Thanks to my love for this beautiful library present!
100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants for American Gardens in Temperate Zones by Lorraine Johnson So here is the truth: Intellectually, I am all about planting native plants in my garden. The benefits include plants that are easy to care for and that attract native birds and butterflies, among others. The difficulty is that no one is sending glossy catalogs of beautiful native plants complete with garden kits and expert-designed garden plans to my door. Even though the end result would certainly be easier to care for, tracking down the native plants in the first place is difficult, involving either a trip to the crowded Farmer’s Market half an hour away or a drive to a nursery over an hour away. Then there is the difficulty of me, not really a good gardener but just someone who wants some pretty flowers by her house, coming up with a design that won’t make the neighbors think we just didn’t get around to weeding. While finding the plants might still be somewhat difficult, this book steps in to fill a large part of the gap. It has entries with beautiful full-color pictures for the 100 plants mentioned, most of them flowers but some grasses. Entries include cheerful and friendly discussion of the merits and drawbacks of each plant. Each includes not only the best growing environment, but also plants that it looks good with and related plants. There are also full-page photos of native gardens in different styles, from wild to more traditional. I was thrilled by the indices (I may never get to use that phrase again!), which presented lists of plants for different environments – eastern woodland, prairie, and northwest, among others – and each plant in the list shown with a full-color thumbnail, so you don’t have to flip back to the main entry to see what it looks like. This should make planning that easy-care yet beautiful garden so much easier.