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Tough Plants for Southern Gardens Paperback – June 1, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
A short introduction covers horticulture topics at a very general level, but the primary focus is on describing a large number of no-maintenance plants that do well in the Southern climate and soils. The book is divided into sections by type of plant (perennials, shrubs, and so on); for each plant, details are given on how to plant it, how to care for it, where to put it, and what to expect from it over time. Each has a picture, usually detailed enough to allow you to identify it at a nursery. Additionally, sections begin with short lists of plants that are "Great for beginners" (extremely easy to deal with) or "Kinda tricky." Random advice, like how to successfully plant wildflowers in your lawn, is scattered throughout.
CONS (sorta): Probably not terribly informative to an experienced Southern gardener. Not a general book on horticulture. Not restricted to native plants.
The plants that thrive in our gardens have to be tough and tried and true. This book profiles plants that have been around a long time and have proven to perform reliably in the south. Annuals, Perennials, Shrubs and Trees, Porch Plants (Houseplants), Bulbs and Vines are covered here. Each section includes 10-20 major plants with detailed information on growing conditions, planting, etc.
The photos are great especially the whimsical "garden art" that is often seen in the rural south. The author also includes anecdotes about his family and people's attitudes towards gardening. This is a fun and useful book!
My only caveat is that some of the plants are not as suitable for Florida as for the upper south. For instance, Rushing mentions potato vine without warning deep south gardeners against air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera) and winged yam. Pretty and containable in cooler climates, they are invasive in central and south Florida; after two years, my family is still digging up potatoes and cutting down vines that infest our property.
The book, of course, covers the South. Those of us who live here know that there's a big difference between even northern Mississippi and Alabama and southern Mississippi and Alabama. Plants that are tough sometimes need to be tough against heat, humidity, and sand, or tough against cold, dry winds. This book will tell you which plant is which and it's a good field manual to take to the nursery with you.
Don't panic, though - Rushing really knows his plants! You won't find yourself trapped in a yucca-and-aloe nightmare or confined to a dogmatically barren xeriscape. His book's excellent photos and descriptions present readers with a wide variety of beautiful plants with many different looks and qualities. Thanks to Rushing, I have a delightful little English-style cottage garden in northeast Texas, soft, pretty, and delicate-looking as you could ask, and not a single plant of it requires more care than the automatic sprinklers give the lawn once a week. And did I mention that my lawn looks better too? He's that good!
His advice on how to prepare plants and soil for transplant is golden as well. As I read, I recognized so many of my own worst mistakes in the past, and I learned how to give my new plants a much better introduction to my garden. Rushing always aims to balance effort and results, and offers a tantalizing new perspective on gardening: the more you pamper, the more you teach the plant to require pampering.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Felder Rushing gives informative, down to earth and hilarious advice on gardening!Published 2 months ago by M. Kennedy
This is a great reference book for people who are new to the South and need help making decisions about what to plant and about soil preparation. Thank you Felder Rushing!Published 12 months ago by Pamela R. Crowder
Excellent reference for my garden. Texas definitely needs tough plants and now I know what to buy for landscaping here.Published 13 months ago by bunrun
Just the sensible, no nonsense gardening book I was looking for. Well organized with good pictures and brisk, often humorous, text.Published 14 months ago by Carolyn LaTulip
If you are gardening for ease and local vegetation. This is THE BOOK! My husband has taken up bee keeping. So local flora is a MUST for us. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Pamela Jones
Felder Ruahing is the go-to guy on all things plant related for me! I hope this book will give me some new ideas for low maintenance plants for my gardens.Published 17 months ago by J. Bankston