A cheese tray, a bottle of wine, these are typical housewarming gifts. An inspired friend gave my husband and me a gardening book when we bought our first home. Nineteen years later, I still have the book, the home and the husband! Garden Guide to the Lower South doesn’t have a flashy title or cover. However, this practical manual has helped me beautify my Alabama home and garden.
Post Format: Straight Talk
To be honest, the internet has made gardening books somewhat obsolete. If your plant has a problem, you can diagnose and find treatments with just a few clicks. If you want ideas for things like shade or sun-loving plants, a quick search will bring up countless ideas. But to get all the information online that Garden Guide offers, you’d be bleary-eyed and finger-cramped from typing. That’s because the book’s creators, the Trustees’ Garden Club, have already whittled down plants that thrive in the South. That alone saves time and money when choosing plants at the big box nurseries.
The guide is spiral-bound and easy to read. There are chapters on general care and special situations. But the book’s beauty is its short chapters on the plant categories in any garden: trees, shrubs, annuals, etc. Each chapter ends with extensive plant lists along with size, light requirements, bloom time, etc. (see photo) It’s a quick resource when looking for ideas.
The last section of the book is also invaluable. Entitled “Gardening Month by Month”, it breaks out each month with gardening chores and blooming plants for that time of year. This feature is a lifeline for a disorganized gardener like me.
“There is nothing quite as gratifying to the gardener as a full healthy plant…especially this is true when one has started it from a small seed.”
This book has provided many workable ideas for my garden beds. One was planting an annual bed entirely from seed. Now, every year I plant zinnia, sunflower and tithonia outside my kitchen window. This year’s seedlings are off to a good start…and so are the weeds. But with a little luck and TLC, the garden will be a visual feast for us by summer and an edible feast for the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Note: The Trustees’ Garden Club of Savannah, Georgia has since published a third edition (2007) of the book with updated information and a colorful cover.
Stay tuned as this colorful, imperfect garden takes shape!