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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Southern Gardener's Book of Lists, The Best Plants for All Your Needs, Wants, and Whims

The Southern Gardener's Book of Lists was put in my 'cubby' at work, by a kind co-worker who runs our used book sales. He thought I might want to purchase it--you betcha! I paid 25 cents for this absolute gem of a book. Unfortunately you will probably not get a copy that way, but no fear--Amazon has some used and new copies and they are under $5.00. Crazy low for such an important tool! Crazy Low! This book will save you lots of money and time making wrong choices for your garden.

This book contains more than 200 lists of plants that are recommended for different needs in Southern gardens and landscape plans. If you need just the right tree, shrub, vine, ground cover, grass, perennial, bulb.... you name it.. for your sunny hill, to stick under some pine trees, to cover shady ground... This book will have some for you to choose from.

The cool part is that the plants are all sorted by what will actually grow and do well in your part of the south. Upper South, Middle South, Lower South and Coastal South. If you live in the South I don't have to tell you that there are things that are fabulous in Florida that will be a royal pain to deal with in South Carolina-- this book can help you avoid pricey mistakes.

In the less than 200 info packed pages you can quickly find out which trees will make an unholy mess in your yard and gutters. (like my next door neighbors giant whatever-it-is). You can know ahead of time which trees might work well under your power lines, or in your gumbo or clay soil. How about a list of trees with great color in fall or pretty foliage in winter, or that have berries for the birds? Over 40 categories just for the trees! There are equally great chapters on perennials, ferns, annuals, vines, shrubs, azaleas, roses, and ground covers. There's more in there than you would guess though.. like which hostas will work best for you for instance, and where to get a catalog of bulbs that do well in the south. This is just a great resource I can't say enough about it. Who knew a book of lists would be so useful?

Our new place is over an acre and includes a large sunny hillside, tree shaded woods near a brook, dry pine woods and a shady backyard with NOTHING growing in some sort of dead looking dark clay soil. The rest of our soil is pretty much red but I'm not quite sure if it is clay or sandy, I suspect it is both. I need help selecting plants that will cover a great deal of empty land so I don't end up with an acre of brambles and weeds. I also need to do it quickly and cheaply--so I don't want to be making huge mistakes. I need to start most things by seed or cutting or get them from other gardeners in seed swapping adventures. There won't be much of a plant budget for probably a few years, therefore I need to make really smart choices. This book is going to be invaluable to me as a former Yankee living the Carolina's. I highly recommend it!

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