For The Answer
Submitted by Calvin Finch, Ph.D., Manager, Conservation Division, Water Resources & Conservation Department, SAWS, and Horticulturist
BOOKS FOR THE SAN ANTONIO GARDENER
There is a large selection of wonderful gardening books that make good Holiday gifts.
Texas Gardening by Neil Sperry is a basic text for gardening in the San Antonio area. It has brief paragraphs about most of the plants we use in our gardens and landscapes, and has special sections on turf and pests. As a supplement to Texas Gardening, the Sunset Western Garden Book provides accounts of California plants, many of which reach our market. Southern Living produced a Garden Book in the same form as the Sunset book, but with more southern and less western plants. Both books have sections on pest control, landscaping, lawns and other topics. They make good references.
Bill Welchs Perennial Garden Color is the best book on color plants for our area. Old-fashioned roses, bulbs, and other perennials are covered in detail. The photography is excellent. Antique Roses is another outstanding book for the gardeners library from Bill Welch.
Andy and Sally Wasowski authored Native Texas Plants a number of years ago and it has been out of print awhile, but it is available again. The accounts of the native plants includes how to use them in the landscape plus good photos of the plants.
Attracting Birds to Southern Gardens is written by Thomas Pope, Neal Odenwald, and Charles Fryling, Jr. The books on attracting birds by authors from the north do a good job on hummingbirds. This book is outstanding in that regard.
A large selection of butterflies is easy to attract to your garden if you know what to plant. Geyata Ajilvsgis Butterfly Gardening for the South tells you everything that you need.
Scott Ogden has written several interesting books. Gardening in Difficutu Soils is an excellent tome on utilizing our alkaline heavy soils. Garden Bulbs for the South is for the gardener who wants to grow bulbs in our region. He introduces the reader to unusual bulbs and relates interesting anecdotal stories related to the bulbs and his horticultural adventures.
G. Michael Schoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium with stores in Brenham and San Antonio. His book, Roses in the Southern Garden, has beautiful photos and detailed information about many of the varieties that work well as part of a colorful, low-water-use landscape in the San Antonio area.
Texas Trees: A Friendly Guide was written by Patty Leslie and Paul Cox. Paul is the Assistant Superintendent at the San Antonio Botanical Garden and one of our most outstanding horticulturists. Each account of the individual trees includes botanical information plus interesting information about how the trees related to Texas history.
There are many excellent books on Texas wildflowers. My favorite is Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country by Marshall Enquiet. Geyata Ajilvsgi also authored a book, Wildflowers of Texas that will make a good gift.
XERISCAPE A How-to Guide to Converting a Traditional Landscape Using a Xeriscape Approach is more of a pamphlet than a book. At $5 it is the least expensive of all the books discussed on this list. It was authored by Bexar County Master Gardener Jerry Jones, myself, and included many contributors. The bulletins claim to fame is that it includes a great plant list for the San Antonio area and outlines the step-by-step planning on how to convert a traditional St. Augustine-dominated yard to xeriscape.
Most of the books described in this article are available at area bookstores. The Xeriscape Guide and many of the other titles are available at area nurseries. Two excellent additional sources of gardening books are the Garden Gate Gift Shoppe at the San Antonio Botanical Garden (555 Funston Place) and the Schultze House Gift Shop (514 HemisFair Park) in HemisFair Park. Both gift shops are part of exceptional gardens. Call the Schultze House at 229-9161 or the Texas Cooperative Extension at 467-6575 to receive directions on how to find the Schultze House Cottage Gardens & Gift Shop.