Whether you're a first-time homeowner, dedicated gardener, or landscape professional, if you're gardening on the Gulf Coast, you need Howard Garrett's Plants for Houston and the Gulf Coast. Garrett is one of Texas's top organic gardening experts, and gardeners rely on him for accurate, sensible advice about what to plant and how to maintain healthy yards and landscapes without synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides. In Plants for Houston and the Gulf Coast, Garrett presents nearly 400 plants, both native and adapted, that grow well in Southeast Texas.
Like all of Howard Garrett's books, Plants for Houston and the Gulf Coast is loaded with indispensable gardening information:
- Nearly 400 trees, shrubs, groundcovers and vines, annuals and perennials, and grasses
- 400 full-color, close-up photos of the plants
- Expert information about each plant's appearance, growing requirements, landscape uses, potential problems, and other interesting facts
- Precise, easy-to-follow instructions about how to design a garden, prepare the soil, install trees and other plants, grow grass and control weeds, and maintain the landscape and control pests
- A detailed gardening calendar for Southeast Texas that lists specific plants to plant and maintenance tasks to perform each month
No other book currently available provides such extensive and reliable information for Texas Gulf Coast gardeners.
A gardening book is only useful if it has accurate information and helpful photos. Being able to see what the plants look like was one of the secrets of my first book, Plants of the Metroplex. I wrote it in 1974, and it is still selling well today.
Sorry it has taken me so long to do a similar book for Houston and the Gulf Coast, but here it is. If you have any complaints or comments, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I continue to update and improve all my books.
I'm an organic guy, and I have been delighted to discover that the natural alternatives really work. Organic gardening is not a fad. Many in the universities and some on the radio will tell you that total organic programs won't work. They are wrong. There is no reason at all to use toxic synthetic pesticides or salt-based synthetic fertilizers. Everything about the natural organic program works better. Plants have less stress, and fewer transplant losses occur. Plants have fewer insect pests and disease problems. Plants also have significantly more tolerance to weather stress—both heat and cold. Organic gardeners have more fun and save money.
We are poisoning the environment with artificial fertilizers and in the process growing sick plants. These fertilizers are causing a toxic buildup of nitrates and other harmful salts in the soil and drinking water. Farmers and home gardeners need to change. Artificial fertilizers harm or destroy the beneficial microorganisms in the soil, force-feed plants, and cause plants to attract insects. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Mother Nature knows best.
Although I didn't realize it in the beginning, my plant material recommendations have always included a high percentage of native plants—I just didn't identify them as such. I also strongly believe that certain introduced plants are excellent and some even superior to their native counterparts. Using a careful mixture of both native and adapted introductions is sensible for most gardens. On the other hand, using natives when possible is advisable.
Three kinds of plants are covered here: (1) recommended plants, (2) plants that can be used but aren't highly recommended, and (3) plants that are not recommended and should not be planted. I am not noncommittal about plants. My likes, dislikes, and experiences with all the plants are always expressed. The simple identification of the various plants isn't really worth much. The value I hope you receive from this book results from the editorial pros and cons based on my experience with the almost 400 plants discussed. The detailed information on each plant should help you design, plant, and maintain your garden. The plants with photos at the text are the top recommendations. Although no plant or technique is perfect, my recommendations should give you beautiful results and great enjoyment from a new or renovated garden.
Howard Garrett is the author of fourteen books, a landscape architect, certified arborist, horticulturist, and organic practitioner. He promotes his organic gardening program, The Natural Way, through his KSKY-660 AM radio show and across the country on the Salem Radio Network, a weekly column in the Dallas Morning News, the monthly DIRT magazine, and the natural organic web site www.dirtdoctor.com, as well as through regional and national speaking engagements.