Bookshelf: Special Gardens - Xerascape/Dryland Gardening:

Dry-Land Gardening:A Xeriscaping Guide for Dry-Summer, Cold-Winter Climates
The art of conserving water, time and energy in this type of garden is explored in depth by Jennifer, who gardens herself atop an exposed limestone hill where the soil dries quickly and it seldom rains.

There are many perennials, shrubs, trees, bulbs, annuals and vegetables that will grow under these conditions and Jennifer shares her experiences and knowledge to help both us and the garden survive.

A great supplier list is included for both Canadian and U.S. but I am curious to know why email wasn't listed in the resources since many of the suppliers have them.

Good solid information here for anyone interested in conserving.

Review by Jodi DeLong

It is no secret to readers familiar with my book reviews that I love good writing. There are writers, and there are gardeners, and sometimes there are gardeners who write books, (or columns) who perhaps should better have stayed in the garden. But there are, happily, very many gifted garden writers out there, writing columns, articles, and books about their passions. Jennifer Bennett is one of those gifted writers.

Here in Atlantic Canada, and elsewhere throughout North America, we've been experiencing very dry summers in the past few years. Some hesitate to call the change drought, especially in light of the extreme dryness in parts of the Prairies. But whatever we call it, the hot summers with less rainfall than usual puts stress on water resources, on plants whether field crops, tree fruits or a backyard garden. This is bringing about interest in xeriscaping, or dry-land gardening.

Jennifer Bennett has been dealing with the challenges of dry-land gardening for some years, at her home in Ontario. Searingly hot temperatures in the summer, with often inadequate rainfall until autumn, is followed by the vagaries of winter; biting cold one week, a thaw the next. Plants need to be tough to not merely survive, but to thrive in such conditions. With this book, Bennett presents her considerable experience and knowledge for other gardeners to learn from.

Gardening in a dry climate means drawing on imagination and innovation to utilize every possible drop of usable water; not merely turning on the hose and draining the well dry. Bennett traces a variety of options, and stresses that many of the sprinkler systems sold at stores and garden centres are not efficient or very effective. She extols the virtues of a cistern or rainbarrel to collect rainfall, and points out that watering a plant with very cold water can shock the plant.

The chapter on Garden Survival Techniques is invaluable for the gardener learning to cope with less available water. Bennett takes us through choices of plants and how to propagate them, how to make the best use of your site, creating windbreaks and shade spots, and use of mulch and compost to improve plant performance.

Although dry-land gardeners may need to adjust their desires somewhat with regards to what they grow--fussy tea roses may not much like the stresses of the climate, for example--this does not mean that they can't have a bounty of gorgeous plants in their gardens. Bennett profiles plants in several sections; lawns and groundcovers, bulbs, perennials and vines, vegetables and annual flowers, herbs, roses and shrubs. Especially useful are the notes on 'beginning strategies', or how to put in plants so they achieve the best start and lasting successful growth.

Well researched and thorough, entertaining as well as informative, this book will be an important volume for years to come.


Author : Jennifer Bennett
ISBN : 1-55209-221-6
Publisher : Firefly Books
Sugg. Retail Price : $24.95
Available in Softcover
Number of Pages : 176

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