For The Answer
Weekly Express-News Article
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist
As a general resource book select Neil Sperry’s “Complete Guide to Texas Gardening.” It is especially useful to gardeners that are new to the area or homeowners that are tackling their first landscape. For the more advanced gardener, the “Southern Living Garden Book” or the “Sunset Western Garden Book” have paragraphs on most of the plants we would ever see or use in area landscapes and a few that are uncommon but we might want to try.
Three landscape care books by local authors are organized
by calendar. Doug Welsh, a former Bexar
County Extension Agent and now a professor at A&M has just released his new
book “Texas Garden Almanac.” Local
Master Gardener and gardening lecturer Tom Harris also has a “Gardening by the
Calendar” that could be very useful.
Find this book at his website www.gardeningvolunteers.org. One of the best bargains around and a great
stocking stuffer is the San Antonio Landscape Care Guide. Published by the San
Antonio Water System (SAWS), the Guide relates how to have a beautiful
If your gardener wants to become more expert at various specialty
gardening topics there are a large selection of books from which to
choose. Bill Welch has a number of
interesting, attractive books that will please any gardener. My favorite is “Perennial Garden Color.” It does a masterful job of introducing area
gardens to old-fashioned roses, iris, daffodils, and other perennials. Other titles that he has authored include
“Antique Roses and Heirloom Gardening.”
This last book was co-authored by Greg Grant, another former extension
In addition to collaborating with Bill Welsh, Greg Grant is co-author of a useful book, “Home Landscaping Texas.” This book includes sections on tough landscape issues such as the “No Mow Slope,” “A Garden Path,” and “A Green Screen.” The book is an ideal gift for the gardener who is tackling his own landscaping.
For the individuals on your gift list who think that a garden is not complete without a large variety of birds, seek out the book “Attracting Birds to Southern Gardens” by Pope, Odenwald, and Fryling. It does an especially good job with gardening for hummingbirds.
It is not always easy to find the books on native plants by Sally and Andy Wasowski, but the search is worth it. My favorite is “Native Texas Plants,” Landscaping Region by Region.” It has good photos and good ideas how to use native plants in the landscape.
Butterfly lovers will be very pleased to receive the book, “Butterfly Gardening for the South” authored by Geyata Ajilvsgi. They also will appreciate one of the many fine guide books for identifying butterflies. My favorite is “Butterflies of North America,” by Jim Brock and Kenn Kaufman.
Vegetable gardeners have a large number of choices. Sam Cotner’s “The Vegetable Book” is a good choice. Bill Adams and Tom LeRoy have a new book, “The Southern Kitchen Garden” that is also appealing.
Several other books by local authors that are very informative are “Texas Trees A Friendly Guide” by Paul Cox and Patty Leslie-Pasztor and two books by Scott Ogden – “Gardening Success with Difficult Soils,” and “Garden Bulbs for the South.” These books are rich with anecdotes and/or offer variety recommendations that are not usually seen in the more popular market offerings.
Most of the books suggested in this article are available from Amazon, local book stores and retail nurseries. For a special experience, shop for the titles at the Garden Gate Gift Shoppe at the San Antonio Botanical Garden (210) 207-3250 or at the Gift Shop at the Schulte House at Hemisfair Park (210) 229-9161.