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50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants Paperback – January 7, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


“Gardeners who want the wow without the work will find plenty of ideas in Tracy DiSabato-Aust’s new book, 50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants.”

(Elaine Diaz Akron Beacon Journal)

“This colorful guide gets right to the point, promoting the stars of the garden with a full-page close-up, a few smaller images, plus a fact and bio sheet highlighting why each deserves center stage in your garden.”

(Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

"DiSabato-Aust’s experience with and passion for plants infuses every aspect of the book, from its engaging style to her discipline in keeping it short but thorough."

(Marion Star)

"It is sure to find a place on the shelf and in the heart of every gardener."
(Caledonian Record)

"This is a must-have because it will tell you when and how to prune your perennials for better vigor―and how to get them to bloom more than once a season where possible."
(American Gardener)

"For those gardeners who love plants but lack the time to spend hours in the garden, this is an excellent book."
(Idaho Farm Bureau Quarterly)

"DiSabato-Aust is an approachable garden writer. She knows we all love to garden but that we have lots of demands on our time and need astute guidance, which she provides in this fantastic book."
(Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas)

"This is a great book for novice gardeners or homeowners who wish to beautify their home with care-free plants."

About the Author

Tracy DiSabato-Aust, an award-winning designer and a nationally recognized horticultural author, professional speaker, and consultant, has been in the landscape industry since 1978, working, studying, and teaching at gardens in Belgium, England, Canada, and the U.S. She is the owner of Horticultural Classics and Consultations―a garden design company. DiSabato-Aust has contributed articles and photographs to many national magazines, including Fine Gardening, Country Gardens, Garden Gate, Midwest Living, American Nurseryman, Real Simple, andGarden Design. Her own and her clients' gardens are regularly featured in books and magazines and on Channel 4 News in Columbus, Ohio. Extremely popular as a lecturer, Tracy has appeared on television and has been a guest on many national radio gardening programs. She resides near Columbus, Ohio.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press; Gift edition (January 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881929506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881929508
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author


Has earned international acclaim as one of America's most entertaining and knowledgeable garden writers and professional speakers. She has extensive experience in the United States, and abroad working for over 30 years in the industry, speaking for over 25 years and designing for over 20 years.

Her experience includes stints at Longwood Gardens in the U.S., The Montreal Botanical Garden in Canada, the Kalmthout Arboretum in Belgium, and Knightshayes Court in England. She earned a B.S. and M.S. in Horticulture from The Ohio State University.

Her first book The Well-Tended Perennial Garden, which has been referred to by many as 'the bible for perennial maintenance', has sold over 150,000 copies and has become Timber Press' best selling book in their 25 year history of publishing. Now available in a beautiful expanded edition.

Her second book The Well-Designed Mixed Garden, which has sold over 30,000 copies, brings her trademark exuberance, expertise, and efficiency to bear on frequently daunting elements of garden design demystifying them with her direct approach. Tracy is a gifted and award winning designer who combines artistic vision with practical horticultural strategies.

Tracy's followers now welcome her long awaited newest book (2009)'50 High Impact, Low Care Garden Plants: Tough but Beautiful Plants Anyone Can Grow which features easy care dynamic selections for our busy lives.

DiSabato-Aust is a frequent guest on national garden television and radio gardening shows. She is a vibrant speaker, and in great demand nationally and internationally, on the lecture circuit. Venues include New Zealand & Australia Landscape Design Conferences, England's Royal Botanic Garden-Kew, England's Royal Horticulture Society Garden- Wisley, The English Gardening School, The Oxford Botanic Garden The Smithsonian Institute, The Perennial Plant Association, numerous botanical gardens and professional association meetings.

