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Water-conserving Plants, Practices, and Designs

Cachuma Press 2011, $27.95 paperback

Californians are avid gardeners, and for good reason. Throughout much of the state, outdoor gardening activities are enhanced by mild weather, frost-free nights, and relatively fertile soils. Like elsewhere in the country, water-loving lawns have been a major element in our gardens. Turfgrass lawns seduce us with their seeming simplicity and versatility, but as the Introduction to this book makes clear, our reliance on them comes at a high cost. After considering the resources and maintenance that most California lawns demand—from heavy irrigation to regular applications of fertilizers to frequent mowing with power equipment—one conclusion becomes inescapable: we need to find alternatives to turfgrass that are more environmentally sound.

If you are one of the many gardeners who is thinking about removing or reducing your lawn, we invite you to spend some time with Reimagining the California Lawn: Water-conserving Plants, Practices, and Designs. The detailed text describes hundreds of water-wise plants from California and other mediterranean climates of the world and provides information on how to plan, install, and maintain an attractive landscape that can replace your lawn. The book is packed with ideas and advice and richly illustrated with more than 300 color photographs. It offers a variety of practical designs and plant palettes to choose from. The three authors are innovative horticulturists, educators, and designers who share a deep respect for California’s legacy as a pioneer in the landscape industry. They have created Reimagining the California Lawn to help us embrace and implement new paradigms for gardening in the 21st century.

Carol Bornstein
is a horticulturist, instructor, and garden designer. For more than 30 years, she has been an advocate for sustainable, regionally appropriate landscaping. While Director of Horticulture at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, she managed the living collections, retail nursery, and plant introduction program and selected several new cultivars. She continues to seek out exceptional plants for California gardens and to share her knowledge of plants native to California and other mediterranean regions through her writing, teaching, and design work.

David Fross is the founder and president of Native Sons Wholesale Nursery, a grower specializing in plants from mediterranean-climate regions of the world. He teaches horticulture at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and is the co-author of Ceanothus.

Bart O’Brien
is the Director of Special Projects at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, an educational institution dedicated to research, conservation, and horticulture of California native plants. A fifth-generation Californian, he is an authority on the native flora of the state and of northern Baja California and is an accomplished collector, grower, lecturer, and author. He was named the Horticulturist of the Year in 2005 by the Southern California Horticultural Society and was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times in 2006.

Carol Bornstein, David Fross, and Bart O’Brien are also the authors of the Cachuma Press title California Native Plants for the Garden. Featuring more than 500 plants and 450 color photos, this award-winning book is an indispensable resource for anyone who is interested in creating a beautiful garden using the native flora of California.