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Tough Plants for Southern Gardens Paperback – June 1, 2003
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It's about the shape and size of a small phone book (I almost stuck it in the phone drawer yesterday).
I have finished the introductory section and the section on easy annuals. So far, I really like this book. First of all, the tone is Southern (the author compares the shape of the South to a sweet potato, and he alludes to the Andy Griffith Show; he also talks about his grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-aunt Bernice--in connection to gardening, of course). The book was published in Tennessee.
In addition to liking the tone, I also appreciate the content I have thus far read. I have found some easy plants I may try next year, such as celosia and ageratum. In addition, I really appreciate the selections cited for "hot and dry spots" because we've had a drought the last two years and about August I look over my garden and tell my plants to die if they need any further attention from me. Many do. I didn't know that periwinkle and salvia are the last two plants to die from drought (meaning they last the longest with a neglectful gardener like me), but I should have because I have both in my yard. Reading it here just cemented the fact.
The book uses common names for plants when the plants have one. It tends more towards amateur gardeners than trained horticulturalists. The pictures of flowers are bright and clear.
I am finding it more useful, so far, than many of the gardening books I own. But then, it should be--it is specifically directed towards gardeners in my region of the country.
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.