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I checked this book out from the library, have renewed it twice, and when I can't renew again take it back in the morning and return in the evening to see if its back on the shelf so I can check it out again. It's at the top of my Christmas list.
I would rank this book, along with Sunset's Western Garden book which it references, as the top two must-have books for those of us who live within a few hundred miles of the Pacific coast and experience two seasons, rainy and dry. And I expect there are others who live in such situations on western coasts in Chile, Peru, South Africa, Australia. The plant selections include many from these regions.
Most of the plants listed are shown in gorgeous real-life landscape photos. Charts at the end of the book make it easy to find selections that fit exactly into the many microclimates of the region.
Particularly helpful to California gardeners is information on which of the non-natives (and a few natives) may, under the right circumstances, become invasive. I am extremely grateful that the worst of the invaders, including No.1 on my hit list, have not been included. (My ace of spades is broom, which takes no prisoners in these parts, and marches wantonly over everything in its path. It is pretty enough that some local nurseries still irresponsibly carry it while many of us spend long weekends trying to get rid of it.)
Bottom line: If the area described above is where you live, FIND THIS BOOK. Even if you never turn over a forkful of dirt, you will see your world with new eyes.
Brand new from one of the local water utility companies, 320 pages featuring 650 native California and Mediterranean plants suited to the climate and microclimates of the Bay Area.
This is a stunningly beautiful book with 525 quality color images. Not just a coffee table volume, but loaded with regionally specific information, zone maps & descriptions, design ideas and tecniques, as well as plant specific information. Also charts of plants for areas with special requirements like clay soils, dry-shade, wildland gardening.
A work of art as well as a great addition to a reference library for Bay Area gardeners.