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Wildly Successful Plants: Northern California Paperback – February 10, 2004

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Golden Gate Gardening "Pam Peirce has come by her knowledge of the soils and wather patterns of the Bay Area...Her writing is authoritative and her enthusiasm infectious.....Sasquatch Books is to be commended for this latest in its coninuin

About the Author

Pam Peirce has been a gardener for over 30 years. David Goldberg is a horticultural photographer. They both live in San Francisco.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sasquatch Books (February 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570613583
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570613586
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #881,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am thoroughly disappointed in this book. I was seduced by the word "successful" in the title. A better word which more accurately tells what's in this book is "TOXIC." A better title would be "Toxic Plants *in* Northern California: What Not to Plant!" Note that I didn't say "Toxic Plants *of* Northern California" -- many plants here are not "OF California" and are regrettably already "IN California" as unwanted pests.

A bunch of these plants mentioned you should NOT plant because they invade wild habitats, or are hard to remove, or are weeds or borderline weeds, or natives of other continents, or are a nuisance, or are otherwise plants of ill-repute when located in California -- plants which do NOT belong in ANY California garden due to their high levels of risk and danger to native ecosystems. As the author says, many are close to being put on a California Exotic Pest Plant Council's "don't use" plant list, if they are not on already.

The author goes to a lot of trouble highlighting certain plants, then turns around and gives good reasons why they should NOT be planted in California gardens -- in my opinion, many are clearly UNWISE and/or IRRESPONSIBLE to purposely plant in one's garden. So why write such a book? If you want a book to tell what NOT TO PLANT in Northern California, this is the book for you -- I didn't expect this sort of emphasis and wasted $16.

Three better books:

1) East Bay Municipal District's "Plants and Landscapes for Summer-dry Climates"

ISBN 0-9753231-1-3

2) Carol Bornstein, David Fross and Bart O'Brien's "California Native Plants for the Garden"

ISBN 0-9628505-8-6

3) Sunset's "California Top 10 Garden Guide"

ISBN 0-376-03529-3
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Format: Paperback
I keep this book close at hand. Being an amateur gardener, I found much of the information in this book to be particularly useful and relevant for living in Northern California. The author covers everything from the 6 different "hardiness zones" in Northern California to proper garden maintenance, and provides a huge colorful array of plants and flowers which will thrive in your garden.

Divided into 7 sections, such as "perennials", each plant has impressive descriptions-- water needs, light needs, hardiness, bloom time, height and spread, etc. The photography of each plant is wonderful, and really allows you to see each plant, and how you might be able to incorporate it into your garden or landscaping.
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Format: Paperback
THIS BOOK HAS BEEN CRITICIZED FOR PROMOTING THE PLANTING OF INVASIVE PLANTS. I FOUND IT NOT AT ALL MINDLESSLY GUNG HO ABOUT PLANTING WHAT SPREADS. INSTEAD I FOUND FASCINATING HISTORY ABOUT MANY OF THE PLANTS THAT I AM FAMILIAR WITH. MORE IMPORTANTLY,THE BOOK GAVE ME INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT IS INVASIVE, HOW INVASIVENESS IS RATED , WHAT MAKES PLANTS RISKY,ETC. THERE WERE SOME REAL SURPRISES. FOR INSTANCE, I LEARNED THAT PYRACANTHA, A PLANT I HAD THOUGHT OF AS ECOLOGY-FRENDLY BECAUSE IT FEEDS BIRDS AND IS DROUGHT-TOLERANT, HAS ESCAPED INTO BEAUTIFUL WILD AREAS. THE BERRIES ARE DISTRIBUTED BY BIRDS, AND THE MEDITERRANEAN-TYPE PLANTS WE ARE ENCOURAGED TO PLANT (BECAUSE THEY SAVE WATER)SOMETIMES HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO DISPLACE NATIVE PLANTS AND THEREFORE WILDLIFE. I GOT THIS OUT OF THE LIBRARY AND PLAN TO BUY IT AS AN EXCELLENT REGIONAL RESOURCE. BECAUSE OF ITS EXCELLENT INFORMATION, I EXPECT TO PLANT MORE NATIVE PLANTS, NOT LESS.
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Format: Paperback
"Wildly Successful Plants" provides a fresh perspective on a segment of plants that are constantly demeaned in the landscape. As designers we are charged with considering all possibilities for a site and making appropriate choices. This book brings an often ignored segment of plants back into the fold for consideration. While the plants on the list are not right for every situation, many should discover new life in appropriate settings. The book provides extensive cautions about incorrect use of "wild plants" and shares the esthetic qualities that we love about plants. As a professor of Horticulture and a Landscape Architect, I suggest you ignore the diatribes of the narrow minded and read "Wildly Successful Plants", and any plant book that you can find, to widen your perspective on design.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An indulgently fun but less-than essential book for those who garden in Sunset Zone 17. Basically all the exotic plants that grow without effort in the San Francisco Bay fog belt are detailed and lionized. All plants mentioned are likely candidates for effortless, or even accidental gardening, though a few noxious weeds on the list, such as the English and Algerian ivies take the humourous conceit past the bounds of good taste.

The title is somewhat misleading, most parts of northern California even slightly interior to the immediate coast will not find the listed plants easy to the point of being weedy, though most will be growable with effort.
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