whether measured Fahrenheit or Celsius. During the same period, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — largely the product of industry and the automobile, worsened by deforestation — rose about 25 percent. This is the gas that produces the "greenhouse effect" which holds the sun's heat within the atmosphere. In an article in the British magazine New Statesman, Mark Lynas estimated that in England global warming "is equivalent to your garden moving south by 20 meters (65 feet) every day."

An overall rise in global temperature doesn't necessarily mean that your own garden will be 1 degree warmer this summer than it was last summer, or even than it was 5 or 10 years ago. What it means is that the weather will be less predictable. In
2003, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that a record number of weather extremes worldwide show that climate change is under way. In June 2003, in Geneva, where the WMO is based, Genevans had the hottest June they've had for at least the past 250 years. Spring of 1999 in the northeastern United States was the driest spring since weather records began. Snowdrifts are deeper, winds are stronger, floods more devastating, droughts more severe. Tornadoes are more frequent — a record 562 tornadoes in the United States in May 2003, which beat the previous record by 163. The WMO stated, "New record extreme events occur every year somewhere in the globe, but in recent years, the number of such extremes has been increasing."

Meanwhile, freshwater supplies are in crisis, not so much because of the changing climate as because of our increasing demands. Long-standing water reservoirs are shrinking. Where the Colorado River enters the Gulf of
California, it is now a trickle instead of the wide river it used to be. The Ogallala aquifer below the Great Plains is being utilized far faster than it can be replenished. So is the aquifer under Mexico City, causing buildings to sink. While the average American uses 100 gallons of water a day, more than a billion people worldwide do not have clean drinking water at all.

Gardening in a New Climate

It might seem that your backyard garden doesn't have much to do with such enormous changes, but there are adjustments you can make in attitude and practice which will make your garden more weatherproof and will also help conserve energy and water, whether you garden in a desert or your dry spell lasts only a week. We can emulate the farmers in dry areas who are turning to drip or trickle irrigation, which uses one-third to two-thirds less water than sprinkler systems, while increasing yields. Demonstration gardens utilizing low-water techniques are springing up across the continent in places like Montecito, California; Tempe, Arizona; Dallas, Texas; Greene County, Missouri; Stone Ridge, New York; Victoria, British Columbia; Wallingford, Connecticut; and Wichita, Kansas.

Drought

A garden designed to withstand drought can withstand other climatic extremes as well. What is drought? What is dryland gardening? David Phillips writes in The Climates of Canada (1990), "There are no universally accepted definitions of drought. Any extended dry weather that is worse than expected and that leads to measurable losses can correctly be called a drought." So when the corn doesn't grow past knee-high because there's been no rain for six weeks, that counts as drought, even though the spring weather was wet. In fact, climate change in North America has meant a slight rise in precipitation, but it tends to be concentrated in fall and winter. If it comes as a deluge in
October, it's not much help in July. And because days are longer and hotter in July and August, the soil dries out roughly twice as fast as it does in spring. Because dryland gardens depend upon well-drained soil, they are better able to withstand periodic heavy rains than gardens with heavy soil.

On the other hand, there are desert or semidesert places where the year's rainfall is measured in fractions of inches or millimeters, and scarce water is a fact of life. Mediterranean climates such as California and South Africa and parts of South America and Australia (zones 8-10) generally have moist winters and hot, dry summers. Gardeners everywhere are looking to the plants native to these places (and to dry slopes and meadows worldwide) to find what will grow for them when the rains fail. The term xeriscaping — from the Greek word for dry — was coined in the Arizona desert, where water used for landscaping was reduced by half when gardeners and landscapers chose xeric — drought-tolerant — plants and used water-conserving methods.

This book will outline the methods and some of the plants that have been found most successful in gardens — or even parts of gardens — where the soil is dry for days, weeks or months at a time. It concentrates on zones 4 through 7, although some of the listed plants will grow in places warmer or colder than that.

Using the techniques in this book and growing these plants, you will not only have a garden better able to survive extreme weather but a garden that conserves water and is easier to mind and manage.

Cacti and Succulents

Whether in the wild or in the garden, cacti and succulents are the plants best adapted to drought and least tolerant of wet ground.

Cacti are native to the Earth's western hemisphere, so they were unknown in Europe and Asia before Europeans arrived in America and took some of them back to Europe. There, these odd plants were given the Greek name kaktos, meaning cardoon or thistle. In his Herbal of 1597, John Gerard described "Thistle of Peru": "It doth much resemble a fig in shape and bignesse, but so full of sharpe and venomous prickles, that whosoever had one of them in his throat, doubtlesse it would send him packing either to heaven or to hell."

