top of page

NEWS: Garden Books to Give this Season

If you are looking for the perfect gift for the holidays, why not choose a book from one of our recent SDHS speakers? Many of our monthly meeting speakers are also authors and photographers, and one or more of their books are sure to delight a fellow gardener. Here are some you may want to consider:

Debra Lee Baldwin, Designing with Succulents, 2nd Edition

Baldwin’s publisher says of her book, “This new, completely revised second edition of her bestselling classic is a design compendium that is as practical as it is inspirational. Designing with Succulents shares design and cultivation basics; hundreds of succulent plant recommendations; and profiles of 50 easy-care, drought-tolerant companion plants.” Readers have described it as “a picture novel,” saying that “each page brims with beauty and inspiration.”

Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz. Gardening with Foliage First: 127 Dazzling Combinations that Pair the Beauty of Leaves with Flowers, Bark, Berries, and More

Karen Chapman charmed us in 2017 with her vivid description of how foliage is key to creating a dazzling garden design. Timber Press recommends this book for its “simple, recipe-style approach to garden design.. featuring 127 combinations for both sunny and shady gardens that work for a variety of climates and garden challenges, including deer, dry shade, and more.” While that might sound a bit tame, the reviews of purchasers on Amazon will make you wish you already owned it, describing it as “full of plant choices,” with a “plant encyclopedia,” and “full of inspiration and instruction.”

Jason Dewees, Gardening with Palms

In June, Jason Dewees told us all about palms. For the palm lover, or for people you would like to love palms, this might be the perfect gift. In Gardening with Palms, Dewees introduces the most important species and describes, using stunning photographs, the many ways in which palms can transform our landscapes. A reviewer on Amazon described this as an “approachable and enlightening book for the newcomer to the topic and a go-to for the professional.”

Gary Ferguson, Land on Fire

Timber Press, the publisher, says this book, “details how years of fire suppression and chronic drought have combined to make the situation so dire. Award-winning nature writer Gary Ferguson brings to life the extraordinary efforts of those responsible for fighting wildfires, and deftly explains how nature reacts in the aftermath of flames. Dramatic photographs reveal the terror and beauty of fire, as well as the staggering effect it has on the landscape.” Purchasers on Amazon described the book as “easy to read” and causing one to “ponder the information in the book long after one has read it.”

Jeff Moore Soft Succulents Aeoniums, Echeverias, Crassulas, Sedums, Kalanchoes, and Related Plants.

Jeff introduced his new book at our March 2018 meeting. In addition to sharing his in-depth knowledge of succulents, this book features stunning photographs sure to inspire whoever owns it. I have turned to my copy again and again for ideas and identification. As the publisher states, “This book will provide you with an overview of how to work with soft succulents – care, feeding, combinations in bowls and the landscape, as well as an overview of the major players in the various genera – aeoniums, echeverias, sedums, crassulas, and more.”

Nan Sterman Hot Color, Dry Garden: Inspiring Designs and Vibrant Plants for the Waterwise Gardener

Nan Sterman’s latest book describes how we can have it all: gardens that are both low-water and colorful. The book provides advice for adding color, the function of structure and texture, and a plant directory filled with drought-tolerant colorful plants. Hot Color, Dry Garden provides home gardeners with a joyful, color-filled way to exuberantly garden in low-water conditions. An invaluable addition to the library of anyone trying to use less water in their southwest garden.

Do you have other favorite new gardening books? If you’d enjoy sharing your find with others, please send a brief (two to three paragraphs) review to

bottom of page