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Best book recommended for hardy gardening?

Posted by mia1974 5 (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 12, 12 at 11:37

I currently live in zone 5b and have been an avid gardener for 15 years here.
DH is about to be transferred to Bay Area California and of course I am concentrating alot of my thoughts on what kinds of perennials you can plant in zone 9 that are hardy but can take the dry warm weather.

Are there any books or websites that any of you could recommend? I feel like a newbie all over again LOL


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RE: Best book recommended for hardy gardening?

  • Posted by wcgypsy 10 / Sunset 23 (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 12, 12 at 12:34

Sunset Western Garden Book......
You're gonna love it here. Many things you are used to growing do not do as well here (or at all, but oh, the things you can grow that you never even dreamed of!) lol....my particular love is salvias and there's a whole world of those you can grow here.....
Boy, you're gonna have fun......
Welcome....


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RE: Best book recommended for hardy gardening?

Thanks for the suggestion...I will look that one up for sure :)

One other Q: How long is the gardening season in the Bay Area? I am used to getting my hands dirty from May-September...I am hoping that the season is much longer in Cali :)


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RE: Best book recommended for hardy gardening?

Welcome to California, Mia! As gypsy has mentioned, the Sunset Western Garden Book! It is our California gardening "bible". They just came out with a brand new addition. It is very thorough and well written. And your season now spans 12 months my dear :-) You will be busy in your garden all year 'round! And, there are several Sunset "companion" books that supplement the main Western Garden Book as well. I've provided a link to Sunset. You can also subscribe to their fabulous magazine, my family is a 2nd generation subscriber. Cannot remember my life without Sunset. I even continued to subscribe to it when I took a 10 year "hiatus" to N. Indiana (I know all about zone 5, lol!!) SO glad to be back home - no more shoveling the very long driveway.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sunset


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RE: Best book recommended for hardy gardening?

  • Posted by wcgypsy 10 / Sunset 23 (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 12, 12 at 20:57

Depending on your gardening style, I would also recommend California Native Plants for the Garden by Carol Bornstein, Fross and O'Brien. Your local library should have it and it's excellent.....
Also, whereas the zone 5 you're coming from was probably just plain COLD in winter, you're most likely going to find lots of microclimates in the part of the Bay Area that you're moving into. If this matters to you, and it well may not as it's all going to be 'new' to you...and if you have a choice to make this one of your deciding factors, you may want to check into the area you're looking at. Sunset Western Garden is good about pointing out the various microclimates in the Bay Area also.
And, oh! the nurseries you have up there.....lol..


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RE: Best book recommended for hardy gardening?

  • Posted by min3 9N.CA (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 14, 12 at 19:26

i moved from n.c to ssn jose in 1973 and lived there 9 years before moving 20 miles south and have been here ever since. gypsy is so right about microclimates! even those 20 miles made a huge difference in what i could grow in my gardens.
i suggest that you spend a lot of time looking around your new area and ask a lot of questions at nearby nurseries about what will grow well for you.
you are going to love living here!!! i wish i hadn't been so slow to figure that out. welcome to garden paradise. min


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one more thing....

  • Posted by min3 9N.CA (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 14, 12 at 19:43

and one more thing, mia. find out how invasive the gophers are in your new property before you put any plants in the ground. i lost a fortune in shrubs and trees before i figured out that gophers are relentless. just ask a new neighbor who gardens- they will know! with luck you may move into a gopher-free area. min


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RE: Best book recommended for hardy gardening?

  • Posted by wcgypsy 10 / Sunset 23 (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 14, 12 at 22:00

Oh yes! Good thing you mentioned those gophers! I've lived in this spot for about 30 years and that's 30 years of gophers (rabbits here also), so quite a lot of my plantings are done in wire baskets. As I've mentioned, it helps that I love salvias. They are, for the most part, unbothered by gophers. Many other plants are safe also, but for the ones I know the gophers will eat, I plant in wire. It slows you down and takes more effort, but saves a lot of cussing and sobbing....


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RE: Best book recommended for hardy gardening?

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 16, 12 at 4:01

If you have a choice about microclimates here in the Bay Area, I'd suggest the Sunset zone 16 is the ideal, especially if you are attracted to trying to grow the largest amount of tender subtropicals. If you prefer warmer summer weather and don't much like fog, then look for places to live that are Sunset zone 15.
Some nursery web sites that will give you ideas would include Annie's Annuals, San Marcos Growers, Monterey Bay Nursery all have excellent web sites with tons of good photos and descriptions. You might also enjoy the web sites and Flickr photos of the San Francisco, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz Botanic Gardens and the Ruth Bancroft Garden. Another book I'd add to your list is the EBMUD book on Plants for Bay Area Gardens. Welcome to California, and enjoy exploring our California natives, the exotic succulents and protest family members from Mexico, South Africa and Australia, and all the high elevation subtropicals from the Andes, Himalayas and Borneo, etc etc. Sometimes it really seems one can have it all here, especially in those virtually frost free zone 16 microclimates like the Berkeley hills. Oh, you will have to get used to the idea of earthquakes from time to time..._


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RE: Best book recommended for hardy gardening?

Thanks for all your suggestions everyone :) Very much appreciated!!

I havent been able to locate the Sunset book or magazines locally so I guess I will have to go on to Amazon. The garden center website have been helping a lot!

We will be located in San Jose, Willow Glen area etc. I think it is zoe 9 or sunset zone 14, so yep. very different than here that's for sure LOL


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RE: Best book recommended for hardy gardening?

Egads, Mia. You should be able to find the Sunset Western Garden Book, as well as the California Native Plants for the Garden at Barnes & Noble. But for sure, Amazon.com will have them. There is a brand new edition out just this year for the Sunset Western Garden Book, so be sure to get that latest edition. And enjoy gardening year 'round, it is just so wonderful to be able to enjoy your garden 12 months out of the year. We live in a very special place :-)

Patty S.


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