Gardening in the South

How frustrating is the experience of picking, paying for, and installing a plant only to find out it is not suited to the climate zone or to the garden? Serious gardeners have serious questions, and frugal gardeners have to watch their cash flow so we ask, “Will this plant work in my garden? Do I have enough sun or shade? Does the plant behave itself or will I regret introducing it? What pest attacks can I expect?” Wise are the gardeners who seek guidance from the experience of others who’ve gardened before us.

For gardeners in the South, Mark Weathington has done the research on the best plant choices in his new book, Gardening in the South. The book defines the South to include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, eastern Texas and northern Florida.

Gardening in the South covers representative annuals, bulbs, grasses, perennials, groundcovers, shrubs, trees, and vines. With stunning images, recommendations, warnings, and specific names of the cultivars which perform best, the book is a resource-packed single volume that can benefit gardeners across the spectrum of plant obsession from those who dabble to those immersed in complete addiction.

Weathington shares his purpose for writing (page 10), “I hope this book will inspire you to go out and garden and more importantly to share your garden with a friend.” As the director of the JC Raulston Aboretum in Raleigh, NC, Weathington, his staff, and his army of volunteers practice what he preaches. If you’re traveling through the area, JC Raulston Arboretum is a great place to invest some time.

The author includes what I call a useful vacation planning guide in his section, Where to See Plants in the Southeast. Imagine a road trip that includes ample time to stroll through several beautiful gardens. And to help gardeners stay on top the tasks, Weathington provides a handy Quick-Glance Maintenance Chart broken down by month. In the South there’s always something to do in the garden. The book includes a Recommended Reading section and a thorough key word index moving it ahead of the torrent of coffee table gardening books and securing its position as a serious research tool.

Two thumbs up for this excellent book, Mr. Weathington.