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The Dry Gardening Handbook: Plants and Practices for a Changing Climate Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (September 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500514070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500514078
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 9.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The detailed entries—over 400 of them, with illustrations—make this intriguing book a valuable handbook and resource.” (Green Daily)

About the Author

Olivier Filippi has been running a nursery in France that specializes in drought-resistant plants for over twenty years.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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And to my great amazement, the plants look great.
David Sheriff
Other valuable information is on soil types and when to plant Best of all is the large section on plants, which is lavish with color photographs.
Jeri Nevermind
Highly recommended for people living in appropriate areas, especially Southern California.
John August

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By FunkyFridge.com on May 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It's too bad that the word Mediterranean doesn't appear in the subtitle of this book, because this the best book on Mediterranean-climate gardening that I've found. In the US, that means coastal California. Though this book will also be of some value to those in other dry-climate locations, such as much of the western US and Canada, in those areas I would recommend this book only as a supplement to other books specific to those regions. For instance, some Mediterranean plants don't like summer water, and while places like the Sonaran desert get less rain than coastal California, they get more summer rain.

This book focuses on plants from the world's Mediterranean-climate regions such as southern Europe and north Africa, and some of the western coastal regions of Australia, South Africa, Chile, and California. However, it does describe some plants from other dry-climate areas. It contains very extensive and knowledgeable profiles of a wide range of these plants, many including the author's own experiences in growing them (he runs a nursery in France).

What I like most about this book, however, is that it provides excellent information on matching particular plants to specific Mediterranean sub-climates. The book describes a method of plotting your location's average temperatures and average rainfall (easy to find on weather.com, for example) and then computing a drought index for your area. Plants described in the book are labeled with drought code on the same scale, indicating the limits at which they can survive on natural rainfall. This will allow anyone in a Mediterranean-climate location to select a pallet of plants that will thrive on their own without sprinklers (and in fact, many will not thrive if watered during the summer).
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jeri Nevermind VINE VOICE on November 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
There are plants that can survive, and even thrive, on little water. Those who live in the western United States, especially in California, Arizona, Texas, and Nevada, are going to consider this book a treasure.

The author, Filippi, even includes a useful drought resistance code ranging from 1 to 6 which will help you "choose the right plant for the right place" (p 47). Other valuable information is on soil types and when to plant

Best of all is the large section on plants, which is lavish with color photographs. No matter how well informed you are on the subject, you will likely find new plants to use in your garden, and the brilliant, color drenched photographs are simply a treat to leaf through.

Recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John August on October 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Amazon Verified Purchase
I bought this after reading a glowing LA Times review. The author does a great job moving beyond the plant-by-plant guide to talk about the philosophy of dry-climate gardening, including the somewhat counter-intuitive logic (e.g. when it's really hot, don't water). The photos are compelling, and the gardens are fascinating. This isn't cactus and yucca plants.

Highly recommended for people living in appropriate areas, especially Southern California.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Sheriff on October 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Amazon Verified Purchase
It is just a few weeks into the damp season here in Southern California. I'm happy to report that my garden came through the Summer without any watering. None. Zero gallons. No irrigation. No dragging around the hose. Almost every plant not only survived, but now looks the picture of health.

I came across Oliver Filippi's The Dry Gardening Handbook last winter. I have been planting an assortment of drought-tolerant greenery in my small yard for several years. Filippi gave me the courage to put the entire assortment to the test. Filippi is a plantsman in Mediterranean France. The Mediterranean climate is characterized by hot, completely dry summers and cooler winters with more or less rain. The length of the dry season varies across the Earth's Mediterranean climate zones, which include Southern California. We think of ourselves as England with better weather when driving through thousands of acres of trim suburban lawns and masses of tropical flowers. We maintain this illusion by importing huge amounts of fresh water, most of which is spread over a landscape we otherwise see as desert. But we are not in a desert. We just don't get much rainfall. What we do get is concentrated in short periods of days or weeks sprinkled from October to May.

Filippi maintains that much of the problem gardening in this climate is that we mistakenly water our gardens in the Summer even with drought-tolerant plantings. Well, how else would we keep the plants alive? Filippi maintains that plants which evolved in these climates exhibit many strategies for coping with Summer. They switch to conservation mode in the Summer and back to growing mode in the Winter. If we water them in the Summer, we trick the plants back into Winter mode.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on March 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Beautifully illustrated with full color photography on virtually every page, The Dry Gardening Handbook: Plants and Practices for a Changing Climate is an solidly practical guide to creating a garden that is hardy against drought and ideal for gardeners who seek to conserve water. An alphabetical listing of over 500 drought-resistant plant species forms the core of The Dry Gardening Handbook; each entry includes the plant's geographic origin, size, exposure and hardiness, foliage, ideal soil conditions, and related kindred plants. The first seventy pages of The Dry Gardening Handbook are packed with more general advice concerning the successful planting of one's garden, tips for optimum water management and maintenance, and more. An absolute "must-have" for any gardener in dry climates, and highly recommended for gardeners in moderate climates in today's era when population increases make water conservation more important than ever.
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