Friday, October 5, 2012

Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens by Lauren Springer Ogden and Scott Ogden: A review


(Cross-posted from Gardening With Nature.)


All over the country, gardeners are facing the realities of restricted water availability. Water-use restrictions are now commonplace, not only in dry climate areas like the Southwest, but in the Northeast, the South and the West and Mid-West. It really is a nation-wide phenomenon, one that is likely to get worse as global warming continues unabated. Even in areas that do not yet have water restrictions, low-water plants are an important ingredient in planning a sustainable garden. What's a poor gardener to do?

Gardeners, after all, want their gardens to be beautiful and interesting and the common impression of a low-water garden is that it is a boring space with a limited plant selection. Lauren Springer Ogden and Scott Ogden have written a book that proves to us that this does not have to be the case. Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens: 200 Drought-Tolerant Choices for All Climates is a wonderfully practical and usable guide to what the authors consider to be the 200 best plants for low-water gardens. These are tough plants that are guaranteed to thrive under such dry conditions.

Each individual plant entry includes the common and botanical name for the plant, as well as information about the regions for which the plant is best adapted, growth and care information, notes on pests and diseases, and, of course, a picture of the plant. Moreover, the guide includes a wide variety of plants, from trees to succulents, perennials to bulbs, all selected for their wide adaptability and ornamental value. 

The Ogdens cover both humid and arid parts of zones 4 to 10 and offer choices for gardens from coast to coast. The guide also has information about companion plants and includes creative design ideas. It really is one of the most user-friendly guides that I have found. It is readily accessible to the novice gardener as well as the more experienced ones.

The writers are garden designers and horticulturists who have a wide range of experience in various climates, plants, and planting styles both in the United States and Europe. We are lucky that they have chosen to share that experience with us. I can recommend their book wholeheartedly for those gardeners who, like myself,  are genuinely interested in creating a sustainable garden.

(A copy of this book was provided to me at no cost by the publisher for the purposes of this review.)

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