Cacti are supremely adapted to drought. The stem — the body of the cactus — is enlarged to hold water. It shrinks and withers after prolonged dry periods or in overly wet ground but stretches out full, like a balloon, when the plant is again content. Flowering happens soon after the rainy season. The leaves are mere thorns or hairs that do not lose precious water and, at the same time, help shade and protect the stem. The skin is leathery or waxy, the sap thick or milky. The root system is usually fibrous and shallow to take advantage of rainfall over as wide an area as possible. All cacti have unique structures called aureoles on their stems and branches. The aureole has two buds: the lower usually makes spines; the upper produces new branches or flowers.

There are a few species, especially of the genus Opuntia (page 119) that are hardy to temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees F (-40 degC). These are among the favorite cacti for gardens everywhere, but for desert or semidesert gardens, there are hundreds of species and cultivars that can create a beautiful and varied landscape.

Succulents — plants with fleshy stems and leaves, not spines — are more adaptable in the garden than cacti, but they also do best where the soil is mostly dry.

In desert gardens and arid rock gardens, cacti and succulents dominate. In wetter places, succulents such as sedum can be used quite freely in well-drained soil, but cacti are perhaps best treated as conversation pieces.
Keep them away from passing hands and feet and from competition from grasses or plants that might shade them. One of the best ways to show off cacti is in a small area of sand or gritty soil in a rock garden or traditional stone trough or in a large container with drainage holes. Pots should be at least 2 feet (60 cm) wide to accommodate the plants. Purchase special cactus mix, which is available in garden stores, or mix your own soil with 20 to 50 percent sand. Be sure to keep the pot

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Introduction

The statistics are sobering, the conclusions inescapable. During the last century, the average surface temperature of our world rose about 1 degree, whether measured Fahrenheit or Celsius. During the same period, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere -- largely the product of industry and the automobile, worsened by deforestation -- rose about 25 percent. This is the gas that produces the "greenhouse effect" which holds the sun's heat within the atmosphere. In an article in the British magazine New Statesman, Mark Lynas estimated that in England global warming "is equivalent to your garden moving south by 20 meters (65 feet) every day."

An overall rise in global temperature doesn't necessarily mean that your own garden will be 1 degree warmer this summer than it was last summer, or even than it was 5 or 10 years ago. What it means is that the weather will be less predictable. In 2003, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that a record number of weather extremes worldwide show that climate change is under way. In June 2003, in Geneva, where the WMO is based, Genevans had the hottest June they've had for at least the past 250 years. Spring of 1999 in the northeastern United States was the driest spring since weather records began. Snowdrifts are deeper, winds are stronger, floods more devastating, droughts more severe. Tornadoes are more frequent -- a record 562 tornadoes in the United States in May 2003, which beat the previous record by 163. The WMO stated, "New record extreme events occur every year somewhere in the globe, but in recent years, the number of such extremes has been increasing."

Meanwhile, freshwatersupplies are in crisis, not so much because of the changing climate as because of our increasing demands. Long-standing water reservoirs are shrinking. Where the Colorado River enters the Gulf of California, it is now a trickle instead of the wide river it used to be. The Ogallala aquifer below the Great Plains is being utilized far faster than it can be replenished. So is the aquifer under Mexico City, causing buildings to sink. While the average American uses 100 gallons of water a day, more than a billion people worldwide do not have clean drinking water at all.

Gardening in a New Climate

It might seem that your backyard garden doesn't have much to do with such enormous changes, but there are adjustments you can make in attitude and practice which will make your garden more weatherproof and will also help conserve energy and water, whether you garden in a desert or your dry spell lasts only a week. We can emulate the farmers in dry areas who are turning to drip or trickle irrigation, which uses one-third to two-thirds less water than sprinkler systems, while increasing yields. Demonstration gardens utilizing low-water techniques are springing up across the continent in places like Montecito, California; Tempe, Arizona; Dallas, Texas; Greene County, Missouri; Stone Ridge, New York; Victoria, British Columbia; Wallingford, Connecticut; and Wichita, Kansas.

