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Sun in the South can be ferocious. In summer, afternoon rays can fry gardens and sap every drop of moisture. Gardeners seeking advice for a scorched section of yard or searching for plants that won't fail to bloom in half-a-day's sunlight will find the right advice in Southern Sun: A Plant Selection Guide from Jo Kellum, native southerner and landscape expert.
Choosing plants wisely for southern sun can be tricky. Some plants thrive in morning light only to curl up and die when blazing western rays reach them. Kellum considers seasonality as well. Summer sunlight is by far hotter than winter sunshine. Some plants desire plenty of sun along with plenty of water-these are the ones gardeners find crispy brown upon return from vacation. Still, more sun-loving plants perish at the thought of too much water. Tags at garden centers certainly can't address all these issues. And because plants that can take heat but not humidity don't stand a chance in most southern gardens, recommendations from an expert familiar with that feeling of "swimming" through moisture-laden air abound in this book.
In Southern Sun, Kellum addresses all of these regional concerns and more. Two hundred of Kellum's own color photographs make choosing for plants a pleasure. Though there are plenty of colorful perennials and annuals included, the book tackles the whole yard. Recommendations for trees, shrubs, groundcovers, and vines are here, as well as bedding plants. Southern Sun is user-friendly for the beginner and thorough enough for the professional. It makes an ideal guide to plant selection for any southerner looking to beautify those difficult sunny spots in the yard.
For those seeking advice for selecting plants for shady areas, Kellum's companion book, Southern Shade: A Plant Selection Guide, will round out advice for every challenging spot in the yard.
Jo Kellum is a landscape architect, writer, and photographer based in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. She has authored regional editions of Landscaping 1-2-3 for Home Depot Books and gardening and landscaping titles in Ortho's All About series. Her work has appeared in Southern Living, Landscape Architecture Magazine, Country Gardens, Renovation Style, and other magazines.