Tracy has contributed articles or been featured in numerous national and international magazines, books, and newpapers. Magazines include: Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Garden Design, & Gardens Illustrated (London, England. The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph in London, England, and The National Post, Toronto Canada have all published articles on Tracy. She has appeared on several gardening television shows including, Way to Grow & Smart Gardening. She is a frequent guest on Martha Stewart Radio.When Tracy is not busy with horticulture adventures she is training and racing as an 'All American' at the national and world's level in triathlons and duathlons.
Please vist my website for fun and informative articles, blogs, books, photos on gardening and triathlons.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Review: 50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants:
Tough-but-Beautiful Plants Anyone Can Grow by Tracy Disabato-Aust

As a novice gardener, I am drawn to gardening books with a judicious mix of beautiful pictures and helpful advice. This book caught me with its opening:

I wrote this book because you might be like me. You love to garden, but there is never enough time...I've been a gardener for over thirty years both as an avocation and vocation. I love gardening but I also have countless other passions including spending time with my husband, our teenage son, and our dogs and chickens, as well as being a competitive multisport athlete at the national and international level. So I'm constantly rethinking areas of my garden and seeking beautiful yet tough plants to replace demanding ones. I refer to them affectionately as indomitable - not easily defeated, resolute, unconquerable, determined, and strong. Does this sound like the type of plant for you? These plants should be easy to care for but they should bring passion and excitement into our lives with their colors, textures, shapes, and scents. It's great if the plant is easy to grow, but if it's of minimal ornamental value, who really cares?
-50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants
by Tracy Disabato-Aust

Disabato-Aust selected 50 highly ornamental plants that require minimal care and are either US natives or award winners from around the world. Each plant is able to make a statement in multiple seasons because of its long lasting bloom, color, texture, form or fragrance. I'm particularly glad of this selection process since as an urban gardener, I am limited to container gardening.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Matthew W. Schultz on February 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
I had the opportunity to hear the author talk about "50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants" at the 2009 Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association and The Ohio State University Short Course. I especially appreciated that she included woodies as well as perennials in the talk as well as in this book. The book is the perfect addition to any designer's library of reference material. The selection of plants is a virtual "Who's Who" of tough, dependable horticultural fare and opened my palette to some new or underused plants as well. I have already recommended the book as well as the plants to several co-workers.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Smith on January 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book promises to tell you about 50 good plants that are low-maintenance winners, and it delivers on that promise, but only just. Several of the plants do require coddling, and a few also have very narrow zone ranges. Furthermore, the descriptions were extremely short and most of them contained a lot of filler and little information on how to grow the plant. For instance, a description might say that a particular plant is spectacular, wonderful and is great when backlit or sidelit -but then it doesn't say that the plant can't be grown in clay soils, how often it needs to be divided, etc.

The organization, or lack thereof, was also jarring. The plants were not separated into categories; they were just thrown together in a list. There might be a tree, then a perennial, a shrub, another perennial, a tree, a shrub...etc. Finally, the book was poorly proofread. There could not have been 10,000 words of text in the entire manuscript and you would think that *someone* would have taken the time to ensure that all the sentences made sense and were grammatically correct, but that did not happen.

There is enough value in this book that I will end up using it in my design process, but there are much better books available.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Beth Daye on January 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is incredible. Easy to read. Enjoyable. Beautifully illustrated. I recently moved to a new city and plan to use "50 High Impact, Low Care Garden Plants" to select the plants I'll use in my new gardens. I thank Tracy DiSabato-Aust for again sharing her amazing knowledge. I own all three of her books and I treasure them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Haworth on July 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a gardener I purchased this book to see what 50 plants Tracy had decided upon for low-care plantings. Her choices are well represented of popular and available plants. Superb photos accompany the text, occasionally it would be great to have a photo showing the whole plant, instead of just a small portion of the plant. Close-up shots are welcomed, but plants in a garden setting are also interesting to see.
Some plants have their point of origin stated in the text, but I would like to know the country or area of origin for all the plants listed. Just a small point.
A good read for the gardener wanting to grow low-care plants. Thrilled to see my two top grasses included in the 50....Miscanthus s.'Cosmopolitan',
and Molinia c. 'Skyracer'.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Denise Adams on April 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From The Well-Tended Perennial Garden to The Well-Designed Mixed Garden, we have learned to expect excellent and practical information, complete with beautiful and enticing plant photographs from Tracy DiSabato-Aust. Her new book does not disappoint. Tracy shares her experience from decades of professional gardening with her choice of 50 plants that have that big wow-factor for which we all are looking as we plan our gardens. From beginners to the most savvy gardeners, everyone will find a new plant (plants!) to try in this fact-packed, extremely attractive volume.
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