Wendy Mogstad, April 17, 2013 (view all comments by Wendy Mogstad)
This is a wonderful gardening book!! The information is very well organized, and the pictures are beautiful!! Thank you so much Tracy for doing the research on these low maintenance plants!!
gaby317, June 23, 2009 (view all comments by gaby317)
As a novice gardener, I am drawn to gardening books with a judicious mix of beautiful pictures and helpful advice. This book caught me with its opening:
I wrote this book because you might be like me. You love to garden, but there is never enough time...I've been a gardener for over thirty years both as an avocation and vocation. I love gardening but I also have countless other passions including spending time with my husband, our teenage son, and our dogs and chickens, as well as being a competitive multisport athlete at the national and international level. So I'm constantly rethinking areas of my garden and seeking beautiful yet tough plants to replace demanding ones. I refer to them affectionately as indomitable - not easily defeated, resolute, unconquerable, determined, and strong. Does this sound like the type of plant for you? These plants should be easy to care for but they should bring passion and excitement into our lives with their colors, textures, shapes, and scents. It's great if the plant is easy to grow, but if it's of minimal ornamental value, who really cares?
-50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants
by Tracy Disabato-Aust
Disabato-Aust selected 50 highly ornamental plants that require minimal care and are either US natives or award winners from around the world. Each plant is able to make a statement in multiple seasons because of its long lasting bloom, color, texture, form or fragrance. I'm particularly glad of this selection process since as an urban gardener, I am limited to container gardening. One of the happy benefits of move from the Upper East Side to Brooklyn means that our plants have more space than the window sills and fire escape. I now have our balcony, large windows and generous light. But even in Brooklyn, space is scarce and valuable - I afford to allocate space to non-performing plants.
Disabato-Aust points out that color doesn't just come from the blossoms, but to encourages us to look at the plant's bark and foliage and fruit as well. The book is full of helpful advice both for selecting plants and for caring for individual specimens.
Disabato-Aust developed a very useful checklist for evaluating plants and divides them into High-Impact Traits and Low-Maintenance Traits.
The High-Impact Traits are:
(1) multi-season interest;
(2) colorful foliage;
(3) long-lasting bloom;
(4) outstanding texture;
(5) and architectural form.
The Low-Maintenance Traits are:
(2) tolerant of heat and humidity;
(4) deer resistant (not so critical for us urban gardeners);
(5) resistant to insects and disease;
(6) requires minimal or no deadheading;
(7) prospers without heavy fertilizing;
(8) doesn't require staking, infrequent or no division required for 4 or more years;
(9) infrequent or no pruning required to maintain decent habit, appearance or best flowering;
(10) non-invasive; and
(11) drought tolerant.
The beauty of this gardening book is that you can flip through its pages for a plant that catches your eye and then determine whether it would be a fit for your and your garden. I was surprised to find many of the beautiful specimens that I'd admired to be low maintenance and the book has given me ideas for both for my garden, my mother's small garden unit in Boston's South End, and my uncle's large place in Gloucester.
I highly recommend this book for urban gardeners, novice gardeners, and gardeners who would like to spend less time tending plants and more time enjoying them. It's a great gift book as well.
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DiSabato-Aust's first book, "The Well-Tended Perennial Garden," has taught thousands of readers how to design and maintain their gardens. Her latest work identifies 50 show-stopping plants that anyone can grow.
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