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Gardeners, with all good fortune and flora, are endowed with love for a hobby that has profound potential for positive change. The beautifully illustrated Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East approaches landscape design from an ecological perspective, encouraging professional horticulturalists and backyard enthusiasts alike to intensify their use of indigenous or native plants. These plants, ones that grow naturally in the same place in which they evolved, form the basis of the food web. Wildlife simply cannot continue to survive without them-nor can we.
Why indigenous plants, you may ask? What makes them so special to butterflies and bees and boys and girls? For Carolyn Summers, the answer is as natural as an ephemeral spring wildflower or berries of the gray dogwood, "As I studied indigenous plants, a strange thing happened. The plants grew on me. I began to love the plants themselves for their own unique qualities, quite apart from their usefulness in providing food and shelter for wildlife.
Emphasizing the importance of indigenous plant gardening and landscape design, Summers provides guidelines for skilled sowers and budding bloomers. She highlights . . .
- The best ways to use exotic and non-indigenous plants responsibly
- Easy-to-follow strategies for hosting wildlife in fields, forests, and gardens
- Designs for traditional gardens using native trees, shrubs, groundcovers as substitutes for exotic plants
- Examples of flourishing plant communities from freshwater streams to open meadows
- How to control plant reproduction, choose cultivars, open-pollinated indigenous plants, and different types of hybrids, and practice “safe sex in the garden
About the Author
CAROLYN SUMMERS is an adjunct professor for continuing education at Westchester Community College and provides technical assistance to the Native Plant Center, an affiliate of the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center.
"Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East is the most complete publication on the practical challenges associated with native plant gardening and fills this need very well for eastern gardeners. What Carolyn Summers tells us about indigenous plants and wildlife is critical to our sustainable future."
— Douglas Tallamy
"This book is a must-have for anyone interested in the natural history of eastern native plants and their use in gardens. The author combines thorough research with a clear, thoughtful viewpoint gleaned from her own personal experience. Very well written, it is an enjoyable read as well as a valuable tool for garden designers."
— Darrin Duling
"Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East is a long overdue, in-depth look at the paucity of indigenous American plants in gardens in the United States, and the importance of correcting this situation. It is an explicit guidebook for garden professionals to enable them to help sustain our wild floral heritage rather than allowing its not-so-slow destruction."
— Ruth Rogers Clausen
"Beautifully-illustrated, Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East approaches landscape design from an ecological perspective, encouraging professional designers and backyard enthusiasts alike to intensify their use of indigenous or native plants. Emphasizing the importance of indigenous plant gardening and landscape design, Summers provides guidelines for beginning gardeners as well as experienced designers."
— New York Flora Association Newsletter
"Chock full of interesting facts and figures, Summers approaches design through the lens of ecology making the book unique in its approach and very relevant to anyone creating native gardens for a living."
— Ecological Landscaping Association Newsletter