Woody Ornamentals for Southern Gardeners

By Skip Richter

Gardeners in the northern portions of the country have long looked to the book Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs as a wonderful reference on woody ornamental plants for USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 6. Now Dr. Michael A. Dirr, horticulture professor at the University of Georgia, has put his expertise to work for southern gardeners as well in his new companion version, Dirr's Trees and Shrubs for Warm Climates (Timber Press). This new reference provides extensive information on over 400 species and a multitude of cultivars and varieties of woody plants for USDA Hardiness Zones 7 through 11.

Dirr's book includes details of each plant's growth habit, bark, flowers, fruit and fall. Included are useful lists for selecting plants based on various ornamental characteristics, such as bloom color, fruit, fall color, etc. His candid assessments are especially valuable as he doesn't hold back in expressing praise or disdain while providing the facts that we gardeners want to know before choosing a woody species as a long term investment in our landscape. Check your favorite bookseller or order from Amazon.com.

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