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Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens: 200 Drought-Tolerant Choices for all Climates Paperback – September 6, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Scott Ogden has prospected for new, garden-adaptable bulbs as well as proven, heirloom varieties in Texas (his home state), the South, Mexico, and beyond. As a horticulturist and designer he consults for and creates public and private gardens across the country. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.


Garden designers Scott Ogden and Lauren Springer Ogden lecture internationally, emphasizing plant diversity and ecological attunement. Their rich plant palette draws its inspiration from their studies of plants in the wild in the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Europe, and South Africa. They have spoken at most major botanic gardens, public gardens, and arboreta in the United States.

This husband-and-wife team's horticultural experience spans USDA zones 4-10. They have designed gardens and/or gardened professionally in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming as well as England, Ireland, and Austria. Public projects include gardens at Naples Botanical Garden, Denver Botanic Gardens, Callaway Gardens, and San Antonio Botanical Gardens.

Scott and Lauren have written several books in which they pioneer new plants and garden aesthetics. Their latest book, Plant-Driven Design, takes a bold look at garden design from a plant perspective, marrying site, region, plants, and people while both embracing and transcending regionality. Other books include Garden Bulbs for the South (Timber Press 2007), Passionate Gardening (Fulcrum Publishing 2000), The Moonlit Garden (Taylor Publishing 1998), The Undaunted Garden (Fulcrum Publishing 1994), Waterwise Gardening (PrenticeHall 1994), and Gardening Success With Difficult Soils (Taylor Publishing 1992.)

The Ogdens and their work have been featured on several television shows and in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Nature, Martha Stewart Living, Sunset, and Horticulture. Awards include two American Horticultural Society book awards and a landscape design award from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.

Before making horticulture and garden design their life's work, Scott studied geology and paleontology at
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 249 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press; First Edition edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604691697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604691696
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend it to ANY gardener!
Amazon Customer
I bought this book for myself and loved it so much I bought another copy for a gift.
Very Rural Customer
Lots of plants each with great descriptions.
G & C Devine

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Martha on January 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
With the weather changes we all experienced last growing season, gardeners and plant lovers are wondering which way to go. Wait and see? Or assume this year will be better, back to normal or terrific. I'm holding back somewhat.

One of the gardening chores that never goes away is watering. What about planting more and more water-wise plants to have the same amount of beauty with a lower water bill and less work? And, if you're living in an area with water restrictions, water wise gardening will make a big difference.

The 200 plants covered in the book include trees, shrubs, perennials, ground covers, grasses and sedges, bulbs and their relatives, vines, annuals, biennials, succulents, cacti, palms and fiber plants.

Each plant has its own page with photo, growing preferences, attributes and best zones. In addition, the Ogdens say which other low-water plants will be good neighbors.

Example of one page:
Prairie Skullcap, Scutellaria resinosa
grows 8-inches tall and up to a foot wide
Native of the Great Plains, gray-green leaves, small purple flowers.
Short lived but will self-sow.
Combine with cacti, yucca, agave and others.

Related perennials: Suctellaria wrightii, Violet Cloud for zones 6-9 and Suctellaria suffrutescens for zones 7-9 is longer lived, has rose red or cream flowers and is good for roof gardens.

This is a handy volume to have on your desk when making your seed order this winter. I know I am going to have it in hand and use it to help make my final decisions with the catalogs in front of me.

Water is a resource; so are your time and energy. Conserve them all at the same time by selecting ornamental plants for their ability to use less resources!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By mrsinserra on March 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I wanted to review this book because; well I have a black thumb. I am not very good at keeping green things alive (except an African violet I kept alive for three years and had to give away when we moved- but that was a fluke), especially if the plant needs regular watering when it is not rainy. I always figured the perfect thing for me to plant would be something that could pretty much live on its own but plants like that are hard to find. Even at garden stores and green houses the experts always tell me, "oh it's hardy, it could survive just fine" but let me tell you a deep dark secret, I once killed two hosta plants. I know, I have been told that is next to impossible, but I went on vacation for 3 weeks and when I got home, my beautiful little garden had two dead hostas. I was sad and mortified, especially since we lived in a cul-de-sac and everyone would comment when they walked by.

This book is perfect. I am eager to plant some of these drought resistant plants when we get into our new house. I am already planning my garden.

This book is quite thorough. It gives a couple different tables, one is a key to the different symbols used in the book and the other is zones, broken down by temperature. It then breaks the plants into varieties, such as trees, shrub, perennials, ground cover, grasses, bulbs, succulents, palms, and fiber plants. The descriptions are easy to read and quite complete. For each plant the book lists a "grows" section that explains how tall a plant gets and how quickly it grows, best zones for it to grow in, each plants special attributes, a couple design ideas, and a related plant in the same genre.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By harborsparrow on October 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
This could have been--really should have been--a five star book. Anyone who considers themselves expert enough to publish a book on gardening, however, should (in my opinion) be aware of the environmental impact of choosing to plant exotic plants instead of native ones. (Please see Douglas Tallamy's "Bringing Nature Home" i f you are unaware of the topic yourself).

This book contains many lovely photographs and plant profiles. The chosen plant profiles tend heavily towards plants from the Western United states, which are unlikely to be useful on the East coast where I live. And there are also several foreign exotics. The main criteria for selecting plants seemed to be a combination of beautiful blooms and low water tolerance. The authors also note deer tolerance.

I too once considered a plant that bugs would eat on to be undesirable. But, I love my birds, and once I realized that plants which do not feed bugs also do not feed birds, I changed my views. And now I'm a strong advocate--I'll admit it--in favor of using local native plants if at all possible, and avoiding those from distant climes which are not likely to be part of creating a rich local food chain for all the creatures from the ground up.

Thus, I do not consider the approach of this book really to be "sustainable". It is laudable to choose drought-tolerant plants. The photos are lovely. If you live in the U. S. West, you'll find a lot of good choices that are also "native" to read about in this book. But for everyone else, be aware of its limitations. Unfortunately. It's a lovely book, just missing something really important and thus, in my opinion, failing to fully inform its readers on how to choose "sustainable" plants.
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