Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southwestern Deserts

November, 2011
Regional Report

Books

Grasses
The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Living Landscapes (Timber Press, 2007, $59.95) offers comprehensive coverage of grasses extending far beyond the arid Southwest's plant palette. However, author and photographer Rick Darke's stunning images (over 1000) provide readers with artful ideas for incorporating grasses wherever they live. The chapters entitled "The Beauty of Grasses" and "Design with Grasses," in particular, offer a wealth of fresh looks. Discussions of plant provenance, cool- and warm-season grasses, soil fertility and other topics in "Cultivation and Maintenance" will also be helpful when considering plants suitable for your specific microclimates. Finally, the Encyclopedia section provides detailed descriptions of hundreds of grasses, sedges, rushes, restios, and cattails.

Clever Gardening Technique

Site Grasses for Special Effects
Site ornamental grasses where their flower heads/seed heads will be backlit by the sun's low morning or late afternoon rays, creating a luminous glowing effect. If you're unsure where to plant to achieve this effect, set pots in different areas and move them around as needed to find the best locale before digging holes. Remember that the angle of the sun will change through the seasons!

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