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Easy Care Native Plants: A Guide to Selecting and Using Beautiful American Flowers, Shrubs, and Trees in Gardens and Landscapes Hardcover – December 15, 1996

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1st edition (December 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805038612
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805038613
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,517,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From 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.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By I. Westray on February 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a good choice for the beginning native gardener who needs a sense of the range of native plants available. It's a pleasant browse, and provides a representative sample of the choices you might make with natives. I appreciated the straightforward tone of the writer, who studiously avoided the pretensions of some of the more unctious coffeetable books. Let's just say she's gardening in urban New Jersey, not in northern California, and leave it at that.
On the other hand, there are some gaps in Ms. Taylor's knowledge that make this a less than definitive reference. The short version is that she's often recommending a plant based on the sendup of an arboretum or public garden with which she's corresponded, and that sometimes she hasn't done the research to back that recommendation up. For an egregious example, she describes the American form of Bittersweet (Celastrus Scandens) in a way that clearly demonstrates that she doesn't know the difference between it and the invasive asian form. That sort of slip is a real problem, both philosophically and practically, for someone who's into native plants. Oops.
All in all, I'd say this is a useful book that gets you interested in the plants, but that you should do a healthy amount of leg work elsewhere before you plant. The research is half the fun anyway...
For another native plant reference, with less species but more reliable context and detail, try C. Colston Burrell's A Gardener's Encyclopedia of Wildflowers.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By I. Westray on June 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Not to belabor a nitpicker's criticism, but this book does include a few gaffes that compromise its use as a reference. I do very much enjoy the book, and my review below reflects that. But it just gets some things wrong.
For example, the species of Bittersweet southern gardeners have trouble with is Celastrus Orbiculatus -- oriental bittersweet. Yep, it's highly invasive, and yes, it can "consume entire forests" as this author says "bittersweet" does. The native American Species is Celastrus Scandens. The two differ in the position of the berries on the vine, partly... and they also differ in that the native one isn't swallowing entire forests. They're hard for an intelligent amateur to tell apart when looking at an individual plant... which is exactly the problem that this book has, too.
There's a HUGE difference between American chestnuts -- enormous trees now nearly gone from their native range due to blight -- and the shrubby asiatic Chestnuts that were brought in by nurseries and that carried the blight into this country in the first place. That's exactly the sort of distinction a gardener interested in native plants wants to know about, and it's basically the one this book misses with the two Bittersweets. In a lot of cases it's that sort of thing that got us into native gardening in the first place. So, see, it's bad to make this kind of error in a book on native plants.
Again, this is a decent book that just slips up in a few spots.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Floradiva on July 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent introduction to native plants and one that should be in every native plant enthusiast's library. It's easy to look up the plants you need more information about, and the pictures are very helpful. I use it often as a reference.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on April 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I bought this older used book (1996) and find it remains quite relevant. One of the reasons we gardeners end up planting invasive species is because they are easy to grow. In EASY CARE NATIVE PLANTS Patricia Taylor addresses one of the biggest issues for gardeners... "I would grow native species, but I don't have time."

Well, Taylor suggests low maintenance creatures that will be no more work than the invasive plants you intended to install. With Taylor, we visit public and private gardens where individuals are making a difference one plant at a time. From these gardeners, we learn how to construct various gardens including a woodlands garden, a drought tolerant native garden, and a front yard native garden. Taylor provides lists of plants for each of these gardens. For a complementary book, you might consider buying both Taylor's book and 100 EASY-TO-GROW NATIVE PLANTS by Lorraine Johnson which is a kind of annotated plant directory (although it focuses mainly on non-woody plants, whereas Taylor includes trees, shrubs and plants). Alternatively, you can contact the US Fish and Wildlife Service for a free monograph on plant invaders and substitutes at [...] Do that and you are sure to find 'Celastrus orbiculatus' or Oriental Bittersweet on the "No-no" list. Also the latter monograph suggests several native alternatives to bittersweet, such as 'Campsis radicans' (trumpet vine) and 'Passiflora incarnata' or Passion Vine.
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