Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East, Revised and Expanded Ed

Rutgers Univ. Feb. 2024. 176p. ISBN 9781978833630. pap. $24.95. GARDENING
In this updated, expanded edition of the 2010 book, ecological landscape designers Summers and Brittenham discuss the importance of incorporating native plants into one’s garden. Color photographs, a garden design chapter, a discussion of keystone plants, and a number of Lepidoptera supported by plants are the book’s biggest updates. Summers and Brittenham cover plant and animal interactions, the ways plants are propagated for the nursery industry, and how gardeners can make responsible choices for beautiful, ecologically sound gardens while still including favorite plants that aren’t native to the region. They suggest indigenous alternatives for common invasive trees, shrubs, vines, ground covers, perennials, and grasses. They include examples of ecological garden designs for various sites from townhouses to businesses, give general descriptions of plant communities, and share information on the history of plant use. Eleven appendixes include helpful lists such as keystone plants, berries for birds, and street trees, and there’s an extensive bibliography citing their sources. This is not intended to be a plant encyclopedia, so gardeners will have to look elsewhere for plant USDA hardiness zones and similar detailed information.
VERDICT A fascinating, well-researched discussion of indigenous plants and garden design, including options for Northeastern and Midwestern regions of the United States.
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