Califonia Bountiful

Sprouting wisdom

Sept./Oct. 2016 California Bountiful magazine

Gardening advice to grow from

Advice: "It sounds so obvious, but it is worth stating I think, that I find it best to plant plenty of something that looks good most of the time rather than struggle to keep alive plants which at best only accentuate the fact that what you have to offer them is not what they need." —Beth Chatto, "The Dry Garden"

My take: When I first came across Beth Chatto and her book "The Dry Garden," I thought it was somewhat presumptuous of a gardener in England to write about plants that thrived in sunny, dry conditions. Little did I know that in East Anglia, where Chatto gardens, the soil is thin and the climate dry, though perhaps not as harsh and dry and long as our summers in much of California. Because the typical English garden simply wouldn't thrive in her area, she turned to plants that would. That is the lesson we should take to heart when creating the bulk of our gardens at our homes. Have a place where you plant the water-lovers if you like, but fill most of the garden with plants that crave the kind of conditions that you have. 

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