Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
California Gardener's Guide
California Gardener's Guide, by Nan Sterman (Cool Springs Press, 2007; $24.99), is an illustrated manual containing beautiful color plates of plants that are ideally selected for our climate.
Each plant is listed with a map indicating the prime growing region in the state and the lowest temperature it will withstand. There are growing tips, suggestions for companion planting, and recommended varieties. This is an easy-to-use manual that's ideal for the serious California gardener.
Favorite or New Plant
Bleeding heart (dicentra) grew lush and abundant along my grandmother's driveway. It is an early spring-blooming perennial with beautiful heart-shaped flowers that grow along weeping stems. It comes in several colors including white, pink, and dark pink. There is even a native variety called 'Western Dicentra' that does well in woodland gardens. If you have a shady spot where the soil stays damp, I recommend planting a few dicentra to add interest.