The New Western Garden Book: The Ultimate Gardening Guide Flexibound – Feb 7 2012
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For more than half a century, Sunset has been helping readers remodel their homes and improve their lives. Sunset has a circulation of over 1.1 million and a readership of 5.325 million.
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In the old edition, in the beginning there is a section called "A Guide to Plant Selection" (includes special effects, special situation, and basic landscaping) it is now called "Plant finder". The main difference is the new edition no longer has a symbol for the amount of water each plants uses, however, that information is still listed in the "encyclopedia" section.
Buy it, you will be happy you did, it is the best gardening book you can own!
The Plant Finder lists in the front have been revamped, with the old sections on broad categories of plants such as "annuals, "vines" and "ferns" replaced with more useful sections on "ornamental edibles", "plants that attract beneficial insects", "sculptural plants", "plants for moon gardens" and more. Altogether a solid improvement, given the Plant Finder lists are already broken down by type of plant. Having "trees" listed separately was kind of overkill given that you'd be better served by going to the section that most matches your garden, such as "plants for shade", and looking for tree ideas there.
Even better is the thematic direction they're taking. There's a definitely move towards clever sustainability and a contemporary style. While I buy the book for the Plant Finder lists and encyclopedia, I confess that the new emphasis on gorgeous design had me sitting down to read more carefully. The sections in the back about different ways to use both small and large succulent plants had me jotting down ideas. I just wish the book had a "pin it" button so I could add the pics to my Pinterest boards!
My very favorite aspect of the new book is their serious discussion of regional design. A garden should have a sense of place and reflect the region it grows in. Not only does using native plants and materials in the landscape reduce cost, maintenance, and the carbon footprint of trucking foreign plants from three states away, but it just feels right. When your garden has a lovely view of the redwoods yet reflects none of the beauty of the forest, you're missing the chance to connect your own garden to something greater than yourself.
The fact that the new Sunset is discussing this and giving tools and tips for achieving a landscape that feels connected to your surroundings - well, it fills my soul. This is important stuff.
OK, I should probably stop raving on it now as you're either convinced you need one, or you're a lost cause. But I will say one last thing. The actual format of the book makes it a lot easier to read. The cover bends flat and the book sits open, so you can read while eating breakfast, which is a huge selling point for a large book like this.
See my review of the 2001 edition of this book, which was the last edition to have a complete overhaul, much of it rewritten.
P.S. The information about the binding and decision to include more pictures at the expense of text is not speculation on my part. I have dozens of discussions with one of the senior editors about this edition and why Sunset made some of the decisions they did.
If you wnat to buy this book, here's the one I prefer
Sunset Western Garden Book