Drought

A garden designed to withstand drought can withstand other climatic extremes as well. What is drought? What is dryland gardening? David Phillips writes in The Climates of Canada (1990), "There are no universally accepted definitions of drought. Any extended dry weather that is worse than expected and that leads to measurable losses can correctly be called a drought." So when the corn doesn't grow past knee-high because there's been no rain for six weeks, that counts as drought, even though the spring weather was wet. In fact, climate change in North America has meant a slight rise in precipitation, but it tends to be concentrated in fall and winter. If it comes as a deluge in October, it's not much help in July. And because days are longer and hotter in July and August, the soil dries out roughly twice as fast as it does in spring. Because dryland gardens depend upon well-drained soil, they are better able to withstand periodic heavy rains than gardens with heavy soil.

On the other hand, there are desert or semidesert places where the year's rainfall is measured in fractions of inches or millimeters, and scarce water is a fact of life. Mediterranean climates such as California and South Africa and parts of South America and Australia (zones 8-10) generally have moist winters and hot, dry summers. Gardeners everywhere are looking to the plants native to these places (and to dry slopes and meadows worldwide) to find what will grow for them when the rains fail. The term xeriscaping -- from the Greek word for dry -- was coined in the Arizona desert, where water used for landscaping was reduced by half when gardeners and landscapers chose xeric -- drought-tolerant -- plants and used water-conserving methods.

This book will outline the methods and some of the plants that have been found most successful in gardens -- or even parts of gardens -- where the soil is dry for days, weeks or months at a time. It concentrates on zones 4 through 7, although some of the listed plants will grow in places warmer or colder than that.

Using the techniques in this book and growing these plants, you will not only have a garden better able to survive extreme weather but a garden that conserves water and is easier to mind and manage.

Cacti and Succulents

Whether in the wild or in the garden, cacti and succulents are the plants best adapted to drought and least tolerant of wet ground.

Cacti are native to the Earth's western hemisphere, so they were unknown in Europe and Asia before Europeans arrived in America and took some of them back to Europe. There, these odd plants were given the Greek name kaktos, meaning cardoon or thistle. In his Herbal of 1597, John Gerard described "Thistle of Peru": "It doth much resemble a fig in shape and bignesse, but so full of sharpe and venomous prickles, that whosoever had one of them in his throat, doubtlesse it would send him packing either to heaven or to hell."

Cacti are supremely adapted to drought. The stem -- the body of the cactus -- is enlarged to hold water. It shrinks and withers after prolonged dry periods or in overly wet ground but stretches out full, like a balloon, when the plant is again content. Flowering happens soon after the rainy season. The leaves are mere thorns or hairs that do not lose precious water and, at the same time, help shade and protect the stem. The skin is leathery or waxy, the sap thick or milky. The root system is usually fibrous and shallow to take advantage of rainfall over as wide an area as possible. All cacti have unique structures called aureoles on their stems and branches. The aureole has two buds: the lower usually makes spines; the upper produces new branches or flowers.

There are a few species, especially of the genus Opuntia (page 119) that are hardy to temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees F (-40 degC). These are among the favorite cacti for gardens everywhere, but for desert or semidesert gardens, there are hundreds of species and cultivars that can create a beautiful and varied landscape.

Succulents -- plants with fleshy stems and leaves, not spines -- are more adaptable in the garden than cacti, but they also do best where the soil is mostly dry.

In desert gardens and arid rock gardens, cacti and succulents dominate. In wetter places, succulents such as sedum can be used quite freely in well-drained soil, but cacti are perhaps best treated as conversation pieces. Keep them away from passing hands and feet and from competition from grasses or plants that might shade them. One of the best ways to show off cacti is in a small area of sand or gritty soil in a rock garden or traditional stone trough or in a large container with drainage holes. Pots should be at least 2 feet (60 cm) wide to accommodate the plants. Purchase special cactus mix, which is available in garden stores, or mix your own soil with 20 to 50 percent sand. Be sure to keep the pot weeded, but otherwise, do nothing; cacti need little or no fertilizer -- at most, a small amount once in spring. A mulch of gravel or stone chips will help reflect heat and light onto the plants.

Cacti and succulents grown as houseplants can move outdoors for the summer, but like any other plant, they need hardening off between moves indoors and out. Put them in shade at first, and, of course, bring them back indoors if frost threatens. Prolonged temperatures of 41 degrees F (5 degC) or colder can damage many species.

Given the few things they require, cacti and succulents are among the easiest and most interesting plants in a low-water, low-maintenance garden.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)