Gardening in harmony with a Mediterranean climate means taking advantage of winter rain and allowing the garden to rest over hot summers. In this beautifully illustrated, practical handbook, Heidi Gildemeister provides both novice and experienced gardeners with a comprehensive guide for waterwise gardening, with over one thousand drought-tolerant Mediterranean plants chosen both for their beauty and for their easygoing ways. Well indexed with common and botanical names, Mediterranean Gardening will be indispensable not only for gardeners in California, the Mediterranean basin, and Mediterranean climate areas in South America, Australia, and Africa, but for anyone living in a region that experiences drought.
Gildemeister explains how drought-tolerant plants that are suitably matched with a site and carefully planted and mulched can live on winter rain and, once established, do not need additional summer water—as in nature. The Plant Selection lists over one thousand plants from nearly five hundred genera, including their preferred growing conditions, propagation, best use, and maintenance. Guidelines in eight steps describe the planning of waterwise gardens, such as for the establishment of dappled shade to conserve precious soil moisture. Successful alternatives to the water-intensive lawn offer attractive design ideas.
Mediterranean Gardening offers a wealth of information: "easy" plants for the beginner, new choices for the garden architect, and for botanists the latest findings on minimum temperatures plants can endure. An extensive bibliography covering drought tolerance and a list of useful addresses make this book as helpful to people converting to water-, labor-, and ecology-conscious gardening as to those starting from scratch.
Foreword by Christopher Brickell
Introduction and Acknowledgements
Chapter One: The Environment
The Medditerranean Climate: A Review of the Background
The Dominant Forces: Assets and Challenges
Mediterranean Plant Communities: Plant Life through the Seasons
Native Drought-Tolerant Plants: How They Function and Survive
The Soil: Its Structure, Life and Care
Chapter Two: Waterwise Garden Planning and Design
The Way Ahead: Water-saving Gardening in Eight Steps
Step 1 - Planning Your Garden
Step 2 - Creating Plant Cover and Shade
Step 3 - Using Drought-tolerant Plants
Step 4 - Reducing the Lawn, Alternatives
Step 5 - Grouping Plants for Water Needs
Step 6 - Planning Water Management
Step 7 - Using Water-saving Practices
Step 8 - A Waterwise Garden for All Seasons
Chapter Three: Waterwise Gardencraft
Planting or The Happiness of Roots
Mulch. The Gardener's Ally
Water. Its Wise Use
Nutrition. Soil, the Primary Source
Health. How to Prevent an early Death
Pruning for Health, Growth and Flowering
Weeds. Friend or Foe?
Propagation. Simple Ways
Chapter Four: Plant Selection
How to Choose Drought-Tolerant Plants
Plant Lists for Specific Uses
1000 Drought-tolerant Plants
Heidi Gildemeister converted a maquis-covered western Mediterranean landscape into a thriving ten-acre garden and became a pioneer of waterwise gardening in the Mediterranean region. A gardener of long and varied experience, she has gardened in Switzerland, the Andes, and on the Peruvian coast. She lectures worldwide and has contributed to The Royal Horticultural Society Dictionary of Gardening. She is a member of the Botanical Society of South Africa, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, and the International Dendrology Society and is a founding member and former president of the Mediterranean Garden Society.
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