Western Garden Book and Other Resources for California Native Gardeners

Like the Sunset Western Garden book, there are numerous books that discuss landscaping in the western states. There are also many wonderful books that specialize in California native plants for the garden. This resource guide provides references to these books, as well as other relevant material germane to the topic of native-plant landscaping.





The Case for Native Plants

Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens--By Douglas W. Tallamy

This is a must-read book for everyone. It is essential to understand the intricate web of inter-dependencies for a healthy ecology. It makes a wonderful case for the immense benefits from using native plants in our home gardens. Every one of us can now know that there is a way to contribute back to this earth.

Noah's Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Back Yards--By Sara Stein

This is a wonderful story about stumbling on to the path of planting natives. The author's keen sense of observation that the laborious pushing and prodding of non-natives to survive in an orderly manner in a foreign land was non-intuitive and that natural gardening must adopt a different form. We can all learn from this book since we repeat our failing actions over and over again without paying attention to the fact that we are continuously failing in one way or another, but never change our actions.

California Native Plants for Landscaping

Native Treasures: Gardening with the Plants of California
--By M. Nevin Smith


This is a wonderful book that covers California’s diverse plants and offers some great opinions that are wonderful to hear directly from an experienced horticulturist.

Designing California Native Gardens: The Plant Community Approach to Artful, Ecological Gardens--By Glenn Keator and Alrie Middlebrook

The book is the product of collaboration between a renowned botanist and an inspirational designer. A plant-community based approach which is a must-read for all native plant gardeners.

California Native Plants for the Garden--By Carol Bornstein, David Fross, Bart O’Brien

The book has beautiful pictures and descriptions of native plants and their requirements. The veritable general guide for native plant gardeners.

Plants and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Climates--published by EBMUD

The book is wonderful with great pictures and includes California natives and other Mediterranean plants suitable for use in water-wise gardens in the West.

Wild Lilies, Irises, and Grasses--Gardening with California Monocots--by Nora Harlow and Kristin Jakob

Since the book exclusively covers the monocots, this is a useful book if you plan to design a native meadow and are debating the relative virtues of the different grasss or bulbs.

Oaks of California--by Bruce M. Pavlik et. al.

A must-read for anyone interested in understanding the history, current status, community, habits, and wildlife supported by the Californian oak trees.

The Life of an Oak--by Glenn Keator and Artwork by Susan Bazell

This book offers a unique view of the oak trees that span the continents. Irrespective of whether the oak hails from Japan, England, or North America this perspective on the special lives of oaks is charming and interesting.

The Sunset Western Garden Book

This book has been a bible for western gardeners for over 40 years. It does not specifically target California native plants, but it is a good general reference book for climate zones, soil, and growing conditions all over the state.

Habitat Gardens

The Habitat Garden Book: Wildlife Landscaping for the San Francisco Bay Region--By Nancy Bauer

The California Oak Foundation website is a must to understand the Oak Habitat.

To learn about butterflies in Central California, their status, migration, endangered, threatened or not, etc. check out this website by a UC Davis professor Dr. Arthur Shapiro. He has co-authored a book with Tim Manolis called "Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions" available from UC Press.

Soil Biology and Soil Ecology

Managing Our Grandchildren’s Forests: The Role of Soil Biology and Soil Ecology
By James R. Boyle

A general resource guide to topics in soil biology.

Competitive interactions between native and exotic earthworm species as influenced by habitat quality in a California grassland (digital book on Amazon)
By T. Winsome, L. Epstein, P.F. Hendrix, W.R. Horwath


Effects of soil and mycorrhizae from native and invaded vegetation on a rare California forb (digital book)
By I.G. Gillespie, E.B. Allen


Other Useful Links

Glen Hampton gardens designs has designed hundreds of residential gardens for many satisfied clients over the last three decades. Glen's garden design philosophy is based on the premise that each garden should be true to its site, while complimenting its architectural surroundings and serving eachindividual clients unique lifestyle. You can reach Glen at: Glen-Hampton-gardens-designs.com








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