Easy Care Native Plants: A Guide to Selecting and Using Beautiful American Flowers, Shrubs, and Trees in Gardens and Landscapes

Overview

North America's magnificent plant life has a peculiar history in that it is generally regarded as weedy material in its native meadows and woodlands and viewed as a horticultural treasure trove abroad. In Easy Care Native Plants, Patricia A. Taylor seeks to change this situation by emphasizing the elegant beauty, rather than the common naturalness, of American flora and by urging gardeners to capture the exquisite essence of its blossoms and foliage in artistic compositions.

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Overview

North America's magnificent plant life has a peculiar history in that it is generally regarded as weedy material in its native meadows and woodlands and viewed as a horticultural treasure trove abroad. In Easy Care Native Plants, Patricia A. Taylor seeks to change this situation by emphasizing the elegant beauty, rather than the common naturalness, of American flora and by urging gardeners to capture the exquisite essence of its blossoms and foliage in artistic compositions.

The book is divided into three sections, each filled with color photographs and containing special lists of plant recommendations from horticultural experits in the United States, Canada, and Europe. These suggestions include natives for city patios and decks, shrubs for winter interest, colorful flowers for drought situations, and prairie plants for a formal front yard display.

The first section reviews the history and current use of native American plants and includes a brief primer on garden design. The second presents profiles of eighteen public and private gardens in Canada and the United States and highlights the crucial role of horticultural organizations and garden clubs in spreading the good news about native flora.

The last section is devoted to detailed descriptions of over 500 plants, chosen not only for their handsone appearance but also for their ability to flourish without the use of pesticides or fertilizers. With them, gardeners everywhere will have yearlong beauty requiring minimal maintenance.

While many of the plants cited in the book are little known, all are commercially propagated and available. The Appendix lists sources for each plant category and describes a select number of mail-order firms, including ordering information.

Easy Care Native Plants has been written and designed to be a usable, definitive resource for the full specturm of those who love and appreciate beautiful plants, from weekend gardeners to landscape designers and architects.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This congenial guide from the author of The Weekender's Gardening Manual frames a persuasive argument for gardening with low-maintenance native plant material. For centuries, Taylor points out, domestic gardeners have bypassed a wealth of local beauties in favor of high-maintenance prima donna imports. Ironically, the very gardeners they sought to emulate-namely, the British-have long prized many of these neglected American garden gems. Taylor's briskly informative historical background section also charts the growing appreciation of what she calls "our floral heritage" (spurred on by such political champions as Lady Bird Johnson and President Clinton, who required, in a 1994 executive memorandum, that regional plants be used in all federally funded landscaping projects). A section on public and private gardens ranging across the country's gardening zones and climates offers a guided tour, with observations from gardeners specializing in native horticulture and lists of their "top dozen favorites." The final section, "The Plants," delivers detailed descriptions of recommended native trees, shrubs, groundcovers, perennials, etc., and is followed by a helpful appendix of suggested nursery sources. Thoroughly researched and written with humor and verve, Taylor's book is both inspiring and practical and should help win converts to the growing native plant movement. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Taylor (The Weekender's Gardening Manual, Holt, 1995) makes a persuasive argument for gardening with native American plants. The hundreds of plants profiled in chapters on trees, shrubs, groundcovers, climbers, bulbs, annuals, ferns, grasses, and perennials range from the familiar (butterfly weed, tulip tree) to the exotic (balloon vine, fringe cups). All were recommended as "best" by horticulturalists and amateur gardeners, many of whose gardens are described in a section on public and private gardens. Other chapters discuss design, an excellent historical overview of the development of native plants for American gardens, and the use of natives today (for example, in highway beautification). Carole Ottesen's The Native Plant Primer (Crown, 1995) covers many of the same plants but at $50 may be too pricey for some libraries. Taylor's book is highly recommended as a substitute or companion to Ottesen's in both public and academic libraries.-Beth Clewis Crim, Prince William P.L., Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805038613
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/15/1996
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 7.64 (w) x 9.66 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia A. Taylor is also the author of The Weekender's Gardening Manual, Easy Care Perennials, and Easy Care Shade Flowers and has written for many publications, including the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Home, Flower and Garden, and Fine Gardening. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Native Plants at Home and Abroad: A Brief Historical Review 3
Ch. 2 Native Plants Today: A Primer on their Controversies and Charms 19
Ch. 3 Native Plant Gardens: A Professional and a Novice Approach to Design 37
Ch. 4 Public Gardens 57
Ch. 5 Private Gardens 57
Ch. 6 Trees and Conifers 113
Ch. 7 Shrubs 139
Ch. 8 Groundcovers and Wall Climbers 166
Ch. 9 Bulbs, Corms, and Tubers 189
Ch. 10 Annuals and Biennials 203
Ch. 11 Ferns and Grasses 217
Ch. 12 Perennials 231
Appendix 283
Plant Index 311
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