Under Western Skies: Visionary Gardens from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast

Timber Pr. Apr. 2021. 412p. ISBN 9781604699999. $50. GARDENING
Jewell (host, Cultivating Place podcast) and freelance photographer Atkinson profile 36 gardens in the five regions of the American West: Southwest, Southern California, Northern California, Intermountain West, and Pacific Northwest. Each profile describes the garden’s locale, including climate, geography, and an Indigenous land acknowledgment, then introduces the designer and/or owner and their intent and approach. The remainder of each profile focuses on the plants. Profiles are accompanied by numerous photos showing both overall layout and up-close views. The work includes public and private gardens, most large but a few that utilize small spaces. All profiled gardens are connected to and in harmony with their local surroundings, with a focus on climate, soil, and—especially—water use. Many featured plants are native species or their cultivars; some will be unfamiliar to casual gardeners and unlikely to be found in big box garden centers. Botanical names are provided for most species, but some captions use botanical and common names inconsistently or omit well-known common names that would help readers recognize familiar plants.
VERDICT This book will provide readers with a deeper appreciation of the diversity of the Western landscape and inspiration for creating and cultivating gardens adapted to challenging and sometimes unforgiving sites.

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