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Tough Plants for Southern Gardens Paperback – June 1, 2003


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Frequently Bought Together

Tough Plants for Southern Gardens + The Southern Gardener's Book of Lists: The Best Plants for All Your Needs, Wants, and Whims + The Southern Living Garden Book: Completely Revised, All-New Edition
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Product Details

  • Series: Tough Plants
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Cool Springs Press (June 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591860024
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591860020
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.6 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Tough Plants for Southern Gardens is written for novice and accomplished gardener alike, and for all gardeners who value their leisure time. They also value the appearance of their home and appreciate the benefits of well-placed landscaping; however, they do not want to devote too much time to keeping it beautiful.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Rushing is a 10th generation Southern gardener. He is a leading Extension Service consumer horticulturist in Mississippi and has two degrees from Mississippi State University and the Louisiana State University Landscape School of the South. He coordinates Master Gardeners in the state's capitol.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I wish I would have had this book 10 years ago!
E. Dunham
Tough Plants for Southern Gardens Having this book around the Southern Home is kind of like having a neighbor that knows a lot about plants.
Mack S. Hall
Felder Rushing is an outstanding writer, and I highly recommend this book for gardeners in the Deep South.
P. Wright

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Matuszek on April 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm not an avid gardener, and don't have a shelf full of garden books - in fact this is nearly the only one. Fortunately, it turns out to be all I needed to make my little bit of space presentable without spending lots of money and effort. Whether you'd rather not water for environmental reasons, can't spend a lot of time coping with your lawn, or just like sturdy Southern plants, this is a great book. It's also surprisingly funny! (The bulbs section starts with a sidebar entitled "Tulips Hate the South" - already found that one out, thanks.)

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.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Phillip O. VINE VOICE on March 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
We southern gardeners are often the envy of other gardeners in the country because of our long growing seasons and ability to grow a wide range of plants. However, we know that it sometimes not a walk in the park - dealing with heat, humidity, erratic weather, drought and insects is not that much fun.
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!
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Mary K. Swanson on April 20, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a beginning gardener, and Felder Rushing's book is helping me figure out how to replant where too much wax myrtle, Virginia creeper and palmetto have taken over my five acres. I am already using (and quoting!) the advice. An experienced gardener might not get as much from the book, but it's a fun read for anyone.
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.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mack S. Hall on October 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tough Plants for Southern Gardens Having this book around the Southern Home is kind of like having a neighbor that knows a lot about plants. A neighbor who has a beautiful yard with beautiful plants, but they don't seem to do a lot of yard work. When you ask them, they have lots of neat ideas and helpful little hints. They always know the common names for plants and when to plant them.

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.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Finch on June 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
Rushing's homey, humorous approach is pleasant reading and the advice is sheer gold. I have planted a number of the plants he recommends, and every one of them is flourishing brilliantly. His advice is nicely targeted; by breaking the south into upper, middle, and lower zones and by describing each individual plant's tolerances for sun and water, he allows readers from Virginia to Florida to Texas to all find just what they need in it. It's a great shove in the right direction for novice and experienced gardeners alike, as well: stop pampering fragile unadapted divas you picked up at the garden center and start making the plant's suitability to your area the first step. Look to other gardeners and local growth first, and discover the beauties that lie within it.

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.
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